The holiday season begins and people are out getting gifts for others. Many times it seems people are just buying because it’s the thing to do rather than doing it because they really want to share something meaningful.
I like getting gifts as much as anybody but I find myself wanting less and less stuff and more and more meaning. Have you ever thought about this as you are purchasing those gifts? Have you thought about the meaning you are trying to share? Is it just stuff or is it a tangible memory of a message you want to share?
I have a 15-year-old golf bag that is heavy by today’s standards and my friends often ask why I don’t get a lighter one. I tell them that I can’t because it is the best Father’s Day gift I ever got. My wife and kids surprised me with it and I just can’t let it go. It is a symbol of my family’s love and care. How many holiday gifts do you get that have meaning like that? How many things are just things and how many are things you can’t let go because of their meaning? Think about what you are buying and giving. Do your gifts have meaning behind them or are they just obligations?
Now think about your work. All of our work is ultimately in service of others; this is just a fact of business. We are all in business to help others achieve something. Do you do what you do because you have to or because you want to? The difference here makes a big difference for the giver and receiver as my gift giving analogy proves.
How about your employees? Is the service they provide because they have to, because they’ll get in trouble if they don’t do it right, or is it great because they do it out of a genuine desire to help?
Authentic giving isn’t just a personal thing for the holidays; it can make your business stand out; especially in a holiday season where moving customers in and out like a cattle call is the norm. What can you do today to inspire your employees to genuinely care for customers? How can they make the holidays less of a hassle and more of a celebration of what’s good?
Furthermore, how can you do the same personally for friends and family? How can you give the gift of genuine meaning rather than obligatory objects?
The holidays can be stressful but they aren’t meant to be. They are meant to be a celebration of the best in all of us. Take some time to make that happen. Take some time to be authentic and give meaning rather than things.