Lend a Hand

This week we continue with my seventh installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6: Take the leap.
Suggestion#7:  Lend a Hand.

As I write this week’s Stretch, Irma is hours away from slamming the Florida coast while Houstonians and many other Texans from the exact area where I grew up are cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey. As sad as I was to watch and learn of the devastation, the constant media coverage of the storm provided an unintended respite from the images of our divisiveness as a nation on all things political. In Houston, heroes showed up from every walk of life, every creed and color, and with only a desire to lend a hand and help out a fellow human being.

I had a proud Mama Moment when I learned that my 20-something son living in Austin got so sick of the feeling of helplessness while watching all the news reports that he decided to throw some lifejackets and inflatable dingy in the back of a pickup and head down to Houston with a couple of buddies to see how they could help. They ended up rescuing about 30+ people before they had to head back. He said he was on a high for days afterward and couldn’t stop thinking about other ways he could make “lending a hand” a permanent part of his life.

Giving back, helping others, and contributing to the greater good is one of the quickest and surest ways to feel happier, improve our sense of well-being, restore perspective and optimism, and build a sense of gratitude and abundance. It pulls us away from our own self-absorption.

My friend, Deb Berecz, wrote last week in her newsletter about Steve Hartman’s expose on CBS Sunday Morning on how Harvey had “pounded us with perspective.” He said, “Most Americans are heroes just waiting for their moment… and when Mother Nature is at its worst, human nature is at its best.”  https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/when-human-nature-surmounts-mother-nature/

But, we don’t have to wait for a natural disaster or national crisis. You will receive this on September 11th which of course marks one of our country’s most horrific moments and some of our most heroic as well. When Tom and I toured the 9-11 Museum earlier this year, it was filled with stories of people who became heroes by deciding to lend a hand. But you don’t have to climb up a burning building. My stepmother volunteers every year at the local senior center and helps seniors file their taxes. A friend’s grandson chops firewood on their property which he delivers to those that will need it this winter. Last week, in Milwaukee, a man in front of me at a coffee shop paid for a homeless person’s meal. Small things matter. They add up over time and make the giver feel as good as the receiver which of course just makes us want to do more and more.

This week, think about what you can do as an individual and discuss as a team how you can reach out, shift your focus from yourselves to others, and lend a hand to someone in need.


“Giving is an expression of gratitude for our blessings.”
~~Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen