It all started with an idea. I was dividing money into management system I learned about at the Millionaire Mind Intensive, and it came to me. At this program I learned about my relationship to money and an effective method to manage my finances. The method has 6 “jars” that I divide my paychecks into. My Necessities, Education, Play, Giving, Long Term Savings for Spending and Financial Freedom all get a percentage of every check. Applying this method since June, I can say this is impressively working. Anyway, I was on my Giving jar, specifically set aside for charity and to donate to the 100 Palm Beach when I noticed that there was more than what I needed in the jar. There were still weeks before the quarterly meeting and I began thinking of what I could do with my leftover resources.
The first thing I did do was acknowledge getting to this point. The fact that I am now living by the blueprint I feel I needed to learn was an accomplishment and results were showing up from the committed actions I’d been taking. Having something to spend and more importantly, something to give was a new feeling and I didn’t hesitate in knowing that I wanted to begin doing more than I had for those in need. But how would I go about this? Who would I give to? And why?
My first idea was called “Down to My Last Dollar.” The idea was to carry a specific amount with me to give to donation/ tip jars, waiters/ waitresses and people in the community collecting donations until nothing was left. This idea triggered a memory of being in Jr. High marching band asking for donations outside of gas stations and grocery stores during an annual fundraiser back in Joliet. It’s been twenty years since then and I couldn’t tell you the last time I thought about it. The thought of reconnecting with that experience and what it felt like started the wheels in motion for me. I wanted to be the individual who donates to those kids. Not just be the receiver of those gifts so many years ago. Immediately I began looking for tip jars and anyone in the community asking for a donation with some success. The wheels of creativity kept spinning and new ideas continued to come to mind.
I wanted to this to be something I did from now on and felt my reason for doing this really needed to mean something for me. Sitting down, I thought about what I wanted to accomplish by giving, as well as what it meant to me to give and why. My ideas for a challenge started developing into a new lifestyle. Not just a challenge for a month here or there. As a week became two, I started to notice opportunities all around me to do more and chose to start with where I could afford within my budget. As I started talking to coworkers about donating, I noticed I kept hearing about a local wildlife rescue. I began to think that I should do some research into charities that touch my heart locally and beyond. Hmm.
One evening, a few days later when meeting up with a friend, I walked past a homeless man who asked me for “a couple dollars” so he could get food. More often than not, my reaction is to say no or shrug my shoulders to say that I have nothing to give. But that Friday felt different. I’m was walking around thinking about wanting to change how I’m giving and was now being asked to help if I was serious. In that moment, I asked myself, “Am I going to do what I said I wanted to do and help this person? Or, am I going walk away and start rationalizing a good reason for why I held myself back.” Immediately, I turned around and let him know I could help. I almost let that voice in my head talk me out of it with the “what if” game. Mine started like, “What if he spends the money on” and thought, “Thank you for sharing. But I’m not going to listen to that.” I can’t control what he’s going to spend his money on. If a person says to me that he’s hungry, I will do what I can to help. The opportunity to live what I’ve been thinking about showed up. And my choice would either say, “next time”, or decide that now is where this change begins.
I started thinking about what I could do with a few extra bucks in my giving jar and almost a month later I’m being presented with opportunities to give to others and declare a new way of showing up in the world. Instead of making a 30-day challenge, I decided this would be ongoing indefinitely. I still can’t see how this will fully play out, but I do know that I want to find out who I become by figuring it out.