Have you properly prepared for fall – the stewardship season? That’s considered the time to finish plans for the upcoming year. Around the start of the fourth quarter, you see it everywhere in business.
Budgets are being finalized, a new round of layoffs start as companies realize they have unfavorable profit margins, and nonprofits struggle for success in donations. Wall Street is not exempt during October, either, with investors. We’ve witnessed the volatility on the stock market back in October of 1929 and 1987.
In accompanying my parents to their church service in semi-rural Oregon in a recent fall, I was moved by the pastor’s sermon: “The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living.” It was the second poignant message of the day.
Earlier that morning in my parents’ hometown newspaper, The Register-Guard, the front page headline read: “Lessons in survival – Homeless students struggle with obstacles on and off campus, and their numbers are growing.”
The article mentioned Oregon has 20,000 homeless students. The kids have major obstacles in trying to graduate from high school. They have to have faith their lives will improve with a high school diploma.
Even if they find a place to sleep and shower, they have to wear the same clothes every day to school – where they encounter sarcasm from their fellow students.
Peer pressure can be devastating for young minds. The Greek verb for sarcasm, sarcazo, means “to tear flesh.” Instead, these kids need to be congratulated for their efforts. It’s a terrible thing not to have hope.
The newspaper story and the sermon have lessons for all thoughtful Americans – there is economic misery everywhere. Even working families are struggling to make ends meet.
And even those who lead comfortable lives have trouble managing stress, while taking their success for granted. One of the most-read articles on this portal is 30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Skills.
Value of mentoring
Early in my career, I benefited from the counsel of three beloved mentors whom I treasure, who advised me in spiritual and business matters. They were very accessible and generous in giving of their philosophies and insights.
Independently of one another, they each reminded me the same message – focus on an attitude of gratitude.
Thirty+ years ago in a recession when I was in divorce proceedings and sold advertising for two Los Angeles sister radio stations, I encountered cash-strapped prospects every day. Thankfully, I could telephone my first mentor – a busy executive – on weekdays at three p.m. His secretary had orders to take my call. Only three people had such a privilege – his boss, wife and me. I got the feeling that he closed his office door, sat down and put his feet on the desk, and spent 30 glorious minutes inspiring me.
One day, he advised me that helping others will improve my outlook. He suggested: “Look around for someone less-fortunate to help. Then, do what you can. But don’t tell anybody what you’ve done. Otherwise, it won’t count.”
A few years later, the second mentor once observed: “When we’re stressed, it’s because we’re focused on the 10 percent of our lives that isn’t working instead of the 90 percent that is.”
After a long period of success, there was a time when it seemed my career was taking two steps forward but one back. The third mentor told me: “Consider where you were five years ago. Consider where you are now. Write a gratitude list.”
Despite their huge success, these men were very humble. To each, I once said: “If I were to compensate you, I’d have to write a check for $100,000.”
Individually, they each told me to forget the check: “When you get the chance, pass it on.”
Focus on what’s important
Not until we face humbling experiences do we usually begin to fully appreciate the important things – starting with family, friends, pets and homes. For businesspeople, that includes cash flow, thanks to clients or customers.
Gratitude leads to hope, which is very powerful because it leads to accomplishments.
Perhaps you’re mindful of these economic developments in your community and have taken action. If not, please consider it’s time to do what is possible to lessen the misery of the world.
Especially, if you’ve managed to overcome obstacles, consider: The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living – generous with your philanthropy. It’s true. I have retired friends who now work full-time at helping others. You know what? Proverbially, that’s what floats their boat, and they’re the most-happy people I know.
By Thanksgiving Day, my fervent wish is that every businessperson takes stock of what’s working in their lives and careers, and start spending more quality time with family. Then, do something else.
The options are many. Launch a scholarship fund for worthy students. Mentor someone. Or find a worthy charity or religious organization that needs you. You can help in at least one of three ways – with your time, effort or money.
Thank you. You’ll be glad you did. I guarantee “the overflow of revived heart is always generous living.” You’ll feel even better if you practice year-round.
P.S. Your thoughts are welcome here. Spread the message. And if you have children, talk with them about sarcasm and lessening the misery of the world.
From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks:
Effective Ways You Might Consider to Improve Your City – To fully enjoy and improve your community, there’s a lot of wisdom in the adage, “Let it begin with me.”
Checklist for Launching a Successful Nonprofit 501(c)(3) –In order to start a successful tax-exempt nonprofit, be aware you’ll be launching a complex organization and you must first realize two salient things. It has to be operated in a businesslike fashion, and you’ll encounter fierce competition for money.
How Marketing Makes Corporate Social Responsibility Profitable – Social responsibility leads to a good return on investment (ROI) if marketing is implemented properly. But some CEOs make the wrong choices in trying to implement social responsibility initiatives.
Cause-Related Marketing Can Increase Sales by Double Digits – The Biz Coach has long-advocated cause-related marketing. Customers love community-minded businesses. Now, he’s happy to report on a major study.
With a Mentor You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions – You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money.
Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.