Perhaps you have noticed, as I have, more of the people you know and care about are struggling during these tough and uncertain times. Or, maybe, that “struggler” is you.

Without question, individuals and organizations (charitable ones, especially) are finding themselves facing unfamiliar questions, challenges, and levels of hardship. Even those who are working seem to be working harder to remain profitable and successful.

How should we respond to such a situation? Some may say we need to cut back – reduce our expenditures to the bare minimums and protect our time, space, and emotions from other influences. In other words, we should give in to our circumstances.

I believe that now, more than ever, it is important to keep leaning forward, orienting yourself “Off Balance … On Purpose” to embolden your efforts and help the people you love.

Leaning forward with Purpose

When you inject a sense of purpose into any situation, uncertainty is not diminished. It does, however, begin to transform from a negative, energy-draining emotional state into something positive: excitement, possibility, and opportunity.

How is this “shift” accomplished? It begins with you and involves two important factors: your orientation and your application.

Orientation – How do you position yourself, relative to the difficulty? Are you on your heels, or are you leaning forward? In other words, are you simply a curious spectator to life’s events, waiting to witness the outcome? Or are you in the game, eager to participate and influence the final result?

Application – How do you use what you have for the greatest benefit? How do you leverage your money, time, talent, passion, influence, and energy to provide the most meaningful, measurable boost to your family, your friends and for our world?

When in doubt, give. Give from where you are abundant, and give from where you may be lacking. By helping others, you help yourself in two ways. First, you will experience an immediate reward for doing something wonderful for someone else. Secondly, you will engage forces greater than you (it’s a God thing) to multiply your gift for your intended recipient and, ultimately, for you, as well. It is impossible to give more than you receive.

Into Action

1. If you are in a position where you can give financially, please do! Your dollars matter now more than ever! I’m not asking you to give to my causes. Pick your own. These may include your church or favorite charity, or it may mean helping a dear friend or family member who is in desperate straits. Whatever you decide, your financial support will have an immediate and powerful impact.

2. Give of your time and energy. Get involved in the causes you care about. There is no better way to extract yourself from a personal “funk” than to get engaged in meaningful activity for others. You don’t have to commit to a huge undertaking. Perhaps start by lending a hand for a Saturday afternoon. You may also find that you’ll meet interesting, like-minded people as you invest your time for a worthy endeavor.

3. Give encouragement. Speak words of hope and optimism (to yourself and to others), even if they may at first ring hollow to your own ears. To give encouragement costs you nothing! Yet, the worth of your words may be priceless. Remember, we must orient ourselves to take a positive stance toward our circumstances. That is Step One! And sometimes, we “fake it till we make it.” In other words, you begin to embody what you wish to experience, auditioning for a desirable “role.” Then, eventually, you take ownership of the part as a full-time player.

4. Give your best efforts. Don’t diminish your expectations about what is possible. Instead, elevate your commitment and see this challenging time as an opportunity to hone your skills and talents. Focus with precision and make every action and conversation important and purposeful.

Thank you for the incredible opportunity to be one of your encouragers in life! It is an awesome “gift” I do not accept without immense gratitude and accountability. Please leave a comment in the section below to share your thoughts and contributions.

Keep leaning forward!

Dan

 

About Dan Thurmon

Dan Thurmon isn’t just a world-renowned Hall of Fame keynote speaker. He’s also an author, workplace performance expert, juggler, acrobat, unicyclist (even on mountains – yes, really), drummer, and is (in his late forties) learning flying trapeze!

15 Comments

  • Gloria Ernest says:

    Dan, as always you inspire me to be more and now also to give more. It IS a God thing when miracles come from small offerings and when so many are blessed from the heart of one! Your words always come at just the right time and as I am starting up my Cheer4U! (by Design) women’s ministry, you have given me purposeful and positive words to share! Thank you again for continuing your own ministry to all of us. You do create change in the world!!!
    Cheer4U! and God bless!
    Gloria

  • Peter Bielan says:

    I love your quote: It is impossible to give more than you receive. Thanks

  • Ruth says:

    Wow! What a great message in times like these! Yes, it is always and will always be a great thing to give freely with all your treasures especially of your time. Your articles are always up lifting and create a stir with-in me to want to give more than I just did! Seeing how the small things can change one life with just one person at a time is what excites me the most!

    Thanks again for the uplifting message!

    Ruth

  • Donna Krieger says:

    We recently completed our United Way campaign with a 90% contribution rate – we have people who know there are others “struggling” much harder than they are and have dug deep to help others. They truly know that it is impossible to give more than you receive and make me proud to work for a company that fosters this spirit.

  • I have found that much more can be accomplished and we are happier when we take responsibility for our lives and situations. To take responsibility is to become cause over something instead of being the affect of a situation. Stop playing the blame game and decide to take control by causing things to change, even if its only in your own mind.

  • Bob Donnelly says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great inspiration—-no better satisfaction than applying your own talents, gifts, or skills to help others “look-up”. If you yourself are plagued with challenges or uncertainties about your job or finances; suddenly, they don’t seem that bad—because you stepped back and then leaned forward to help someone with thei difficulties.
    Bob

  • Jack Dozier says:

    Dan, thanks as always for a perfect, and perfectly timely, reminder! I would only add “Hang out with people who inspire you.” Wanna hang out???

  • Cathy says:

    Great words of wisdom, Dan. Giving more of myself has been on my mind and as I read your words of inspiration, it became clear to me that now is the time to take action. You inspire me to focus more on giving my best efforts in all areas of my life. Thank you for sharing your insights and encouraging words to get me going back on the right track!

  • Kelli B says:

    Dan, you always have the proper inspiration for the proper time. This advice is priceless and we have so few good sources of inspiration today. Thank you for the emails and encouragement.

  • Ed Poorbaugh says:

    Enlightening and brilliant. This month has really put me in an uncomfortable position. I was recently asked to move with my company to a new location. I have lived in the same city and state for the past 40 years! Living off balance made the decision easy. My family and I are ready to lean forward and embrace the change. I love saying I am the most controlled-out-of-control person I know! To the point of the article my “problems” and “concerns” are nothing compared to some of the challenges faced by many people around the country and world. Thanks for reminding m of that. How great the feeling to share a smile, or other talents with people to brighten their day. Thanks for always bringing out the positive.

  • Peter Savage says:

    Dan:
    Yes, the leaning forward works and I have met and encouraged people on the campaign trail, and on crime stoppers in the neighborhood, and in singing in a community chorus, and in building a house with Habitat for Humanities in providing housing for a visiting Armenian trainee by US AID for a month. I would be working less if I had a job–but they are hard to come by for old timers like me. So money may be a problem down the line but the new network should get me some enthusiastic supporters.

  • Milton L. Naylor says:

    Dan, thanks for the timely inspiring words. These truly are challenging times for all of us. In spite of the difficulties, I recently struggled with a decision to try to help a cousin who is attending college. The intellectual part of me said to keep what I have because times are hard, but the spiritual side of me virtually spoke your exact words in that you can never give more than you receive. I immediately felt better and was even more uplifted when I read your words. Keep up the good work!!

  • Kendra Brindley says:

    I have to admit that as I headed out the door this morning, after making sure I had sub plans for my 28 students and all three of my children knew their alternate plans since I would be at a teacher conference today, I was a bit stressed! Being at school today, I thought, would make me a better person,teacher and mom- not listening to 6 different speakers! Was I wrong.
    I couldn’t wait to go to my car at lunch, so I could sit and begin reading my new book!! I was so inspired by Dan’s performance today that I feel like I have a whole new attitude. Someone actually told me that it was ok not to balance everything! Wow, what a relief! Thanks for changing my way of thinking!! (The laughter helped too!)

  • Alex McGill says:

    I was also in awe of Dan’s presentation this morning at the meetings for the Cobb County School District Conference. I had no expectations that I would be handed such a meaningful set of messages (at least, beyond the usual career tips and practices such conferences are known for promoting). Dan’s spirit and energy awakened everyone to possibilities that lie within us all. As he pointed out to us, balance is not a true goal for living because living is never a static enterprise. Adjustments and movements are continuously being made. I have enjoyed reading Dan’s book today and thinking back to the points he made. Perhaps the most powerful one I remember is the point that our personal gifts were meant to be shared rather than put away or merely put on display (like artifacts in a collection). In teaching, sharing knowledge really has to be a two-way exchange between learners and instructors. Well, we all certainly learned from Dan (our instructor) and his presentation today!

  • Doug Brown says:

    Your message in this column, like your presentation at the Georgia Technology Summit, was uplifting and inspirational. I feel as if you wrote it just for me. It was fun having lunch with you and your charming wife. You’ve taught me the blessing of being off balance. Life is indeed a journey and not a destination. Live to give. Awesome advice. Keep it coming. Thanks and God Bless.

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