I've always been a rather helpful chap, a good person to have in one's corner, willing and able to give and someone who has cared enough to do so, sometimes at my own detriment. Generosity has always come easy to me and it has taken many forms over the years, most of which I'd like to think has made a difference to those who have received it. I credit my parents for instilling this helper-ethos within me and in truth it's repaid me over and over, far more than I've given out. That's the nature of generosity.
Giving doesn't just mean handing over something physical; emotional or moral support is often invaluable to those who need it, giving one's time for another also and selflessness has meant very much to many - Think a selfless act on the battlefield resulting in lives saved. No, giving and generosity is so much more than things and it has huge benefit for giver and receiver when done for the right reasons.
Over the last several weeks, since resigning from my job to take some time for myself, I've had the chance to give to some folks who have needed it. I sometimes feel like I've opened a help desk and my number, 1800-HELP, has been ringing off the hook. I don't have an office anymore so I've taken up residence, set up my help desk, in cafés across the city and from those various locations I've been doing what I can to help those who desire it; I've gained a nice feeling and I've made some difference to them.
Today I had a couple coffee meetings at different locations with two people who asked for my help and I was pleased to oblige. Since announcing my resignation back in August I was approached by other people at the company for help as they were wishing to also leave. Mainly the help has been through being their professional reference although I've done some mentoring also. It continued after I left the office and that's what today's meetings were about.
Usually the person wants to vent a little talk about the reasons they want to leave which is often due to negative things about the company. That happened today and I found out a few things I didn't know which were eye-openers. I also like to know what they're after professionally as I know a lot of people and sometimes have been able to connect people with excellent results. I think this will be the case with one of those I met today which is pretty cool.
I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people in this way as the help I provide, small though it may be, can have lasting effects on a person from a professional and personal perspective. If you've ever been in a toxic working environment you'll know how freeing it can feel to remove yourself from it; life just gets better! So, I guess that's what I feel I'm doing for these people - They do the work, I play a supporting role as a reference and in offering some guidance, direction or emotional support when required. It's a nice arrangement.
I reward effort and it's not in me to reward those who hold their hand out expecting something to land on it. Helping those who help themselves brings great satisfaction to me and usually positive momentum to those I assist. I've spent a lot of time in coffee shops and cafés lately in meetings of this nature and they're the perfect places for it I think...Fortunately they're not charging me a rent, but I've been buying a load of coffee's and café food though - Maybe not so good for the waistline?
I've had a lot of meetings where a public place is preferable, neutral ground, or just nice environments for a chat and many of those have revolved around me helping others as their mentor, colleague, leader or friend - There's something about coffee shops and cafés that make them a great place for that sort of thing and something rewarding about buying someone a coffee and asking, how can I help you?
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - Tomorrow isn't promised so be humble and kind