I love Christmas because it’s a season for giving – so people tend to focus on others more at this time of year. Whether we’re shopping for gifts for loved ones, or looking for ways to give financially to people in need, many of us are seeking ways to add value to another person. This makes it a great season to practice intentionality, because intentional living is about having that mindset – of approaching each day with the goal of adding value to others to make a difference in their lives. And I believe intentional living is the best way to create a life of significance – at any time of the year.
In my book Intentional Living, I shared some specific ways to make sure you’re adding value to others every day. And I think they’ll be helpful to you as you go through your daily life. If you do so between now and Christmas, you can establish a habit that continues into the new year.
You can add value every day if you will…
You must begin with your perspective. A life of significance cannot be achieved if you think of other people as obstacles that must be overcome. This means valuing everyone – not just those close to us. How often do we look past others, without really getting to know them or appreciating them as individuals? Every person has value, and to make a difference this Christmas, we need to intentionally value others and express that value to them. It’s not optional if we desire to be significant.
Think of Ways to Add Value to People
People who live intentionally think on the front end about ways to add value. A quick look at your day’s calendar can give you ideas for adding value—you could bring donuts to a morning meeting, or decide to buy lunch for the friend you’re going to meet.
During a trip to Washington D.C., I challenged the two young children of one of my team members to think about how they could add value to people during the day. One of the kids decided he would open doors for people throughout the day. The other decided she would leave thank you notes for people to express her appreciation. Then, they went out and did it! At the end of the day, both children came back and shared with me how people positively responded to their intentional acts of kindness, all because they thought of ways to add value before launching into the day.
Look for Ways to Add Value to People
In addition to thinking ahead about ways to add value, people who live with intentionality are also on constant lookout for spontaneous ways to help others. They have an outward focus as they go through their lives, ready to do something that makes someone’s day. These actions don’t have to be big or expensive; small meaningful actions can make a big difference. The key is to open your eyes and be ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves.
Do Things That Add Value to People
As my mentor John Wooden often said, “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do—show me.” It’s great to think ahead and look around for ways to add value to others, but nothing beats actually doing something for another person. In public or in private, in small ways or large, taking action to add value to someone else is a wonderful expression of the Christmas spirit.
To keep myself accountable to this, at the end of each day, I ask myself one question: “Did I add value to people today?” That’s a great question to ask yourself – and intentional actions allow you to answer “Yes.”
Encourage Others to Add Value to People
Significance begins with you, but it’s meant to be shared. As you develop the daily habit of adding value to others, begin encouraging people close to you to do the same. You can begin a significance movement right in your own home or office or community. One that can last beyond the Christmas season and make a difference in 2016.
I believe so much in everyone’s potential to create a significance movement that I developed a resource called The 30 Day Journey. It offers specific, concrete daily actions that you can take to add value to the people in your life, for 30 days – long enough to make it a habit.
I hope you’ll use this season of giving to try to live intentionally and add value to other people every day. The needs are there; with the right focus, you’ll be able to see them – and take action to meet them in the lives of others.