As part of my Attitude Matters presentation I stress being of service and how each of us should consider ourselves in the service industry no matter what our job title. It is easy to be of service to others from November through December, when the media and local causes focus on helping others, but I challenged a recent audience of college students to come up with ideas that make a difference to others year round. After giving them a few suggestions, I asked for their ideas of what can be done, no matter what our income level, to be of service to others each day.
Their response was amazing and included:
-Smile at someone today, it costs nothing but makes a big difference.
-Give anonymous gifts throughout the year that help others as you see need.
-Have a positive attitude when dealing with others improves their day too.
-Donate clothing and items throughout the year to shelters/clothes closets.
-Participate in service projects through organizations they belong to.
-Give of your time not just money; everyone has time even if they are broke.
-Send someone an encouraging note or thank you card.
I was impressed with their answers for two reasons; they understood that the little things we do each day can make a big difference and that income level has nothing to do with the difference you can make in another person’s life.
I have expanded on their train of thought with my ‘Little Things Mean aLot” list. Look through this list and pick several to incorporate into your daily life and watch the world change.
Little Things Mean a Lot
1. Smile at everyone you meet today.
2. Send someone an encouraging note or thank you card each week.
3. Ask someone how they are and wait to listen without interrupting or telling your woes.
4. Open a door for someone who needs help.
5. Let the person with fewer items get in front of you in the checkout line.
6. When you take a coffee break, offer to fill up someone else’s cup.
7. On your daily walk or run, move someone’s morning paper from the street to the front door.
8. When you buy groceries or supplies, buy at least one item extra each time and donate to someone or a cause such as homeless or women’s shelters, local food pantry, etc.
9. Find out what your local schools are in need of and donate something each month. This could be as simple as boxes of Kleenex, paper, pencils or office equipment when you upgrade.
10. Contact a local nursing home and see if your talents or time could be of use.
11. Save your change for a month and donate to a local cause of your choice.
12. Make it a point to ask a family member or colleague, “What can I do to help you?” It might throw them off at first but they will be pleased!
13. Clean out a closet, a storage box, your basement or attic and find places to donate items you no longer need.
14. When you are out for a walk or just walking across a parking lot, pick up trash you see along the way and dispose of it. I carry extra plastic bags in my car just in case there is no waste container in sight.
15. Call someone you haven’t talked to for a long time and listen more than you talk.
This is only a beginning. How can you help? Send your ideas of “Little Things” to email@example.com and I’ll create a master list to share. Maybe it’s not that we don’t have the time or money, maybe it’s that we just don’t an idea of what to do.