In the middle ages, during their harvesting season, it was the custom of a small farming community, to leave an untouched band of crops in the corners of their fields. This was so that those less fortunate in their community might be able to come and take what they needed. The food was greatly appreciated by those in need, as it gave them the strength to sustain their life.
In our local communities there are many in need of kindness, generosity and consideration, and a few prominent principles encourage this:
1. The Appreciation Spectacles Principle: A business woman was brought to tears recently when a stranger sincerely complimented her on her efforts to help others. Unbeknownst to the stranger, the woman had been working tirelessly on an endeavour and was worn out by the onerous, thankless burden of her labour. All it took was some kind words by a stranger to unconsciously recognise her efforts, which then encouraged her to continue her community endeavours. She has since won a multi-million dollar Government grant for her project.
Similarly, to impact those around us in the workplace or community, we can daily put on some ‘appreciation spectacles’ and deliberately look for those who need encouragement for their effort. For the most effective result this needs to be done selflessly, sincerely and enthusiastically. It is usually done intuitively, that is, we need to discern who specifically require encouragement, what actions need to be complimented and communication of why you appreciate their efforts/work.
2. The Volunteer Principle: A local non-profit community organisation always needed volunteers to assist in the running of their facility. After inquiring about the constant turnover of workers, it was revealed that when a good-hearted person would volunteer for the organisation, it wasn’t long before they would find a paying job. Desiring to contribute to their community as a volunteer seemed to effectively prepare the individual for the workforce.
By volunteering, you will add value to your community through an organisation, contribute your gifts and talents, improve your time management abilities and pick up skills which can enhance your prospects of acquiring full-time, part-time or casual paid work.
3. The Forgiveness Principle: A colleague of a businessman phoned up in tears one morning describing how his business debts had forced the Sheriff to threaten him with repossession of his van; the only vehicle he had for work and transport for his wife and four children. After asking some probing questions, the businessman generously paid the fee ($3,730.00) for his colleague, paying off his whole debt. As was their casual agreement, the businessman requested payment of the debt after six months.
However, his colleague refused to repay the loan and subsequently declared himself bankrupt. Unfortunately for the businessman, sales of his own services had recently been quite slow and he is now living way below the poverty line. His debts are also increasing and the repayment of the loan from his colleague is definitely not possible; so what are his options?
He was convicted to choose the principle of forgiveness, as this is the only way he is able to have daily peace in his soul and enable him to continue to work creatively in his business.
4. The Pot Roast Principle: A committee erroneously saw an approach by a businessman as a threat to their organisation. Instead of seeing the new business as being complementary to their community event, they banned his involvement. They could have generously allowed him to contribute to their common clients, however they chose to selfishly banish him from having any participation.
The ‘pot roast’ principle involves everyone bringing something different to share in a huge meal. This way you can experience a number of different entrées, main meals, deserts and beverages.
Having a narrow-minded attitude, like the organisation above, implies they didn’t have a ‘pot roast’ mentality, and will consequently end up eating alone!
5. The Empathy Principle: There are times when you hear about the specific needs of others. The first step is to empathically place yourself in their situation and try to assess how you’d feel. The second is to work out if you’re able to graciously meet their need, by yourself, or with the help of others.
For example, for those who are on limited or restricted incomes, how would it feel not being able to: join your friends for coffee because you can’t afford it; go out socially with your colleagues because it would impact on the weekly food budget; or take an annual holiday because it was far too expensive?
As a result of applying the ‘empathy principle’, a basic contribution can equate to buying a friend a cup of coffee, a moderate outlay would be to host a social occasion in your home instead of dining in an expensive restaurant, or a major expense could be to raise funds, with your friends, to send a mutual colleague on a long weekend sojourn.
All of these examples above relate to those who, for personal or external reasons, find themselves in difficult circumstances in our community.
In a recent TV advertisement encouraging CEO’s to raise funds for the homeless, by joining an annual winter outdoors sleep-out, a CEO commented, “All it would take was for each of us to make two bad financial decisions with our companies and we could find ourselves on the street every night, not just for one night!”
No matter whether you’re self-employed, full-time, part-time, casual or unemployed, acts of kindness, generosity and encouragement within our communities promote opportunities for citizens to fulfill their potential and, sometimes, just to survive.
So, modern day farmers, will you harvest the whole field or leave some for those in need?
Pleasant Dreams (and happy farming),
Brian Horan is a Careers Counsellor/Coach, a published author and international speaker. He is also the Managing Director at eCareers Academy, a Career Counselling service. You can find out more about his services by visiting the website www.eCareersAcademy.com , giving him a call on 1300 396 929 or sending an email, info@eCareersAcademy.com
© Brian Horan at eCareers Academy; April, 2015