How Giving Set Me Free
January 1, 2011, I embarked on a journey that would change my life forever. I set out to give a gift every day for a month. A month turned into a year, and 500 days later I was still giving. People often ask me, “How did giving for over a year change your life?”
It’s such a loaded question. My answer could go on for days as there are so many ways my life transformed. Now, before I answer, I want to make it clear, I didn’t set out on the journey to get anything in return. I expected nothing, but the adage is true, “The more you give, the more you’ll receive.”
Depending on the day or the venue I might answer one of the following:
I became more organized.
It helped me save money.
I made new friends.
I learned about and became involved in wonderful organizations I never knew existed.
My relationships with friends and family improved.
My marriage strengthened.
I became more confident.
I am now more patient.
I started a company, Giving Gal, LLC.
I wrote a book and became an author.
I’m not the person I was on January 1, 2011. I no longer look like that gal. Every once in awhile I’ll see a glimpse of her, but I’ll snap myself back to the new and improved me.
My life isn’t always roses. There are battles I face daily, but now I face them differently. For example, I no longer have an interest in material things. Throughout my journey, I was set free to how insignificant material items are in the grand scheme of life. No piece of clothing, designer handbag, shoe, car, you fill in the blank, is going to make me happy. Now, I’m not saying I don’t buy stuff. Books and journals are still my weakness. In the old days, you could find me on weekends bouncing from Kohl’s, to Bed Bath and Beyond, to Pier One, to Target…you get my drift. And in each store I found something, “I HAD to have!”
Now I only shop when I need something, and even then I stop and ask myself, “Do I NEED that item?”
I’ll give you a great example how giving freed me from the materialist bondage of the world we live in. Several weeks ago I went to Target to pick up a few snacks for an upcoming vacation. As I walked in the door, I headed straight for the clothes, “just to look.”
I admired all the new bathing suits and cover-ups that were recently released. I had a conversation in my head to justify the purchase. I’d take an item off the hanger, hold it up, look at the price tag and tell myself, “It was only $19.99.”
But yet again, a little voice whispered, “Do you need it? You already have two cover-ups that are in perfect condition. You have more than enough bathing suits for a week vacation.”
I walked away. I didn’t spend a dime on clothing. I ventured backed to the snack aisle, picked up what I needed, checked out and left. That was a very freeing day.
Is spending money on things you don’t need or can’t afford holding you back from living your dream? If so, will you join me for a 40-Day Giving Challenge? I’m going to challenge you for 40-Days to give a gift, give something away you don’t need and to not purchase items you don’t need. Maybe, just maybe, at the end of the 40 days you’ll find the freedom I have found.
Stephanie is a speaker, certified life coach and author of bestselling book The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life.
In her book, she shares highlights from her 500- day giving journey.
Stephanie helps people live their dream, discover their gifts, and do amazing things.”
As a fearless change maker, she’s been a private investigator, police officer, and senior manager in a Fortune 100 company.
Stephanie has traveled to 46 states, attended Oprah’s Oscar show, and auditioned for her own TLC show in NYC.