Although it’s Christmas season, this article has nothing to do with material and dutiful gifts. It’s about friendship, a communication principle that can be given and received every day. And you’ll soon realize that friendship is the most valuable gift of all – professionally and personally.
As you read further, I invite you to ponder on the quality of your life. How do your friendships affect you? And more importantly, how can you give a bit more in those friendships?
The power of Friendship!!
My most favourite person in the world, Carol, and her business partner, Jenny, recently leased what once was the Sangudo Legion Hall. Their dream was to open a much needed restaurant in our hamlet. They walked into that old, stinky, dirty, run-down building in the first part of August. Since then, they’ve put their hearts, souls, sweat, and a ton of cash into creating a fresh, clean, and cozy gathering place. The name? Connections Coffee House – a place for people to gather, connect, feast, experience community, and share friendship. C’mon out to Sangudo and experience it for yourself.
Did they do all of the work themselves? Not a chance.
They hired Eric. He fit this project around other carpentry jobs he had. Eric used his creativity and skills to do far more than build walls, install windows, and fix bathrooms. It’s worth your time to visit Connections to see the counter and swinging kitchen doors he made from left-over scraps of wood. He invested late nights and weekends (some on his own time) just because of friendship.
Kevin worked at night, to install sinks, wash tubs, connect water lines, and ensure the gas connections for the new stoves were up to code. Wayne and Vance worked in the tight confines of the cellar to install a sump pump and ensure adequate drainage. These guys got paid, yet much of their dedication and service fit into the category of friendship.
On any given day of the week, you could find one or more dear friends, Tammy, Laura, Sydney, Shelly, Sherry, Evelyn, Jamie, Shane, Tamara, and Jared. And I know I missed some. These people rolled up their sleeves to scrub, paint, fix, organize, and do whatever needed to be done, and laughter always filled the hall. Some of these friends invested many days of their time in the name of friendship – no payment expected or required, just a gift.
And when Carol and Jenny were feeling overwhelmed or disappointed, a cheery friend would show up to hug them and encourage them on.
This is real friendship. It is giving and receiving from the heart, and it can happen anytime and anywhere. Unlike most gifts, it doesn’t have to cost a penny. And the magical part is that the more you give, the more you receive. Friendship – the best gift of all, don’t you think?
You’re smart enough to know this friendship isn’t a one-way street. Carol and Jenny are two of the most kind, caring, and giving people you’ll meet – real friends, connectors, and community leaders, which makes the name, Connections Coffee House, even more appropriate. Because of who they are; their friends feel valued, respected, appreciated, and loved.
You may be thinking, “Cute story, Dan, but what does it have to do with me?”
Ahhh. Here’s where the coach in me comes out, and I’m living (not dying) to ask you some questions.
– Where can you give a bit more as a friend? I invite you to make a list of people and situations – personally and professionally.
– What resources can you give? i.e. time, energy, skills, knowledge, wisdom, material possessions, money, etc
– How can you use those resources to make a positive difference in his/her life? I invite you do consider what that will look like and feel like for your friend.
– Why would it be valuable for you to give your friendship? And how will you feel?
– As you reach out to others, who does it affect? And from a bigger perspective, who else?
– How might this conscious gifting of friendship affect your bigger goals for your future, and the happiness, fulfillment, and success you’ll experience?
And the toughest question:
– When and where (specifically) are you going to give the gift?
Sure, gifts of friendship are spontaneous. Yet, why not have a plan or strategy as well?
I’m sure you gift friendship regularly. What would it take to kick that up a notch, and make the conscious mental shift from “me” to “helping another”? Doing this one thing, with no expectation of anything in return, you’ll find your level of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness will sky-rocket.
My final questions: “Why not you?” and “Why not now?”