An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Start your giving adventure today!

I can’t believe it has been several weeks since I have posted a blog. Time flies by when you are having fun and living life!   My gifts over the past couple of weeks have been rather simple and I have had a little bit of writers block trying to blog about the daily gifts.  To check out my daily gift list click here.

A couple of month’s back I was contacted by a lady who stumbled upon my blog and has started to follow my gift giving journey.  She had many questions about how I got started, how I figure out what gifts to give, etc.  She e-mailed me first and then I followed up with a phone call to her.  I love hearing from those of you that follow my blog and getting to talk to new people and making personal connections is even better.
I let her know that I had read the book 29 Gifts and that it motivated me to start not just giving only 29 days, but for an entire year.  That year made such an impact in my life that I have continued into year two.  I explained to her that in the beginning, gifts were sometimes hard to come by and many days I relied on creativity and seeking and searching for opportunities. But, as the days, weeks and months went by opportunities started to present themselves and the gift giving became a daily habit.  What do the experts say; it takes 21 days of consistent actions to build a habit?

I checked in with this young lady at the end of her first month and she gave me permission to share her response and experience. Here it is:
“Hi Stephanie- I am so excited to tell you about my 29 days that unintentionally has turned into 31 and going.

 Well, it hasn’t been easy, but it has been interesting and very surprising.  I found that on every single occasion that I gave something, I got something in return.  This was not my intention what-so-ever but I have received an award for every act. 
The most interesting incidence of giving happened one day when I was frustrated very upset and couldn’t focus on something to give. So I took an idea from you and while I was running errands, I drove through a drive-thru and purchased a coffee drink and of course, paid for the car behind me.  On my way home, I noticed the same car behind me.  I didn’t think anything of it but then I actually started to wonder if I had offended the driver somehow. 

Well, she followed me home. I got out of my car ready to apologize when an old friend popped out of her car and thanked me for the coffee and wanted to know why I hadn’t just waved her down so we could have coffee together.  I had no idea I knew the person. It has been a few years, I didn’t recognize the car and I deliberately didn’t look in my review mirror because for some reason, this particular act was made me nervous.
Another beautiful thing I am finding is that every time I talk about this with family and friends, I get more “leads” if you will for giving and others are considering a journey of their own. 

On day 29 an acquaintance asked me to provide them some consultative services for a fee.  I volunteered my effort – that leads to a nice contract for the spring. Completely unexpected but very cool! I have continued with day 30 and 31 and will keep going. I do think it is a habit now, another reward for me.

So when I started, I did not expect rewards.  It is strange. I love giving and in the past, over thought things so much that when I gave, the recipient often felt like they had to give something back to me which was very uncomfortable for both of us.  This journey, while I think about it every single day, has made things so much easier in that the gifts are simple, unpretentious and don’t render that feeling of obligation on anyone’s part

So glad I caught your blog on this!  It doesn’t matter if my gifts are even acknowledged by the recipients or if I even know who directly benefits- I think the practice of just giving changes so many things we can’t be aware of unless we make the effort.”

I hope this young lady’s story inspires you to start your gift giving journey today.  I encourage you to start on this amazing adventure. Even if your goal is to just give a gift for a day, a week or month.  It is a start.  I can almost guarantee that if you make it to 21 days, it will not only become a habit but a lifestyle that will change your life and those around you.

If you have questions or need ideas drop me an e-mail at or leave a comment. 

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