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Winning Words

The rewards of a giving heart may not be a typical payoff


This community is so awesome when it comes to giving back. The fundraising events, the donations, and the giving of time, talents, and resources never cease to amaze me. Yet what amazes me more is the incredible generosity of the community, giving back and never expecting to get anything back in return.

And that is the essence of true charity. That is what defines giving others a hand up when necessary and giving others an opportunity and hope for the future. We step up with muscle and a positive attitude when asked to help, we step up with a financial contribution if we can, and sometimes even when we can't. I see some of our neighbors and friends in the community, and I know some of them struggle financially sometimes, and yet there they are, front and center giving what they can - it's amazingly wonderful to see.

I was having a discussion with a friend recently and he was sharing that he was a bit frustrated because he was moving and needed some help on the front-end packing and making some home repairs and then on the back-end unloading and unpacking. He was frustrated because he felt like over the years he had given of himself, of his time, and shared that he never said "no" when asked to help. But when he asked, those very same people abandoned him. We can choose to believe that the behavior of his friends was unfair or we can choose to believe the others had real conflicts and could not be available to help. But we can also choose whether we continue living under our attitude of generosity or get trapped by the less-than-charitable attitudes of others.

Then we also have to choose who we are as a person when it comes to giving of ourselves, our time, or our money. Do we do it because we can or we know it's the right thing to do? Or do we do it because we are collecting tokens along the way, fully expecting to be paid back when our time of need comes? The latter way of thinking holds us ransom even though we feel like we are the one owed a favor. It holds us ransom because now we feel like the other person is in our debt. It holds us ransom because it places how we value ourselves over how we value our relationship with a family member, friend, or neighbor.

My grandfather shared a philosophy with me a long time ago, and I have heard it from others and have been reminded about it many times over the years. The philosophy of giving someone money when they need it or helping anyone in need if you have the time, talent, or resources. The philosophy of doing it with no expectation of ever being repaid. The person asking may offer their services one day or to repay a loan, however, the philosophy says do it if you can, and if the other person is ever in a position to repay the debt or service that is great, if not, that's OK too. If you can't accept that, do not loan the money, do not donate the money, or do not offer to your time or services. Give back without expecting to get back.

It may sound counterintuitive to some, but you can ask anyone who lives with this type of charitable heart and giving attitude, without expecting anything in return, often find themselves being blessed over and over and over again in so many ways.

So how about you? Do you give expecting to get back, or do you give because you can and it's the right thing to do? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com, and when we give back without an expectation to get something back in return, it really will be a better than good week ... for everyone.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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