In 2007, Bill Gates quoted one of his mother’s favorite expressions in his commencement address at Harvard. I Googled it and found that Mary Maxwell Gates’ expression originated in the New Testament: Luke, Chapter 12, Verse 48: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” That is an inspiration.
TIKKUN OLAM is a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world.” Michael Jackson made it memorable with this song: “Heal the world, Make it a better place. For you and for me and the entire human race. There are people dying, If you care enough for the living, Make a better place for you and for me.”
Do you ever wonder if you make a significant difference in just one thing, one small difference that might start a ripple of change?
Trying to make a difference is always on my mind. It’s part of my values. It’s a key component of my business. It’s part of my brand.
I think of this every Monday on my drive to Rotary. There are special people who dedicate hours and days and years of their lives to making the world better through great community causes.
As I review marketing material for Reach Out and Read, a non-profit in my town, I appreciate how a group of generous people can make a difference in the lives of pre-school children they don’t even know. So I help out, too.
As I read in the news about my friend Barb Unell, founder of Back in the Swing, I’m again inspired by the power of one person’s tireless efforts. Back in the Swing is a one-week campaign that helps breast cancer, and all cancer survivors, get back to living after cancer treatment. The Kansas City program will go NATIONAL this year.
As I help my soulmate Ethel Davis celebrate the honor of “Fearless Leaders of Kansas City,” I’m touched by the endless ways she gives back to the world. She inspires me and teaches me more about the brand of giving with your head and your heart.
As I see my friend Christina Eldridge lead missions to Africa and at home, I am inspired, and I think about how making a difference is a tangible piece of her values and her personal brand.
And always, as I watch my mom continue to work tirelessly for our local children’s hospital, her ongoing dedication to a cause reminds me how important one person can be. She’s been volunteering her time there for thirty years. Whenever a special occasion comes around, she tells us she doesn’t want a gift. Her standard response is always “Please just make a donation.”
I also see a lot of people working hard, but taking what they can and forgetting to give back. There are people who expect things from the world, who maybe don’t understand how good it feels to give back as well.
When I think of them, I come back to thinking to myself: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”