Be Generous

I am often asked where the topics for these Monday Musings come from. They are simply me writing about what I am thinking about. Of course, I don’t write about everything I think about as that would be weird and take up all my time, but I do find certain concepts and topics occupy me more deeply, so I write about those.

Sometimes the world seems to be sending me a message. I don’t believe in luck or coincidence, so when a subject is brought forward several times in different contexts and by different people, I pay attention.

I read a book last week that was given to me by a man I have only met once. We were introduced by a mutual friend who thought we should know each other. The book is called “The Go-Giver” and I recommend you read it. It is written as a parable, about a man named Joe who desires to be successful. Along his journey he finds that generosity is one of the main ingredients to success.

Joe learns that a giving spirit is not one of self-sacrifice, codependence, or martyrdom. Putting others’ interests before my own doesn’t mean negating my own needs and interests. It means trusting that when I focus on others, my needs will be taken care of too.

Then I attended the Annual Kimray Distributors Meeting. I watched as our OKC team served our guests and made sure that the surroundings, the food, the coffee, and the schedule were conducive to the time being productive. I watched as our remote location teams and our independent partners shared their knowledge and understanding of the market today and their insight into the market in the future.

Every single person involved in those meetings, from the independent distributors to our own facilities staff, gave of themselves and placed others’ interests above their own. The result was a really great meeting and a really fun event. We enjoyed each other’s company. Yes, we worked too, but it didn’t feel so much like work, it felt like living.

Saturday, I attended the 70th Birthday Party for Kimray along with what felt like most of our Kimray family. It rained. After so much planning and work and all that went into setting up and getting ready, it rained. And it didn’t seem to matter at all. Kids played on the rides and games and in the puddles. Parents used umbrellas and trees and the building overhangs to stay less wet while they watched their kids and talked. People crowded into the tent and ate plates of bar-b-que. The band played, the chili got tasted, the cars got shown, and every single person I talked to was having fun.

Everyone I talked to was also grateful and they said so. I can’t count how many times someone said, “Thank you.” I talked to someone who had only been at Kimray for 2 weeks and was really excited that he got to come. People told me how much they appreciated being able to work at a place like Kimray. People thanked me for Kimray throwing such an awesome party. Gratefulness was everywhere I turned.

I think people having fun on Saturday in the rain and their gratefulness are connected. Grateful people are joyful people. Grateful people don’t fixate on their own expectations, but instead find things to be happy about. Grateful people are just more fun.

Finally, Sunday morning the message at the church I attend was “Be Generous.” Our pastor told the story out of 1 Kings 17 about a widow who fed Elijah when all she had was a “handful of flour left in a jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of a jug.” While she was generous with what she had, she never ran out. There was always flour in the jar and oil in the jug. One of the points was that generosity is about the condition of our heart, our attitude, and the decisions we make—not the size or value of our gift.

Generosity and gratefulness are very closely linked. They both stem from a heart that perceives the world as abundant and people as valuable. Grateful people are often generous. Generous people are usually grateful. However, another significant thing about grateful people is that they know how to receive. Generosity can’t exist if there is no one to receive. We have to practice receiving graciously as well as giving generously. We like to quote the proverb about it being better to give than to receive, but we really need to do both well. Grateful and generous people are typically happier and more fulfilled. You could say that they are more successful.

That is the kind of success we want at Kimray. That is the kind of success I want personally. I want my life to be measured not by what I have, but by what I give. I want to be known for being grateful for all I am blessed with, not expecting or demanding more. I want to experience joy and contentment, not be consumed by resentment and jealousy.

I want Kimray to be a place that celebrates generosity and displays gratefulness in everything we do. “What” we give is immaterial; “how” we give is substantial. I appreciate that I am surrounded by people every day who give of their time, talents, and even their treasure routinely and with open and joyful hearts. I am surrounded every day by truly successful people. Of course I am, because that’s the Kimray Way.