Tag Archives: charity

Frey Freyday – Giving

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. Thomas S. Monson

For it is in giving that we receive. Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Francis of Assisi

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu

I’m going to give away a lot more than half my money. I’d be happy to give that to the government if the government put together programs that were like I’m giving away to charity, in which I believe the money is effectively used to help people. Ray Dalio

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. Bob Hope

No one has ever become poor by giving. Anne Frank

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Giving – giving to others obviously helps the recipients but it also helps us connect to others, it helps us focus on others rather than ourselves, and actually it helps us ‘feel’ better.

We can give of our time, volunteering, write a check, donate food, donate clothing, donate old furniture, donate our skills and expertise. All good things. We can give to our community, our friends, clients, strangers. We can give a kind word, a smile, a precious gift, something sentimental, whatever.

I read an article once “Why Giving Makes Us So Happy” that stated: “Giving is not just a verb. At its essence, it is also a noun. More than something we do, giving is who we are in each moment of our lives, exemplified by the choices we make — sharing a laugh with a neighbor; paying a compliment to the checkout person at the grocery store; passing a warm greeting to someone on the sidewalk; attending carefully to the story our child is telling us rather than chatting on the telephone; relinquishing the need in discussions with our spouse to always be right. These are the behaviors of giving that generate inner happiness.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-rockwell-psyd/how-giving-is-the-root-to_b_4484075.html

Sometimes during this time of year, society might nudge us towards the commercialization of the holidays, the sales, the buying, what gifts that we want and that we’re giving. I feel it is important to remind myself that it is supposed to be about giving and charity and similar things. It is especially during this time of year that people donate to charities – often due to the season, sometimes just because it is year-end.

Some people donate to the same charity each year, that’s fine. There are so many great charities out there, I don’t think that you can go wrong donating to any one, and it is good to keep an open mind.

If you’re going to give to a charity, don’t you want to make sure that they are well-rated and that they use your money wisely? Check out Charity Navigator (who are they? Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator.)

If you’re looking for a charity or more to donate to, consider these….The exceptional charities on this list execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way while adhering to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities. Each has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and its Accountability & Transparency. Those two scores then translate into a perfect 100 point overall score. Less than one percent of the thousands of charities rated by Charity Navigator have earned perfect scores.

Here are selected, very high rated charities, I tried to pick one from each category:

https://www.directrelief.org/ Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay. Direct Relief’s assistance programs – which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease – are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Direct Relief honors the generosity of its donors by following a firm policy of full transparency in all of its operations.

http://www.seo-usa.org/ SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college-with a 95% college graduation rate; SEO Career is the nation’s premier summer internship and training program for underrepresented college students, specializing in banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, and non-profit; SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector.

http://www.kidsalive.org/ Kids Alive International is a Christian faith mission dedicated to rescuing orphans and vulnerable children – meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, and emotional needs – raising them to be contributing members of their society and witnesses to their family and community. Founded in 1916, Kids Alive International began providing homes for homeless children. Since that time, Kids Alive has expanded to include not only children’s homes but also care centers and schools. These programs provide orphans and abandoned children with an education, clothing, food, medical care (in some cases), and most importantly, the love of Christ.

http://www.lcanimal.org/ Founded in 1984, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional usage of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA’s work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and LCA is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.

https://curealz.org/ Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was established to fund targeted research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease through venture based philanthropy. All organizational expenses are paid for by the Founders and Board, allowing all other contributions to be applied directly to Alzheimer’s Disease research. Our foundational research is focused on identifying all the genes and gene mutations that are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. We can then use this genetic information to reliably predict, early in life, those at greatest risk for the disease (with legal safeguards and genetic and psychological counseling). Our foundational research projects include: Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Alzheimer’s Genome Map, Alzheimer’s Brain-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Clinical-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Gene Database, MicroRNA’s and APP, and Alzheimer’s Gene Discovery Project.

http://www.fisherhouse.org/ Fisher House Foundation, Inc. is an international not-for-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for members of the military, retirees, Veterans and their families. The Foundation builds comfort homes at military and VA medical centers and gifts them to the government. It assists with the coordination of private support and encourages public support for the network of comfort homes known as “Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Houses.” It works to educate and inform the military and Veterans’ communities, their families and the general public about Fisher Houses and provides necessary support to individual Fisher Houses as needed. Other quality of life programs include scholarship programs, a grants program for volunteer organizations with innovative plans for quality of life projects, the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs and individual assistance to members of the military and their families during a crisis.

https://www.eji.org/ The Equal Justice Initiative is a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. We litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.

https://wildearthallies.org/ Wild Earth Allies, Inc. (formerly known as Fauna & Flora International, Inc.) joins forces with local organizations and individuals to protect the wildlife and habitats that are so critical to our global biodiversity and sustainability. Our mission is to protect vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and people by inspiring collaborative action. Our organization is built on important values-optimism, cultural respect, shared learning, and integrity.

The following did not get a 100% but did receive a strong 92.25%-94.13% and I personally recommend it:

https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment at no charge – regardless of financial need.

http://www.feedingamerica.org/ Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger.

https://uwswpa.org/ United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania leads and mobilizes the caring power of individuals, the business community and organizations to help local people in need measurably improve their lives. United Way creates long-lasting change for the betterment of our community. United Way focuses on solving the pressing issues you care about by bringing together the entire community — policymakers, corporate leaders, excellent agency partners, and people like you who want to help – to assist our neighbors in need and develop long-term solutions. No other single local non-profit can mobilize all of these partners and bring them together to achieve results. Together we have the opportunity to transform the lives of so many people throughout Pennsylvania and accomplish long- lasting impact.

Honorable mention:

(I’m in lending and finance, right? So why not help others through lending and finance?)

https://www.grameenfoundation.org/ Grameen Foundation (GF) USA supports technology and microfinance, commonly known as banking for the poor. Microfinance provides small loans, savings, and other financial services so poor people can launch businesses. As an entrepreneur’s business grows, so does her self-esteem, her family’s well-being, and jobs in her community. GF was founded in 1997 by individuals inspired by Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Our mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. GF’s work has helped families across Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

And

https://www.fredrogers.org/ Family Communications was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, the company not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. Now, we honor Fred by carrying on his work under our new name – The Fred Rogers Company. We’re proud to be building on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

Frey Freyday – Charity / Giving

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

char·i·ty-[ˈCHerədē]-NOUN-the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Francis of Assisi –

I’m going to give away a lot more than half my money. I’d be happy to give that to the government if the government put together programs that were like I’m giving away to charity, in which I believe the money is effectively used to help people. Ray Dalio –

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. Bob Hope –

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu –

WORD TO LIVE BY:

CHARITY/Giving – giving to others obviously helps the recipients but it also helps us connect to others, it helps us focus on others rather than ourselves, and actually it helps us ‘feel’ better.

I read an article once “Why Giving Makes Us So Happy” that stated: “Giving is not just a verb. At its essence, it is also a noun. More than something we do, giving is who we are in each moment of our lives, exemplified by the choices we make — sharing a laugh with a neighbor; paying a compliment to the checkout person at the grocery store; passing a warm greeting to someone on the sidewalk; attending carefully to the story our child is telling us rather than chatting on the telephone; relinquishing the need in discussions with our spouse to always be right. These are the behaviors of giving that generate inner happiness.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-rockwell-psyd/how-giving-is-the-root-to_b_4484075.html

Sometimes during this time of year, society might nudge us towards the commercialization of the holidays, the sales, the buying, what gifts that we want and that we’re giving. I feel it is important to remind myself that it is supposed to be about giving and charity and similar things. It is especially during this time of year that people donate to charities – often due to the season, sometimes just because it is year-end.

Some people donate to the same charity each year, that’s fine. There are so many great charities out there, I don’t think that you can go wrong donating to any one, and it is good to keep an open mind.

If you’re going to give to a charity, don’t you want to make sure that they are well-rated and that they use your money wisely? Check out Charity Navigator (who are they? Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator.)

If you’re looking for a charity or more to donate to, consider these….The exceptional charities on this list execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way while adhering to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities. Each has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and its Accountability & Transparency. Those two scores then translate into a perfect 100 point overall score. Less than one percent of the thousands of charities rated by Charity Navigator have earned perfect scores.

Here are selected, very high rated charities, I tried to pick one from each category:

https://www.directrelief.org/ Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay. Direct Relief’s assistance programs – which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease – are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Direct Relief honors the generosity of its donors by following a firm policy of full transparency in all of its operations.

http://www.seo-usa.org/ SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college-with a 95% college graduation rate; SEO Career is the nation’s premier summer internship and training program for underrepresented college students, specializing in banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, and non-profit; SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector.

http://www.kidsalive.org/ Kids Alive International is a Christian faith mission dedicated to rescuing orphans and vulnerable children – meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, and emotional needs – raising them to be contributing members of their society and witnesses to their family and community. Founded in 1916, Kids Alive International began providing homes for homeless children. Since that time, Kids Alive has expanded to include not only children’s homes but also care centers and schools. These programs provide orphans and abandoned children with an education, clothing, food, medical care (in some cases), and most importantly, the love of Christ.

http://www.lcanimal.org/ Founded in 1984, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional usage of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA’s work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and LCA is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.

https://curealz.org/ Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was established to fund targeted research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease through venture based philanthropy. All organizational expenses are paid for by the Founders and Board, allowing all other contributions to be applied directly to Alzheimer’s Disease research. Our foundational research is focused on identifying all the genes and gene mutations that are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. We can then use this genetic information to reliably predict, early in life, those at greatest risk for the disease (with legal safeguards and genetic and psychological counseling). Our foundational research projects include: Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Alzheimer’s Genome Map, Alzheimer’s Brain-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Clinical-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Gene Database, MicroRNA’s and APP, and Alzheimer’s Gene Discovery Project.

http://www.fisherhouse.org/ Fisher House Foundation, Inc. is an international not-for-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for members of the military, retirees, Veterans and their families. The Foundation builds comfort homes at military and VA medical centers and gifts them to the government. It assists with the coordination of private support and encourages public support for the network of comfort homes known as “Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Houses.” It works to educate and inform the military and Veterans’ communities, their families and the general public about Fisher Houses and provides necessary support to individual Fisher Houses as needed. Other quality of life programs include scholarship programs, a grants program for volunteer organizations with innovative plans for quality of life projects, the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs and individual assistance to members of the military and their families during a crisis.

https://www.eji.org/ The Equal Justice Initiative is a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. We litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.

https://wildearthallies.org/ Wild Earth Allies, Inc. (formerly known as Fauna & Flora International, Inc.) joins forces with local organizations and individuals to protect the wildlife and habitats that are so critical to our global biodiversity and sustainability. Our mission is to protect vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and people by inspiring collaborative action. Our organization is built on important values-optimism, cultural respect, shared learning, and integrity.

The following did not get a 100% but did receive a strong 92.25%-94.13% and I personally recommend it:

https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment at no charge – regardless of financial need.

http://www.feedingamerica.org/ Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger.

https://uwswpa.org/ United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania leads and mobilizes the caring power of individuals, the business community and organizations to help local people in need measurably improve their lives. United Way creates long-lasting change for the betterment of our community. United Way focuses on solving the pressing issues you care about by bringing together the entire community — policymakers, corporate leaders, excellent agency partners, and people like you who want to help – to assist our neighbors in need and develop long-term solutions. No other single local non-profit can mobilize all of these partners and bring them together to achieve results. Together we have the opportunity to transform the lives of so many people throughout Pennsylvania and accomplish long- lasting impact.

Honorable mention:

(I’m in lending and finance, right? So why not help others through lending and finance?)

https://www.grameenfoundation.org/ Grameen Foundation (GF) USA supports technology and microfinance, commonly known as banking for the poor. Microfinance provides small loans, savings, and other financial services so poor people can launch businesses. As an entrepreneur’s business grows, so does her self-esteem, her family’s well-being, and jobs in her community. GF was founded in 1997 by individuals inspired by Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Our mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. GF’s work has helped families across Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

And

https://www.fredrogers.org/ Family Communications was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, the company not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. Now, we honor Fred by carrying on his work under our new name – The Fred Rogers Company. We’re proud to be building on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

Do This to Get Everything You Want in Life

read this recently and felt it worthy enough to pass along.
Enjoy and Happy New Year.
—–
You’ve worked hard, studied long hours, and taken the high road while watching so many others take the easy way out. But trust me, you’ve made the right choice, even though it might seem there is a missing ingredient holding you back from the success you desire – and deserve. Today, you’ll discover exactly how to achieve it, and you just might be surprised when you find out how to get it. It all starts with one simple solution.

Craig Ballantyne

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge
Do This to Get Everything You Want in Life

By Craig Ballantyne

After listening to the silky smooth Rat Pack Christmas Album over and over for three days, it was finally time for my favorite day of the year. No, not December 25th, but the Night Before Christmas because of the anticipation and magic it brings.

I love that there are so many creatures stirring, hurriedly finishing their shopping in time to place them under the tree with care. I love the thrill of expectation hanging in the air. I love that hope springs eternal in kids from one to ninety-two, tiny tots and old men alike with their eyes all aglow, finding it hard to sleep at night. I suppose if Christmas came more than once per year that feeling would be diminished, but oh how I wish I could bottle it and pour some on the world on a hot muggy August day when sitting in a traffic jam.

This past Christmas Eve did not disappoint me. Our family sat down to a wonderful dinner with all the fixings. We then settled in for Christmas snacking, holiday movies, and to finish wrapping gifts or making phone calls to friends and family far away.

Having grown older, Christmas morning is now anti-climatic. Gone are the days of waking up before dawn to sneak down to the Christmas tree and wait…and wait…and wait until Mom and Dad got up. Nowadays we don’t check the tree until mid- or late-morning, almost as an afterthought of, “Oh yeah, we better exchange gifts before we start eating again”.

But there was something special about this Christmas. After reflecting upon the big day, I think I’ve finally figured out why.

It all starts with 2013 being my Big Year of Giving.

This was the year that I worked harder than ever in my businesses to create memorable, shareable products and free content. I spent more hours in front of the camera filming and brought more energy to every video. I studied speaker after speaker, from business professionals to stand-up comedians, to see how they entertained and informed their audiences. As a result, our products sold better, and we reached many more readers. Giving more brought us more.

Likewise, I held nothing back and revealed even more deeply personal lessons from my life in our daily essays at EarlyToRise.com. I spent more time improving my coaching program, and I went all out in creating our greatest event ever at last June’s Turbulence Training Summit. I even flew out my family to be in the audience (and just wait till you see what we have planned for next year). By giving more, we received more. My seminars were rated higher, audience engagement went up, and we expect to double the number of attendees again this year.

The spirit of giving continued this Christmas.

I spent more time than ever shopping for my friends and family this year. I sent out over 65 handwritten Christmas cards, this in addition to the over one hundred hand-written thank you cards I had sent to friends, family, and work colleagues since beginning my daily Thank You Therapy habit in early summer (read about that habit here). In 2013 I simply gave more than ever and a big smile crosses my face with each card dropped in the mailbox.

It is because of this giving that I received so much in 2013, from the volume of life-changing entries in our Transformation Contests to the number of presents under the tree this year with my name on it, and even to the amount of money we raised for our Early To Rise Toys for Tots drive this December. I apologize if this sounds selfish, but I received so much this year because when you give, give, and give, the Universe can’t help but respond by giving back to you in return.

“Oh here we go,” you might be thinking. “Craig is going all ‘woo-woo’ on us. Just stick to the business advice, buddy,” you say.

It might sound hokey, but I urge you to try it. Make 2014 your Year of Giving.

The most successful people I know are the most generous. From my business partners, Matt Smith and Bedros Keuilian, to my friends Joel Marion and Porter Stansberry, they are true givers. They give more than they get, with no expectation of getting anything in return. It’s no surprise to me that these four gentlemen all run the fastest-growing and most profitable businesses that I know.

Giving is the focus of TED speaker and NY Times best-seller author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant. The youngest-ever tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business, Grant writes, “If you decide to shift in the giver direction, my favorite strategy is what one of America’s top networkers calls the five-minute favor. The key is to look for ways to help others…It might be making an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other, sharing an interesting article, or offering to provide advice or feedback. If you choose a form of helping that you find enjoyable and meaningful, it might even boost your mood and energy.”

Every one of us has something more that we can give. It might be money or time. Or it might be that you might have more love, more energy, more wisdom, or more experience that you can share with the world. You might be the person who simply knows the right thing to say at the right time. Maybe you’re the person that can shoulder the load when everyone else is collapsing around you.

Whatever it is that you are blessed with, give it away this year. Give until you think that you can’t give any more. It will all come back to you, and more, many fold.

“If you want to be given everything, give everything up,” instructs the Ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching.

But do not give with a greedy mindset. Do not give thinking only about what is in it for you. Don’t just give to get or take. Don’t do it for the material rewards. Don’t do it for how great you will feel during and after. Give because it is good. Give because you can.

Trying to ‘out-give the Universe’ in 2013 allowed me to have my greatest year ever in both my personal and professional life. I dropped my guard a little, gave more of myself, and it’s resulted in deeper friendships, better – and exponentially less stressful – family relationships. Just imagine what this approach can do for you.

2014 will be your best year ever if you make it a Year of Giving. You can be a coach or a mentor, you can become a better influencer and speaker, you can help more people make big changes in their lives, and it all starts with giving more of yourself.

If we were all a little more generous in 2014, the world will, of course, be a better place. And if you make it your goal to be a lot more generous, I can assure you that your world will change for the better, and that this year you will receive more than ever. That’s the way it works, my friend, so give your gifts today.

Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on

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