Chapter 5 – Radical Kindness
You never know where your giving will lead you or exactly what it will accomplish, but one thing for sure is that you feel great doing it. This appears to be a selfless venture, but when you understand the pay off, it can actually be seen as a selfish venture, because the return you will reap is huge.
Ten years ago, I had the luxury and privilege of going to arguably one of the most beautiful private resorts in the world, the North Island in the Seychelles. There were less than fifteen bungalows on this island. Our house manager was a young man from Zimbabwe, Clever Zulu. He made me feel like a princess. He did so much for us and he made the best cappuccinos! In the morning, at a prearranged time, Clever would arrive, ring a bell, quietly enter, begin his preparation of our breakfast, and ask us what we would like to do for the day. Since, for me, knowing and understanding people is like food, air and water, cappuccino was simply not enough. I wanted more. I asked him about his background, his family and his dreams. I suggested the next morning that he arrives in his running clothes and that we run together. And he did.
We ran through this beautiful island, discussing books. He was reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, literature that I would not typically read due to its dense nature. We also discussed life, explored philosophies and principles that lead to success. At that time, it just so happened that I was working with Deepak Chopra, Bob Proctor, Mark Victor Hanson, Cynthia Kersey and some of the greatest motivational success coaches in the world. I was filming a show and writing a curriculum called ‘The Power to Have it All.’ My time with Clever touched me deeply as I ventured into his world and listened to his stories and dreams. I was inspired to want to give to this hungry optimistic soul.
Upon my return, I gathered up the reams of success literature that I had. Tapes, CD’s, videos filled to the brim in a box heading for the Seychelles. I saw it as the beginnings of a success library to give those working on the island access to literature to support their dreams. Ten years later, on my flight back from NYC, after countless business meetings, I was feeling a bit down, alone and suffering fatigue. I read through my emails during my flight and chose to read a few of them that I would typically delete or pass over, as they were not mission critical, rather they were inspirational emails that arrived with regularity. Then I saw one from Clever, my Seychelles jogging partner. I opened it up and read the uplifting passage enclosed.
I then decided to visit the site that I was directed to, Absolute Abundance (www.blog. cz-absolute-abundance.com) by Clever Zulu. I was astonished by what I found! Books he had written, Powerpoint presentations that he had assembled, success principles for the hospitality industry and more. I watched his video clips and began to cry. I figured in that moment, if he can do it in Zimbabwe and maintain optimism, drive and the determination to overcome, so can I!
I sent him an email letting him know how often I think of him and how I had just gone to his site and saw all that he had created. I also told him how proud of him I was and how much I had needed to see his video and be reminded of what I already know. Within minutes, I received his response. He said, ‘Liz, don’t you remember, you were my inspiration? You sent me all of those wonderful books and programs years ago, and believed in me and my dream.’ A tidal wave of emotion came over me as I saw how the simplest act of giving had touched another’s life so dramatically and in return had lifted my spirits in a time when I needed to be reminded of what is possible.
So, who really received the gift? I guess we both did. But right now, I kind of think I got the mother lode. It’s the little things, the big things; it’s all of the opportunities that we take advantage of, that cross our path to give to one another. It is an incredible way to build a net worth of moments and memories that give back to you when you least expect it. So flex your giving muscle, as I used to say to my husband and son, and watch the magic happen!
Say the Radical yes to giving because you can.
WRITTEN BY LIZ.