Last week, I found out that a former coworker and fellow toastmaster had passed away after a battle with cancer. It has been about a year and a half since I lost saw her at the Summer Toastmaster Leadership Institute for our local district. I had just completed a training seminar when she told me the news. I said the typical awkward things you say to someone after they tell you some bad news. That would be the last time I saw her. It was also around the time I took a break from toastmasters. I’d gotten involved in too many clubs and felt burned out.

For the past few weeks, before finding out about her passing away, I had thought about contacting her and joining a local toastmasters club again. Then I found out the news in a Toastmasters email.

This event has me thinking about generosity, specifically the generosity of my former coworker. She had a big impact on my public speaking. One of the most important impacts she made was simply being a person to give good constructive feedback on my speeches. If you’ve ever found this person you know it is so valuable. To find someone that cares about your improvement, who takes an interest, and isn’t hurtful when you’re at your most vulnerable. This is why I’m writing about my former coworker today but what made her a special person is that she had done this exact same thing for hundreds of people.

She impacted the lives of hundreds of people. That’s what helping others does. When you positively impact someone’s life, they don’t forget. They care and they’re sad when you’re gone.