My husband and I had just returned from a hike in the Virunga Mountains in Eastern Rwanda, where we spent time with a family of Gorillas.
Soon as we descended the mountain, a young boy approached us with a picture he drew. It was the very scene we had saw – A mama gorilla with a baby on its back. How did he know what would see?
He proceeded to try and sell his one-of-a-kind creation, and we proceeded to our vehicle with our Rwandan Guide.
This young boy ran alongside our car bear-foot while navigating potholes, for what felt like two kilometres. He was waving the One-of-a-kind-creation in the window, while begging, “Mama, Mama please, I’m hungry.” His eyes were pleading. My heart was breaking.
I had learnt quite a bit about when and when not to give while travelling Africa, which is why I hesitated.
Then I turn to my husband,
He is entrepreneurial. I like that.
He is persistent! An admirable characteristic in a young man!
It is one of a kind.
I was a fly in this young boys web.
A voice came from the front seat of the car.
Our Rwandan Guide said:
“Mama, if you are thinking of buying that picture, please don’t.”
“Ok, I won’t… but please tell me why?”
He said: “If you buy that picture, the young boy will be here tomorrow, the next day and the next. Every day he is here, is every day he is out of school, and every day he is out of school is every day he limits his opportunities for his future and our communities.
When you contribute, are you…
- Hurting or helping?
- Giving hand out or a hand up?
- Perpetuating a dependency or creating opportunity?
What does this saying mean to you? It’s better to give than receive. That saying is rooted in me feels better when me gives. Where is the “you” when it is all about me?
Contributing to you just because me feels good, may just satisfy our ego or reduces our guilt.
I encourage you to consciously contribute. Which means me should ask myself, “Will my contribution cultivate the behaviour I intend?”
You in YouMeWe refers to understanding the needs of an individual or group you would like to contribute to while being conscious of the bigger implications of fulfilling their desires.
When you contribute, consciously select contributions that will provide the intended impact. Ask yourself, are you promoting dependency or opportunity?
A missionary once said to me, “We take so much time thinking about how to make money; and so little time about how to give it away.” She is not suggesting not to contribute; she is suggesting how to make it count.
How to make your contribution count, locally or internationally, requires some consideration.
What fundamental skill do you need to consciously contribute™ and create a positive impact?
Ask questions, specifically ask what an individual or group needs, and listen to what they want.
You know to do this is business, whether you’re good at it or not. When we contribute, we often assume a need or trust an organisation has done their due diligence.
- We assume if someone is begging, he or she will eat anything.
- We assume when Red Cross or Canadian Council for Refugees ask for help, they are asking for our clothes (Nope $$$)
- We assume if a family doesn’t have Christmas dinner that they would want it to be delivered by a complete stranger – rather than make the parent the hero.
- We assume, that everyone would want, what we would want in their situation.
When we contribute, it’s not about me. It’s about you!
Assumptions are not conscious contributions™. Assumptions are barriers to make your contributions count.
Until next time, make your contributions count.
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About the Conscious Contributor
Suzanne F. Stevens, CSP, Conscious Contributor™ Cultivator
Social entrepreneur |International Speaker | Pioneer | Host | Philanthropist | Author
Lead tomorrow’s legacy today.
#YouMeWe Group of Initiatives | Cultivate, Celebrate, Co-createconscious-contributions™
Book launch coming soon: YouMeWe: lead tomorrow’s legacy today
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 64 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.