Have you joined my free 14 day Summer Giving Challenge? It just started today! Sign up here.
First things first, download and print out the Summer Giving Challenge resources packet!
If this is your first time participating in one of my challenges, welcome. If you've been around awhile and are coming back for more giving fun, welcome back!
Not to get to down in the weeds, but I'd like to share with you how the Giving Challenge revolution started.
In late 2010, I read 29 Gifts, by Cami Walker. It was an amazing book of a young women’s battle to regain control over her life after a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. In the book, Cami challenges her readers to give a gift for 29 days. I'll be very transparent, I never understood why 29 days, so it became my goal, starting January 1, 2011, to go beyond the 29 days and do an entire year of giving.
My definition of a gift was simple, it was to give something and expect nothing in return. If I gave a physical gift wrapped in a bow, I didn't expect a hand written thank you not. If I gave a smile, I didn't expect a smile in return. If I let someone cut in front of me in traffic, I didn't expect the friendly wave back. I think you get my drift.
When we strip the expectation away, giving is freeing instead of what it can be at times, frustrating. Keep the definition of a gift in mind, through out this journey. The longer you practice giving with no expectations, the easier it will become.
As I mentioned earlier, I set a goal to give every day for year. Me one person, looking for a way to make a difference in one other person's life each and every day. I went beyond a year, and gave a gift for 522 consecutive day. Whew!
After my journey ended I took a time to reflect what the journey meant. I knew I had to keep giving. I would say on most days from then until now I've given a gift. I've just stop tracking and sharing my daily giving adventure.
It has always been my hope that the giving isn't about me and my gifts, but that my stories motivate others to get involved and start giving. There are so many ways to give and I'm a big believer that sometimes the smallest of gifts have the biggest impact. A simple smile to a stranger could change the course of their entire day. An encouraging text or email to a friend may come at a time when they need it the most.
I'm grateful for you to join me on this journey. It may just change your life like it did mine. I'd love for you to share with me and others how you are a making a difference, as I truly believe, 1 can make a difference but all of us together can change the world.
Day 1 Giving Challenge: Let's start out with one of those small gifts that I mentioned. Smile at everyone that crosses your path today.
Did you know... there has been multiple research studies on the benefits of smiling? Smiling can improve your mood, lower blood pressure, be a stress reliever, improve relationships and may even help you live long. So, don't just smile today for the giving challenge, flash your smile everyday to feel the positive effects.
Chat with your Children: If you are a parent, I'd love for you to get your child involved in the giving challenge. A new school year is coming up and just think about the impact your child could have on classmates just by smiling at them.
Bonus Story: Check out a recent blog story I wrote on how smiling helped build my confidence.
Stephanie L. Jones