Sunday, June 04, 2006

Growth through giving

Charity begins at home, but shouldn’t end there. – Scottish Proverb

The best leaders among us are recognized by many traits. We often describe leaders as; smart, brave, loyal, strong, dedicated, fearless, etc... Odd how when you ask most folks for words to describe great leaders, they leave out words like generous, self-less, charitable and compassionate. I submit that if you really want to describe the greatest leaders of our time, these words must be included.

Charity takes on many forms – you can be charitable to your staff, to your company or even to your competitors, but the truest forms of charity have less to do with business for they will be seen as a tactic in the business world. The most telling examples of charity that set great leaders apart from the pack are those done with a sincere intent to help, and to lead and encourage others to join in the cause.

I’ve had the privilege of working for some great leaders along they way and they helped me find the courage to commit to charitable works that give me an opportunity to give something back to the world. While I know in my mind that I am putting myself in a “good light” by doing these charitable things, my heart drives me into the work with no consideration for any benefit I might derive – giving is my reward alone.

Ok, so here’s the shameless plug – I am volunteering in an American Cancer Society program named “Relay for Life”. It’s a 24 hour relay event where members of my team will be walking on a track for 24 hours straight to raise funds, awareness and even the spirits of cancer survivors. I have lots of personal reasons to do this. I figure that many of you have the same reasons to engage in some charitable cause. I would, of course appreciate any support you would care to lend. If you would like to know more about this event or to see how you can help, please visit my Relay For Life site – you can see all sorts of information about this event, how you can help or just leave a message of encouragement to our team or the survivors we support.

Find some charitable work to engage in. There are hundreds of ways you can give back to the world – Disease prevention and cure groups, religious groups, youth services, domestic and substance abuse… the list goes on and on. You can surely find a way to help by contributing your time, talents or resources – whatever the cause, you can find a way to contribute. You’ll be glad you did!

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