Greatness is not what you have, but what you give. – Alice Hocker
The other day, my meditation homework was to answer the questions “What are my talents?” and “How can I give that to the world?”
I pondered those questions throughout the day.
As a teenager, I had a very narrow idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to help others; a career in nursing and teaching appealed to me. During high school, I spent four years volunteering as a Candy Striper at Peninsula Hospital and by the time I was a senior, I recognized the fact that the sight of blood made me queasy and faint and that nursing wasn’t my calling. I didn’t have the confidence to look beyond, ask questions or explore other options, so I did nothing.
Because I was naturally outgoing and not afraid to talk to people, sales seemed like a natural fit for me. I held various sales roles during my professional career and in my corporate life, I had the opportunity to coach, mentor, and train my sales team, but really, the majority of my time was spent focusing on sales numbers, gross margin rates, and percentages as well as headcount and ROI. To me, managing a team was not the same as leading a team.
From friends to strangers – people share their life stories, their problems, and intimate details of their lives and relationship or problems with work. Many times, they will say “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I feel like I can trust you.” And they can.
When I left the corporate world, I knew I wanted to help others but I struggled with the idea of “how do I make money doing what I love?” – it was a struggle that I battled for a few years after I quit.
As I pondered the homework questions, I thought about what it meant to connect, help, motivate, and inspire others. I had always been laser-focused on making money, as a result of this mindset, I operated from a position of scarcity, but over the past few years of coaching, I am rewarded in the form of joy, knowing I have had a positive impact.
I thought about Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: The Law of Giving. Part of this law states “We are never limited in what we can give because the true nature of man is one of affluence and abundance. Nature provides everything we need, and the field of pure potentiality provides the intelligence and creativity to produce even more.”
There was nothing about giving in order to receive compensation in the form of money.
This morning, I received a LinkedIn message from a college student I coached last week; she had wanted assistance clarifying and solidifying her career options. The email was warm and friendly, but there were a few lines that really stood out:
“I just want to say thank you so much again for our online meeting. From the start, you were inviting, welcoming and just so sweet! You motivated me to not only think about my future but really think career-wise.”
The student loved her role as an intern, but she wished it was a paying job; as with most of my younger clients, she struggled with confidence in the job market search.
I continued reading her message:
“…. I applied to a new company and hoping I can get an interview, and I will, unfortunately, leave my current internship, but for an even better one! So, with all, I would like to thank you once again for your motivation, support, and inspiration. Despite our meeting only being one hour, I learned so much and that’s an understatement.”
As I finished reading the message, a shiver went down my spine.
Over the past year, I’ve been coaching teenagers and college students. I never, not in a million years, thought I would be doing this kind of coaching, after all, it took me ten years to decide to have children because “I have no desire to raise a teenager” I used to tell my husband – but here I am, enjoying the “A-ha!” moments, witnessing the shift as these young adults see what is possible, and watching as they let go of fear and build confidence.
I considered my own teen-aged boys: sometimes they listen to me, sometimes they tell me to stop coaching them. I don’t want them to think they have limited choices about what to do with their lives, I just want them to have the courage to live their lives boldly.
I looked back at the message: This, it was moments like this that remind me of why I do what I do.
I sat down with my homework questions:
“What are my talents?” I answered: Connecting, helping, motivating, and inspiring others.
“How can I give that to the world?” I answered: By doing exactly what I am doing now: coaching, mentoring, and writing.
Abundance is not about the things that I have, it is about the gifts that I give.