“Kayla, here’s what I think you need to start thinking about…” is how most of my conversations with my Dad start. Ever since I was old enough to sit still for long enough, he has been teaching me “lessons.”
“If you keep saying “like” or “um” as much as you do, you aren’t going to look very smart.”
“If you whack your brother on the head, he’s going to start thinking of you as a bully.”
“If you eat hamburgers every day, it’s going to seem like you don’t care much about your health!”
I generally shrug these off with some kind of “Psshh” response to my dad.
Generosity from ShutterstockBut in reality, every action we take speaks loudly about our personal brand. And actions we take and perceptions we create about ourselves, have a much longer lasting effect than I had originally thought when I started enduring these lessons from my Dad.
The one that seemed to ring truest to me was his lessons on “choosing generosity.”
I grew up playing the piano and I became pretty good, pretty fast. By the time I was in middle school,he started regularly telling me, “When you have a gift, you cannot put it to waste. You need to share it with everyone…with as many people as you can.”
So I began playing piano in church, playing in school, playing in nursing homes…every chance my piano teacher found for me to get out and play, I would. “Choosing generosity” was important to my dad, and it became very important to me, too.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that generosity can be expensive! From my Alma Mater asking for donations each year, to charity drives at work, to fundraising needs of friends and family…I have a hard time fitting all of this into my budget!
“Generosity” seems to have received an “expensive” stereotype!
So this Valentine’s Month, I’ve committed to choosing generosity…but this time in the same way I did back in middle school: by choosing to be generous in FREE or much more inexpensive ways. Here are some of my ideas:
1. SMILE at everyone I pass on the street.
2. Begin each meeting at work with a HIGH-FIVE to everyone there…in every meeting, all day. This will definitely improve everyone’s mood.
3. When I stop at the local coffee shop for a cup-o-joe, I’ll pick up the person behind me’s tab…and tell the cashier to tell him or her to pay for the person behind him in line.
4. I’ll walk my friend’s dog after work…because she is sick of the daily chore, and the love that dog shares with the world, is something I know I could use a reminder of.
In the spirit of offering lessons like my dad’s, this is mine: choose generosity. And remember that it can fit in your budget.
What is your “Choose Generosity” commitment this month? Share your ideas here!
Kayla Johnson is a marketing lead at brightpeak financial, a new organization dedicated to helping young Christian adults and families start taking action on their finances now, and for the future. To learn more about how brightpeak’s mission inspired Kayla to incorporate money into her own personal brand, take a look at this video, and follow @brightpeakSpeak for daily updates and tips.
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