Recently I was on a plane from Paraguay to Guatemala with Jeff Williams. Jeff is not only a tremendous business leader from Vancouver, Canada, he is a significant strategist and supporter of EQUIP, our non-profit leadership organization. He also attends several John Maxwell Company leadership experiences each year. More than all of that, Jeff has become a great friend and role model for me in generosity. He is very generous with his time, talents and finances. Knowing I was going to write this blog post on generosity, I asked him to give me some insights. Wow! Did he ever!

Choose Gratitude

The first thing Jeff said to me is, “Gratitude is not an attitude; it is a condition of the heart. You have to determine if you heart is under attack or if your heart is attacking.” My takeaway from Jeff’s opening sentence was a heart check. I want my heart to be attacking my passion and my pursuits of adding value to others. I want to be in active mode and looking for opportunities of generosity rather than responding when those opportunities come to me.

See Everything as a Gift

Jeff went on to tell me that he sees everything as a gift. During times of great personal or professional struggle, Jeff has discovered the gift of the struggle because of a heart of gratitude. He then said something to me that challenged me, “When you have gratitude, you don’t believe that anyone owes you anything.” It is so easy to see that in others, but as I reflected on his words, I realized how easily I get disappointed when others don’t meet my expectations. I realized if I can embrace the idea that “Everything is a gift,” it will significantly increase my appreciation for others and the things that I have.

Gratitude Checkup

I asked Jeff to challenge us with questions we could use to gauge our gratitude level. I felt that his heart for others and giving to so many causes gave him the credibility to challenge us. Here are his questions:

  1. Do you go into relationships seeking to give something, or to get something?
  2. Do you have enough, or will there ever be enough for you?
  3. Do your practice generosity or scarcity?
  4. Do you watch your clock or do you focus on the project or person?

Jeff shared one more quote with me during our plane ride that struck me, knowing the generosity that Jeff had already exhibited with his time and money for our South America trip to even be possible. He said, “I have always heard that you need to give until it hurts. I want to work hard so that it doesn’t hurt to give A LOT!”

I hope in this great month of November and during this week of Thanksgiving you make the heart decision of Gratitude, that you see everything as a gift and that you constantly assess yourself on your gratefulness.

Please share something that you are grateful for in the comments below!


  1. Gerald Coury on November 14, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you very much for your fine comments that got to my heart. I am an adjunct professor of ethics at Oklahoma Christian University and do ethics training for organizations. This month the training bulletin is on appreciation and focuses on gratitude. I appreciate your humility and investment in others to help better understand the value of a softened heart toward God and others. The part about going into a relationship to give and not get is right on and a constant struggle for me. Thank you for clarifying the importance of that. My wife says, “Move over so others can go first.” I’m still learning that one. Gerald Coury

  2. kent nhicksar on July 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    It’s a pretty tricky and out of the box question. I would like to suggest the question; “what if you don’t need the help and someone insists on helping?” I guess the best thing to do is to say no but gratefully. Gratitude does matter, and allowing others to help us can also be a channel for them to get blessed and it could be a chance for us to form strong bonds with them as well. But we all have boundaries and others ought to respect them as well. To some people we have narrower boundaries, to some we have wider boundaries. Which means to say, it depends on the kind of relationships that we are referring to, from here, we’ll know the better thing to do in such and such occasions.

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