This blog is going to sound self-serving and I want to begin by stating, today that is not my intention, never is. I am a professional speaker who has always had a goal to better society, not brag about how amazing I am. Today, I am basking in a human glow. My wife and business partner, Darlene spent a wet and wonderful weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia and even though we did get to have a romantic Valentine’s Day meal at one of our favourite restaurants on the planet, Carderos, the glow I am referring to is much deeper in its source. Specifically, I was honoured to be one of the many hosts of a telethon known as the Variety Show of Hearts. This year was the 50th Anniversary of the program that in the first year, 1966, raised $60,000. This year was just over $6,800,000 and was a million dollars more than last year. “Variety” is short for “Variety Club” and is a service organization whose roots are in the entertainment industry. The show ran from 7:00 PM Saturday until 5:30 Sunday on Global Television in BC and also live streamed at variety.bc.ca (you can donate there anytime…that’d be nice!) and I mention this because the total isn’t all raised in one day, although a significant amount comes in the form of telephone pledges. It takes thousands of hours throughout the year and hundreds of volunteers, and not all of them are from Variety Club Tent #47, the BC club. There are volunteers from all walks of life and the majority are from BC’s trade unions. I volunteer too, although my job is a breeze. Get dressed up, made up, smile pretty and look into the television cameras asking for money! I am treated and feel like a “rockstar” or more apt, a television celebrity. But that is also not why I have a glow!
Spending a weekend in the presence of “Givers” is powerful. I am recognized from my 35 year relationship with the show, although my role as a host is less than 20 years old, so when Darlene and I arrive for the production, it’s akin to walking the red carpet. Everyone smiles, people take selfies, I get countless hugs and everyone we first see will not be on the air. One lady we saw on Saurday told me this was her 47th year volunteering! Wow! I Love Givers! Yet, they think “I’m the star!” But here’s the deal, if they feel like they just met one, I have time for them. The show was over on Valentine’s Day at 5:30; Darlene and I left the theatre at 8:30. They always have a volunteer appreciation reception after the telethon and we never miss it. Not patting myself on the back (can’t do that) but I need you to know the experience can be exhausting, and not “digging a ditch” exhausting. “Emotionally Exhausting!” It is the best tired there is! I do not live in Vancouver so I only see the bulk of these volunteers once a year, but they truly feel like family.
There is something indescribable about being around people who Give. I was raised to be a “Giver”. My parents were always encouraging me to be generous, first with my time, and as an adult, adding resources as well. I mention this not to brag. I mention it as a challenge. Are you a “Giver”? Do you volunteer your time, or do you make excuses like “I have no time”! Do you donate money or services or do you just blow off anyone who asks? Do you teach your children to volunteer or is it too much work? Do you spend your spare time with a “giving” nature or do you occupy it with trying to figure how how to “Get”? Do you spend time with benevolent, unselfish people, or are all your friends whiners and moaners? Do you feel like a “Victor” who knows the value of Gratitude and giving back, or do you feel like a “Victim” where all you want to know is who to blame?
Being a giver isn’t just about volunteering or donating. It is a philosophy for life. A habit. An “Attitude”! I believe it can make the difference between personal success and failure. I find it amusing. So many “whiners” love to point the finger at the wealthy seemingly blaming them for poverty! I see why they think that. “They” are “Takers”. It is their nature. They are angry people looking for blame! They are missing the point! By the way, being a “Giver” doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy. I’m pretty sure the bulk of the volunteers in Vancouver for Variety are blue collar workers and retirees. I’m talking about the “Spirit” of being a “Giver”. It is that “Spirit” that is making me glow today. So many people have sent me correspondence on line “Thanking” me for what I did for Variety this past weekend. First, “You are welcome”. Second, I accept your compliments with profound humility. I was born without arms. Overcoming that was hard. Being a “Giver”…that’s easy. If you aren’t one, what’s your excuse?
By the way, if you made a donation of money, services or time for the Variety 50th Anniversary Show of Hearts, from the bottom of my Heart…Thank You. You will be helping countless children with special needs and health concerns and their families across BC. But most important, you “chose” to contribute, even if you couldn’t afford it. Thanks for being “A Giver”! ????