I was planning on going to Tanzania for a couple of weeks to help the local community in Ipalamwa. Whether I would be assisting in classes, educating families on food and nutrition, teaching English, or building gardening boxes and chicken coops, it didn't matter, I was just excited for the opportunity to help. However, not enough people signed up for my registered dates, so the trip was canceled. Don't worry, it’s not completely off the books for me. The plan is to go later this year. It just wasn't meant to happen right now. So for now, as I'm actively taking steps to create more purpose in my life, I took advantage of the opportunity to volunteer to dance with special needs kids and adults. On the second Friday of each month, I am dancing the night away with some of the purest, most joyous people on earth. The goal is to help them come out of their shell, have fun, make friends, and develop socially, so they can become independent and contributing members of the community. It's funny how giving just a small part of yourself can make such an impact for someone else. I also just signed up to begin reading to elementary school children. The goal is to connect with kids, help improve their knowledge, their grades, and their well-being. I learned of both of these opportunities through a volunteer organization called LA Works.
Whatever it is, whatever your purpose, when you take action, when you schedule your time for that, when your focus is there, that's what your life becomes. That bigger goal is what's important. And when you focus on the bigger purpose, everything else becomes easy. Focusing more on helping others and letting that grow and be something has opened so many possibilities including the creation of a new app I am working on. The goal of the app is to help people connect and remind them to do good things every day. Whether it's holding a door open for somebody, sitting and listening to someone who is having a bad day, or giving a high five because they did something well, just three small things a day can create a ripple effect, taking that good energy into whatever is next for you and others. I want the app to help take that energy out into the world. That's really what it's about - doing good, giving back, and paying it forward.
I first got the idea for the app after moving to LA. Parking is terrible there. I was staying at a hotel until my new place was ready, and the only option to park my car was to use their valet services. When it was time to give the attendant a tip, I only had a twenty-dollar bill, so I gave it to him." After realizing he was holding a twenty, the valet driver tapped on my car window.
"Excuse me, excuse me,” he said, “you gave me a twenty."
“I know, thank you.” I said.
"Can I run and get you a Starbucks? Can I do anything for you?” he asked.
"No, I'm okay. That's for you. Thank you." I said again and drove off. This became a thing. I tipped the drivers twenty bucks every time I parked at the hotel. It felt so good to help and see their faces light up.
One day, I posted this story on LinkedIn. An OTA instructor, Brandon Wendell posted a comment. “I think this is something that we miss. That it's all of these great little things that we do every day." Brandon was absolutely right. I think where people trip themselves up is thinking that they have to do something huge, so they end up doing nothing at all. It's really the tiny little things that we do every day that have the greatest impact. Especially now with the technology that we have; the influence we can have as a whole globally is enormous. Look at social media, and the ability to impact and touch so many people.
This experience not only became the beginning of a new app, it is me actively taking steps to my greater purpose to connect people and spread love. A lot of us get stuck when we forget the bigger purpose. That's where my focus is right now; my bigger purpose. I'm just going to keep putting myself out there in this way and see what happens. This is going to be an amazing year.