We make a living
by what we get.
We make a life
By what we give!

                          – Winston S. Churchill

Here we are, the end of another year.  It seems that not so long ago we were considering the opportunities that would face us in the year to come.  If you recall, my pre-New Year post last December, Looking Back as We Move Forward, encouraged you to let your reflections on the past year guide the selection of the goals you will establish for yourself in 2018.  No less is true for the forthcoming year, but this year as you reflect ask yourself these two questions. How did my resolutions for 2018 serve to help others?  What resolutions did I make that were truly designed to benefit another person, organization or cause? As you think about the year to come I encourage you to embrace a different idea; to remember that it’s not about you, it’s about how you can make a difference.

If there was ever a year that evidenced a short supply of civility and common courtesy, 2018 fits the bill.  It seems we live in a world where people paint with broad brushes, where disagreement leads to degradation, where finger pointing and blame lead to alienation.  Let’s relearn how to disagree and discuss, and at the same time remember how to listen and respect differing opinions and ideas. How about this, “I will treat others with the respect and civility that I would expect from them.  I will demonstrate this through my behavior, my actions and my words.”

You’ve heard it said before, “Perhaps the most precious commodity we have is time.”  Why not donate some of that time to your community? Did you know that more than half the soup kitchens, food pantries and meal programs rely entirely on volunteers?  How about opening the door to a whole new world by being a volunteer literacy tutor or working with a local task force that is addressing the issues associated with suicide, mental health issues or domestic abuse?  How about this, “I will make a difference in my community by volunteering my time, skills and abilities to a local community organization that exists to serve the needs of others who may not be as fortunate as me.”

Children are our future and senior citizens are our link to the past.  There are countless opportunities to make a difference when we work with these groups.  Perhaps you can volunteer as a coach for an organization like Girls on the Run.  At the heart of this organization are the amazing volunteers whose commitment and passion change the lives of thousands of girls each year.  How about being a big brother, a  big sister, a mentor, or a tutor for a child.  What about committing to mow a senior’s lawn, or simply spending time with a senior who has no other family and lives alone.  I recently spoke to someone who plays the piano at a Senior Center on Friday afternoons at 4:00. A employee at the Center told me the residents refer to that time each week as “Happy Hour”  How about this, “I will make a difference in the life of a child or senior by becoming an active part of their life.”?

There you have it, three resolutions that aren’t about you; they exist to serve others,  Their achievement will serve to make someone else’s life better. Isn’t that what servant leadership is all about?  Have a great new year by putting others first!

Embrace the Challenge and Embrace the New Year