How to Use your Time, Talent, and Treasure
The best things in life are the those that give you meaning. Look at Lebron James, for example--he has it all: money, fame, doing what he loves. But, he also made sure to create space to leave an impact on people by starting a school in his hometown, I Promise School. Another great example is found in this commercial where Dwayne Wade is celebrating his retirement, and how the greatest thing he did was give back. At the end of the day, giving to others without expecting a return is what is going to give you the greatest lasting happiness.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know where to start. How do you know that homeless man isn’t scamming you? How do you know that charitable organization is actually “charitable”? And what if you just show up to help out, but you’re actually just getting in the way?
In The SHEFACTOR, Heidi talks about the importance of using your time, talent, and treasure. She tells her readers that, after her husband died, starting a foundation was what gave her the motivation to start again.
To make it simple for you, we’ve put together some easy ways to do this. If you decide to try any of these out, make sure you post a picture and share with us, using the hashtag #theshefactor. That way you can help others out with ideas of your own!
Oftentimes, it’s a lot easier to just give $10 here and $20 there; but, giving your time to something or someone is oftentimes most important! The biggest lesson we’ve learned in figuring out how to use our time well is to “just stop for the one”. It’s easy to see all the things wrong with this world: poverty, human trafficking, environmental damage, mistreatment of people, animals, and our world. Try not to focus on how massive a problem is, because you will not be able to fix it all. Instead, think of doing small things that add up.
Get a group of friends together and have a cookout in a local trailer park. While you’re there, make an effort to really get to know one or two people. Help that older gentlemen get his groceries in the car, and be sure to ask if there’s any way you can help. Invite a homeless woman to join you for lunch and get to know her as an individual. Instead of being a “fixer” and thinking you know the solution to every problem, go in without an agenda and do the best you can!
Many times, what you’re most passionate about is what you’re best at. One way to help start is write down a list of 3-4 things you really enjoy. Do you love fitness? Art? Music? Reading? Whatever it is that you love, use that part of yourself to help others. If you love fitness, volunteer at a YMCA day camp, clean up trash off the sides of the roads you run on, or post helpful workouts on your social media to encourage others! If you love art, sell your creations and give 100% of the proceeds to a charity, volunteer to paint a mural in your city, or offer fun art classes at your local library. As a rule of thumb, the best ways to help others is to do what you love, too! Think about the things, hobbies, and places you enjoy. Use the things you are already good at or enjoy to focus in on meaningful giving.
This can be a hard one, because it seems like everyone, everywhere needs your money! If you’ve ever been to a third-world country to visit or volunteer, walking through the slums can break your heart. Everyone asks for money, and everyone is grotesquely thin and living in conditions no one should live in.
At some point however, you have to be able to use prudence and figure out what the best way to use your money is. It doesn’t help anyone to walk around feeling guilty or responsible for everyone. What are the small things you can do to help others with what you have? Always remember: giving your money to someone else may make you feel less guilty, but if you are not giving it to someone who actually needs it, or will use it well, what good does that do?
At the end of the day, being generous in your time, talent, and treasure is what will give you the most lasting meaning. Be intentional and thoughtful, while focusing on ways you can incorporate giving into your everyday life!