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The Christmas season is all about giving. In the midst of the craze in shopping malls and trying to get the best, most appropriate present for each of the people we care about, sometimes we may forget that giving isn't just about buying presents. And, certainly, giving shouldn't be just about Christmas.

Giving is in the everyday things that happen, often unnoticed. Each smile to another person (a close friend or even a stranger) is a gift that can make a huge difference. Each hug to a child is a gift that teaches the child that there is comfort and safety in the world. Each time a helping hand is extended to another is a gift that may well change the life direction of the one who needed that help.

Giving is also about receiving, in a direct and indirect way. The direct result of giving tends to be that those who give more, receive more. Not because they ask to receive more, but because more people want to give to them. The indirect, and often surprising result to the "novice giver" is that the joy of giving is probably even greater than the joy of receiving! The "spirit of giving" spreads fast and it stays for a long time, with the giver and with the receiver. Are you missing a bit of something in your life? Give something away and watch what happens!

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At one of my recent talks, I got a question from an audience member. She asked: "Why is it that people give so little appreciation in the workplace? Why is it that we mostly hear from someone only when something is wrong?"

A good question. I ask another question - "If you want to be appreciated, how often do you appreciate those who are around you?" How often do you take the time to say "thank you" for the little, seemingly insignificant tasks that improve your life on a daily basis? Do you ever wish YOU got thanked for those little things?

We are funny creatures - we all crave recognition, acknowledgement, and appreciation for who we are and what we do. All of these are SO easy and SO cheap to give - yet often we think that material rewards can replace these timeless needs. Give more, mean it, and you will see more come back to you!

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A few years ago, I volunteered to help out with the Christmas Dinner for a Battered Women's Centre. By the time I did, they already had enough volunteers to help out on Christmas Day with the dinner. They asked me if I would drive to Port Coquitlam to pick up a donation of cranberry sauce and some other things. I said I would.

I will be honest. I wasn't excited about the assignment. I wanted to really be there for the dinner itself, I didn't want to be doing something "behind the scenes". I went and had a horrible time on the trip. I got lost many times and then the store wasn't going to give me the donation they promised. When I got back to the Centre, I was upset I ever said yes.

Then a woman came out from the Centre and asked others to get all the sauce cans. The smiles and thanks were incredible. Somehow, the "horrible" trip became one of my greatest memories as I saw the difference it made that night.

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With the new year approaching REALLY fast, it makes sense to ask "how will that year be different?" Given the significance of not meeting just a new year, but a new decade, a new century, and a new millenium, that question becomes even more significant.

I am not talking here about making a couple of new year's resolutions - the ones made with a huge amount of excitement, kept for a few days or weeks with that excitement, and then forgotten about. I am talking about learning from all the time of coming up to this juncture and doing some major "spring cleaning". What has worked? What is still working? Keep all those treasures and appreciate their existence.

Then there is the rest. All those things that could be just a bit better. The hobby that we have meant to pick up for years. The job promotion that would be so great to get. The time to spend with kids while they are still young.

Often, as I see people who are wanting to make changes in their lives, I see them assess their options with a somewhat short-sighted approach. (Of course, I NEVER do this. Sure...)

It is tempting to choose among options which are available today, right in front of us. How about CREATING the options you would like to be choosing from? I really believe that is where the fun is at!

How can that be done? It cannot, unless there is a very clear vision of what we want to achieve. In other words, pretend there are no limits and ask "what would I want to see in my life if I had all the talent in the world and if there were no obstacles to stop me?" Then, pick up a clean sheet of paper and start dreaming. No need to be practical here. Just start dreaming and list as many specifics as you can think of. What kind of people are in your life? What kinds of things do you do in your daily life? What kind of responsibilities do you have in your work? What kind of contribution are you making in your world? What places do you get to travel to? No need to be realistic.

Have at least 100 items on your list. Then, you can either keep the list where you see it, or you can even put it away. Either way, your subconscious will now start working on your behalf. In a few years, you'll be amazed!!!

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Luck is not something that we cannot influence at all. By doing what we are "meant" to do, we attract the people and circumstances which get us further towards our goals. The tougher the circumstances, the more we can rely on the existence of unexpected circumstances.


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"Success is simple but not easy. If it was easy, everybody would be super successful already!"

Pavla Michaela Polcarova, Power Thoughts Journal






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