People always ask me what they can do to help a cause if they don't have extra money. I completely understand that wallets are tight these days and even when they aren't, not all people are in a position to pass off a few Benjamins. I think too often we assume, however, that money is the only form of donation. For the record, it's not.
Donate one conversation a day to a good cause. After all, ask any millionaire, success story, lottery winner; there is nothing more precious than our time. Anyone can hop online and donate money. What's inspiring to me, are the people who are willing to be inconvenienced, people who take time for others and set their agenda and "To Do Lists" on momentary hold for another.
It's one thing to drop a few bucks in a homeless man's jar, while it's another thing to take five minutes from your day to invest in him with conversation. I'm not discrediting monetary donations, but we need less computer clicking and more personal investment. I may not always have an extra dollar in my pocket, but I always have a few minutes in my day to validate a person, to acknowledge them and honor them by making them worth my time.
No one will argue that in today's world, we are over-worked, over-stressed, over-scheduled -- but don't allow that to be an excuse to not contribute to this world. We also underestimate the power of conversation, of sharing and inspiring just one person. We don't all need a celebrity platform, a presidential podium or a plane ticket halfway across the world to make a difference. It can be as simple as a single conversation in Starbucks, an elevator ride with a co-worker or your regular check-in with friends, family or a significant other.
How often are our conversations diluted by inane gossip, office drama and "What should we eat for dinner?" I offer you an adventure story to share with someone, a real-life fairy tale and perfume-bottled inspiration that pervades your conversation. It's about a man who went to a far-off land and saw an injustice. The monsters of scarcity, poverty, and exploitation reared their ugly heads with his arrival. Rather than cowardly run away, frightened, intimidated and hopeless, he stared them in the face swearing his return. And he did return, with reinforcements, armor, swords and serious Hollywood money (always a perk in fairy tales).
Our knight in shinning armor, against all odds, with the world screaming impossible, fought for justice. He built a castle where no castle had stood and provides a sanctuary for the innocent to live and thrive in a world that begs to strip them of all hope. He fights battles every day, puts out fires minute-by-minute, but despite the wobbly-kneed exhaustion he's sure to feel, he fights for something greater. He fights for the rights of others.
While I love good fairy tales and I can get swept away with the best of them, it's time we started investing in the REAL heroes inundating our world. It's time we stopped imagining heroism and started living it. We needn't be great leaders, charismatic orators or masters of elocution. We needn't have fame or wealth, money or prestige. In order to be truly extraordinary, it's not who we are intrinsically, but what we do that measures our worth.
So all I ask is for one conversation. Share an adventure or story with others and in doing so, inspire the hero in someone else.
Image courtesy of Wf360.typepad.com, Onlinemba.com