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.
It’s a few weeks away from Thanksgiving and for the past year I’ve been working on practicing gratitude. Each day I write a sentence about what I’m grateful for that day. Here are the common themes:
- Family (spouse, kids, mother, father, relatives)
- Good books
- Time to think
- A conversation
- Something that moves me
- Delicious food
- A song that makes me dance or sing
- Learning something new
See how it makes you feel.
You can read all you want.
You can study all night long.
None of it matters without any action on your part.
Without action you might as well have done nothing at all.
What are you doing while other people sleep?
Are you sleeping, slacking, cheating, lying, whining, or procrastinating?
are you working, hustling, planning, studying, managing, or creating?
There are two paths. Which one do you think will lead to success?
What are you doing in your spare time? Are you thinking, learning, doing, challenging yourself to be better?
What are you doing on a daily basis?
How are you improving?
Are you giving more value than you take?
Be honest with yourself. What have you done today? If the answer is nothing or the bare minimum. Then you have no reason to complain when things don’t turn out the way you intended.
When life knocks you down, what do you do?
When it kicks you when your down, what do you do?
When your journey brings you to brick wall, what do you do?
When you’re given bad news, what do you do?
When you’re turned down, what do you do?
When you figure out you’re going in the wrong direction, what do you do?
When you feel like you’re dying, what do you do?
When you’ve lost hope, what do you do?
When you love leaves, what do you do?
What you do in these situations is one of the biggest determinant in how your life turns out. You’ll never have enough information. You’ll never have all the right answers. You need to trust your gut and move forward.