We shy away from sharing or expanding into what we have to offer in the most obscure ways. We think that getting out of our comfort zone means doing something big, which is exactly what keeps us trapped and doing what we’ve always done.
Finishing up lunch with a client at a nice restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, I kept thinking about that beautiful basket of bread (that we didn’t even touch) going into the trash. While a business lunch is perhaps not the right environment to request a to-go box for the bread, I found myself imagining the delight of handing it off to a homeless person on my drive home.
Fortunately, my image of giving outweighed my concerns about perception and I asked them to package it. Excited to hand over this generous helping of deliciousness, I started my drive home.
Of course, as fate would have it, I didn’t see a single homeless person on my 20-minute drive home. Not one… dozens on the way there, and not one on the way home. Five minutes from home, I realized this bread was about to go into my trash—or maybe to the birds, but still. My vision of giving was squashed and no one was going to have a chance to enjoy it.
Just as I was thinking about where I could go to find someone in need, I passed under a bridge where three men were doing construction work and thought, “They might enjoy the bread.” Concerned about offending them, I immediately dismissed the idea and drove right past them.
My car decided not to dismiss the idea, though.
At the roundabout just ahead, my car (or God, if you prefer) took me all the way around the circle and back in the direction of the construction workers. Pulling over onto the shoulder, I said to myself, “Just give them the bread and go.”
“Umm… excuse me guys,” I got their attention, “I was just at a restaurant… where they put gobs of yummy bread on the table… they were just going to throw it away, even though no one touched it. Would you like it?”
“We would love it,” they said, taking the bread from my hands and immediately tearing into it.
“Just so you guys know, I talk a big game about doing stuff that makes you uncomfortable. I just did mine for today—thank you for helping me out!”
They laughed—I laughed, and then I drove home. That was it. And that is it. It’s the simple little steps we take in the direction of our goals and dreams that matter most. Sure, sometimes we have to ratchet up our courage to make significant progress, but it’s mostly tiny doses of discomfort that lead to greatness emerging.
Giving doesn’t have to be grandiose, and progress can be easily passed over when we get caught up in perfection.
Here’s to your greatness,