November 21, 1998


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Living the Power of One on this topic could be dangerous. Be careful, you might just help someone out and in the process find a little joy for yourself.

Spend some time working through the following action steps:

● Think of a face.
Can you think of someone you regularly cross paths with who could use some help, but could never repay you? What is one way you could help this person? List specific steps—then take action!

● Audit your schedule.
Can you find one hour in the week to donate to a cause in your community? Brown bag a lunch one day a week and donate your lunch hour to those in need. When and how could you serve an organization in your community?

● Clean your closet.
Can you think of five things sitting around your house or garage that you haven’t touched in six months that you could donate to meet a need? What are they? Who can you give them to and when can you do that?

● Adjust your budget.
Can you budget a certain percentage of your income solely for giving to others? Start somewhere and increase it half a percentage point every year. Use the money to meet needs as they arise in your context. What percent could you begin with today?

Time and money spent in helping men to do more for themselves is far better than mere giving.—Henry Ford

Anne Sullivan grew up in abject poverty. She and her brother were actually sent to a poorhouse to live, which is where her brother died. Anne suffered from an eye disease that made it very difficult to see. In fact, she was legally blind before one of many surgeries improved her sight.

When the poorhouse was shut down after a Massachusetts state investigation, Sullivan was accepted to the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. There she learned to flourish, and years later she was referred by the school to tutor a young girl named Helen Keller who was blind and deaf.

Sullivan moved from Boston to Alabama to live with the Kellers; the transition was rough. No one could communicate with Helen, who was out of control as a child. Anne simply worked with Helen patiently—long after others would have given up and left town in tears and disgust.

But finally that patience paid off and the light dawned on Helen Keller: the finger motions Anne Sullivan was making in Helen’s hand were a form of communication, not just random touching. A remarkable education and a strong relationship began.

Anne Sullivan was a giver, not a taker. She practiced the Power of One. She gave to others and never had the first notion that it could or would benefit her—and her time made all the difference in the life of Helen Heller and her family.

What kind of difference have you made recently? What kind of difference do you plan to make? Don’t just plan for it—do it!

All that this world knows of living lies in giving—and more giving; He that keeps, be sure he loses. Friendship grows by what it uses.—Alexander Maclaren

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