”Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.”
I ran across this quote online and unfortunately, everything I was finding listed a different blogger, Pinterest account or Instagram handle as the “author.” It is unclear who penned these words originally, but I’m thankful they were penned and I’m thankful for the many that have curated the sentence.
The act of giving is contagious. It is also addicting. I set out a couple years ago to take a treat for the flight crew on every flight I boarded that particular year. I found this act of kindness and unexpected expression of gratitude to be more fun than I expected and I haven’t stopped. There is now essentially a rule in my life: don’t board without a gift.
Not too long ago I began to think about others in similar “jobs” but completely different industries. Why not give such gifts, or expressions of gratitude to others, too? I’ve always been one to leave a tip, even if the service was poor at a restaurant. I don’t believe in stiffing. For any reason. If you’re tight on cash – don’t eat out. If the service sucks – leave the bare minimum. That’s just me.
A couple months ago I found myself in a fancy golf-cart shuttle in the world-famous town of Napa, California while attending the Napa Valley Film Festival. I jumped in and asked the driver to take me somewhere off the beat and out of the general area they were servicing. I didn’t even think about needing cash to tip the guy. I didn’t have any cash, I felt like a fool. At my stop, I asked the driver to allow me to find him later and make up for my lack of cash and his above-and-beyond service. He was gracious, we exchanged names and wished each other a good night.
I found an ATM and got some cash for Gus. Cool, now I just need to find Gus.
I got distracted and didn’t look for Gus until it was too late for anyone in their right and sober mind to be awake still. I could blame it on the fine wines, the extraordinary food or the amazing memories and friendships being formed at the Gala, but the reality is – I forgot.
I had to make this right though. Once I returned home, I sought out the shuttle company and found a mailing address for their office. I sent a thank you note and cash, attention: Gus. I had no idea if it would ever make it to Gus, I was just hopeful. My job was just to give, to honor my commitment and do my part. No strings attached. The gifts are often minimal and simple – but the act can be mood-altering, or day-making, or maybe even life-changing.
That’s greatness. Don’t read me wrong – I’m not great. Giving is great. Giving is fun. Giving is easy.
Gus received my thank you card, and once again he went above and beyond – he took the time to handwrite a note for me and purchased a stamp to send me one of the best “responses” to an expression of gratitude that I’ve ever received. Greatness displayed.
The world is full of good people, full of greatness. Take ownership of the world you want to see – inspire greatness simply by giving.