I grew up a Shriner's kid.
My Dad was in the Shrine club for as long as I can remember.
There are so many memories I have of the Shrine Club. Going to conventions, everyone wearing those little red "fez" hats, learning to pull the greatest pranks and get away with it, and riding along with my Dad in multiple parades.
While all of that was fun, they are not why Shriners exist. Their passion is their cause: Providing specialized medical care to children, specifically burn victims. Beyond that they were always looking for people in need to serve.
What I remember most about being a Shriner's kid is learning how to live for a cause larger than myself.
This was most evident during the holidays. It seemed like every Christmas Eve I would find myself combing our small town with Dad and others looking for last minute gifts for less fortunate families. Before we celebrated the holiday with our own gifts, we scoured stores to ensure others had Christmas first. I am a product of the generosity this created in my heart.
The holidays are approaching. More than any other time of the year, people feel generous. I want you to leverage that feeling around a worthy cause.
I am challenging you to rally your team around a cause this Christmas that is outside your organization and help someone who can never help you in return.
Imagine the impact on your team if they have a passionate cause to adopt this holiday season. Investing in the lives of other people always leaves us changed as well. Who cares if you lead a non-profit, for-profit, ministry or otherwise, find a cause this season and adopt it.
Have your team purchase gifts providing Christmas for a family in need, spend time at a nursing home connecting with those society has forgotten about, deliver lunch to another office in town who's business you know is struggling, or raise money to give anonymously to someone recently unemployed.
I don't care what you do, just do something.
People's lives come alive when they have a cause to embrace. Allow your team to experience that.
As you make your plans, here are a few causes that are off the radar of most but could be rallying points for your team.
There are people who feel excluded by society. How can you serve them? These people groups look different depending upon your community, but they are there. One lady in our church started making snack packs for a growing homeless population downtown. Today she leads a small group of sixth grade girls who deliver these on a regular basis.
Those in pain.
Holidays amplify pain. Loneliness feels darker at Christmas. Those without hope slip into despair. Who do you know who has lost a loved one this year? Invite them to Christmas with your family. Are there widows in your circle of influence? Engage in someone's pain. Serve these people.
Parents of sick children.
My church has delivered gifts to families at a local children's hospital each Christmas for years. What if your entire staff took a half day to walk the halls of a wing in a hospital to simply talk to parents? The only people they speak with all day are physicians or their sick child. They balance bad news with a hurting baby, all the while masking their own broken heart. Organize gift cards to be delivered to these parents so they can enjoy a night away from the weight of that hospital room.
There are so many ways to serve others this season. Decide on one. Take action.
You may lose some hours of work time in your office if you do this. Perhaps you will forgo your annual Christmas party to invest in other people's lives. You may lose some production from your employees, you may miss out on some memories from the party, but you will gain a team of people who's hearts have been enlarged by practicing generosity.
Find a worthy cause and serve it in a worthy manner.
This Christmas, lead from your heart.
Keep Leading Bravely.