Category Archives: Purpose

Charity Begins at Home

Let’s look at the phrase “charity begins at home” in two ways. First, giving to others begins with giving to yourself. You can’t fill anyone’s cup from an empty bottle. Just like the emergency instructions on an airplane, you have to put on your own mask and get oxygen first before assisting others. Some of us are uncomfortable with this concept, worried about appearing selfish. Perhaps a better word to use in this case is ‘self-filled.’ You fill yourself in order to give to others. And that means finding out what you love, what strengthens you, what you do best and putting it into play in your life. This advice is especially helpful for people on the edge of burn-out working in non-profits, where giving is the norm, and resources are perennially scarce. When you have enough you can most articulately, elegantly and effectively give to others.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

The Daily Difference

Each moment of each day affords us an opportunity to give – the question is how to take them. Each interaction we have with friends, colleagues, family members, and strangers has the potential for giving. In this case, it’s helpful to get away from the idea of a literal physical gift. Each positive interaction we have, each shared smile or courtesy enriches everyone involved. Loretta Girzartis said, “If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen.” And these extraordinary things all come from otherwise ordinary moments on an ordinary day.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Top 5 Reasons Why People Give

Because they are asked, or presented a giving opportunity Compassion for those in need Personally believe in the cause Affected by the cause To give back to their community Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s charity-based team building activities: Charity Bike Build – As featured on NPR! - Teams build bicycles for underserved children in their area.Charity Wheelchair Build – Charity Wheelchair Build gets your team building wheelchairs to help disabled people stay independent in this charity team building activity.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Quix Tip: The Growing Orbit of Giving

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “I live my life in growing orbits.” The first orbit starts with the self. The next orbit might be those small generosities, the daily giving you can do for those around you. What can you give to your co-workers, your family? What would they most appreciate? Your time? What’s the quality of your time – would they wish to see you relaxed, healthy and content and share that moment with you – then it may help you to give to yourself – whether it’s exercise, quiet time, time spent with friends and your community, whatever refreshes your batteries, in order to give what people would most like from you The next orbit may be to help strangers, people you don’t know, to find a way to make even that connection feel like home. Pema Chodron recommends starting with what’s easiest, then moving incrementally to what’s harder. Ideally giving is for both you and the world. If it’s just one of those, then you’re missing something valuable.

Also posted in Happiness, Persistence | Comments closed

The Gift of Giving

Vincent Van Gogh said, “How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?” There are 1.5 million charitable organizations in the US; there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and an infinite number of possible answers if we ask ourselves Van Gogh’s beautiful question. How best can we serve? What can we give? When contemplating giving, it’s helpful to expand the horizons of what we may imagine giving to mean. Of course it includes formal giving, whether volunteering or philanthropy. But it also includes the countless opportunities each day (Hence the 86,400 seconds in a day statistic) we have to give informally to the people we know around us, give to ourselves and of ourselves, and to people and things in the larger world that we don’t know. We each have unique gifts and myriad opportunities to use and give them. The field of Emotional Intelligence tells us that emotions are contagious, so even each emotion we feel and express is a form of a gift. Giving is something we can do every day. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s charity-based team building activities: Charity Bike Build – As featured on NPR! Teams build bicycles for underserved children in their area. Charity Wheelchair Build – Charity Wheelchair Build gets your team building wheelchairs to help disabled people stay independent in this charity team building activity. Pack to School – Fill backpacks for kids in this fun charity team building activity.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Get small, get calm, get happy with a purpose pause

If a problem, worry, or anxiety looms large, pause for a moment. Find a way to either tangibly savor something larger – take a walk in nature, talk to a loved one for example – or simply take this moment to fill yourself with appreciation for something bigger than yourself, wherever you are. Feel the larger space that is holding the current issue. Get right-sized. Here are twelve ideas for you to get small, calm and happier. Pick one right now and try it. Nature Your breath Co-workers Family – mate and/or children Community – friends, neighbors Spirituality and religion Pets Meditation Big Time – geological time, glaciers, the time it takes for the stars to reflect the sun’s light, the time it takes for a tree to grow Realizing how often you’ve made it through something similar in the past Exercise Make something up What usually helps you most? What will help you right now?

Also posted in Strengths | Comments closed

The Journey To and From Home

“Sometimes it takes a journey to come home.” -Stephen Levine Life can pull us away from the ‘home’ inside ourselves. The daily grind tends to keep us on one static level – roughly chest-high and above. The increasing speed of deadlines and demands, news, technology, advertising, traffic all seem to conspire to keep us hurtling faster through a cluttered life. Journeys and vacations give us a way to cut through the increased complexity and speed, to slow down, enjoy simpler pleasures and reconnect with our internal home and source of energy and delight, what Yeats calls, “my deep heart’s core.” “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau  The next time you travel, either for vacation or work, you may wish to take the opportunity to travel lightly. Time away from a complex and often messy life is a wonderful opportunity to live more simply for a few days. This simplicity, this little oasis of emptiness, holds within it the promise of being ‘found’ again. Here is an opportunity to return to yourself, your truest desires, your playfulness, your quietness. This is definitely easier to begin when away from the office, the home, the clutter and clanging of everyday life. In fact, research has shown that you’re more effective at changing a bad habit if you change your external situation at the same time. “You and me Sunday driving, not arriving, spending someone’s hard earned pay…we’re on our way home.” – from Two of Us by the Beatles Simple, humble pleasures may be more likely to renew – quietly sitting and watching the waves as they break over the shoreline vs. paragliding then jet-skiing then going out to restaurant after restaurant then…you get the idea. Stripping your day down to what’s most important to you both invigorates and eases the heart. You may find yourself focusing more on connecting with your spouse, your kids, your health (going for a walk or a swim or stretching on the beach), your mind (reading a book, writing in a journal), your heart (watching those waves and breathing with them). On your journey to and from home you may find yourself revisiting both the bigger picture and the smaller. You may see with fresh eyes what few things are vital and enduring as well as what gifts are waiting to be opened right in this very moment. You may notice more connection with the others around you, more time to notice sweetness and a clearer focus on you (and not in the self-loathing way).  This giving yourself the best, allowing yourself to be at your best gives you a touchstone to refer to when you’re back at home and allows you to give your best to everyone whose lives you touch. And you may reintroduce a confidence that can come only when you are at the helm of your ship, when you are steering the course. And then you can say, just as Walt Whitman did, “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me…henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing…strong and content I travel the open road.”

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed

Get small, get calm, get happy with purpose

Standing on the dock at night, I could hear, but not see, my friend Gabby returning on the paddleboard. My eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the darkness. We exchanged places and out I paddled. No wind, the water was utterly still. It was Sunday night and late in the season, very few lights from houses along the shore and only night crickets sounding. Quiet, slow dip of paddle in the water. The strongest stars seen in the sky only. Out to the middle – and turning back to the west…over the hemlocks – a waxing crescent moon hanging bright and low in the sky. I felt very small among all of this openness, all this space. And it felt great. Freeing. Whatever background concerns or worries my mind might have been chewing on unnoticed slid away into the dark water. I felt in that moment ‘right sized’ – what the poet Mary Oliver calls, “your place in the family of things.” This is the power of purpose – an opportunity to get ‘right-sized’. The links between self-absorption and depression are now well documented scientifically. But it’s not just depression. Dr. Leon Seltzer says, “From a variety of phobic, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive impairments, to many depressive disturbances (including bipolar disorder), to various addictions, to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to most of the personality disorders, self-absorption can be seen as playing a major (if not dominant) role.” When we’re anxiously peering in, each problem appears vast. What other size could it be? We aren’t able to get the benefit of connecting with something larger than ourselves to ‘right-size’. And we’re not able to give our best to a world that needs it so sorely now. Instead, what we need most in moments of anxiety is space. Connecting with something larger provides that space. I probably spent no more than 20 minutes out on the lake that night. Yet weeks later, I can immediately feel its calming, centering ‘rightness’ that helps temper my perspective even as I write these words. A small time investment, a huge payoff. Here’s to you cutting through your background noise. And here’s to you finding the peace and connectedness that a right-sized perspective and larger space provides, right her, right now.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Quest Story: Newman’s Own

“When the idea came up, I said, “Are you crazy? Stick my face on the label of salad dressing?’ And then, of course, we got the whole idea of exploitation and how circular it is. Why not, really, go to the fullest length, and the silliest length, in exploiting yourself and turn the proceeds back to the community?” -       Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own Foundation Over $495 million given to thousands of charities worldwide since l982! Click here to learn more about Newman’s Own Foundation.

Posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Team Building The AMC Hut Croo Way

After a full, beautiful day of hiking the White Mountains in New Hampshire, my long-time friend Kevin (over 30 years!) and I reached our resting place for the night. We unslung our backpacks at Mizpah Spring Hut. An Appalachian Mountain Club hut is a ‘hut’ in name only. Located on Mount Pierce at 3,800 feet elevation, the Mizpah Spring Hut can sleep up to 60 people. Meals are served family style to the hikers, so and we sat down at a long table filled with hikers. I was quite unprepared for what came next. Out came the croo (they spell it that way) members for dinner announcements. Two people trudged out wearing old wooden frame backpacks. Attached to each of the packs was a wooden chair. Sitting on the two chairs were croo members, the man wearing a fashionable gold lame top and comfy pajama bottoms. And for the next few minutes there they sat, explaining how meals worked and what was for dinner. The whole time, the others where stolidly standing in place with well over 150 pounds of wood and humanity on each their backs. Adventures like this continued throughout the evening and into the morning. The croo woke us up by singing a song (the best alarm clock ever). Tasks they wanted people to do in the morning after breakfast were relayed in the form of a very funny take on an old fairy tale. We were all sold on the experience, all bought in, all engaged. There were smiles everywhere throughout the room, and cheers, laughter and applause were the norms. The croo members were a positive contagion. Every human in the room got elevated (pun intended). So, great. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? I work with teams for a living. I’ve worked with great teams, worked with extremely dysfunctional teams. I’ve worked with literally thousands of teams. This was the highest performing team I’ve ever seen. These young men and women (this was their summer job while in college for the most part) gave us what we technically needed – a place to sleep and two meals. But they gave us so much more – an experience that lifted us, inspiration, laughter, a feeling we were part of something special. The daily grind of modern work is unforgiving. And it can deaden. I know, I know, belive me, I know. I see it everywhere and know the feeling intimately too. But we do have a choice. We can give these higher qualities to the people we work with. Or we can decline to do that. We can give the members of our family team at home that experience, the members of our community team that experience. Or not. And we can look for inspiration from the good that’s being done in the world to help balance out the bad we hear so much about. The choice is here today for you, for me. September, a month of fresh starts, beckons us, hoping for a smile on our lips and a generosity in our hearts. Here’s to you and me being living inspirations this month!

Also posted in Happiness, Play, Quest Stories, Team Building | Comments closed