The Greatest Gift of All – The Gift of Empowerment

During the year, a variety of celebrations – birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions – call for a gift of some kind. We sometimes work ourselves into a frenzy trying to come up with the “perfect gift.” The “perfect gift” is one that doesn’t wind up in the bottom of a drawer or a gift receipt because no one in his/her right mind would return it (after all it’s perfect.) Or have you ever received a gift and couldn’t wait for the return counter to open?

Why not invest in a gift that has staying power – the gift of empowerment. The gift of empowerment is a gift that keeps on giving, enabling one to enhance and further his or her personal development and achievement. An empowering gift is one that keeps on giving the whole year through and, if we’re lucky, beyond.

Here are three empowering gift ideas:

1. The Gift of Change – Enjoy cuisine of a culture other than your own. Learn about a culture other than your own. Learn the customs and the cuisine, or purchase a piece of clothing which can provide insight and an appreciation of others.

* Realize no one is perfect. Don’t beat yourself up about the past – remember the past doesn’t define your future – only you can do that. See and accept only positive people and thoughts in your life.

* Change someone’s life for the better; do a good deed. A good deed has multiple payoffs for everyone. You can make life a little easier or enable others to accomplish something they may not have been able to on their own. The size of a good deed is not of importance – only that you did something for someone else. The payoff for you – as the commercial says, “priceless.”

2. The Gift of Knowledge – Expand your knowledge with books. Seeking new information expands our mind and can develop our spirit. No time to read you say, books on tape (especially motivational tapes) are a great way to squeeze in learning during the vast amount of time we spend commuting, walking on the treadmill, or waiting at a doctor’s office.

* Take a class at an adult learning center or community college. This inexpensive option allows you to further your knowledge and increase your potential.

* Join Toastmasters! It’s not just for public speakers. This dynamic international organization empowers you to increase your communication and leadership skills in a supportive environment. This is a must for anyone who interacts with people – ever!

* Subscribe to a newspaper or magazine subscription such as a health, finance, or major newspaper. Why not better your well-being, develop your financial portfolio or learn more about current events that affect your life.

3. The Gift of Goal Setting – Set your first goal – you will make time for self. Even fifteen minutes alone, in the bathtub or shower, can provide you with the time you need to just think and find yourself. Finding yourself means determining what do you want and what you need. Who else knows you better and who else can give you what you need. Help someone else find time – barter or give the gift of time via babysitting or cooking a meal for another family (now they will have more time for themselves, too).

* Commit to a healthful lifestyle. Diets are great for short term gain but often fail because they are so difficult to stick with. Improve your health with a subscription to a health magazine, buy or rent a video/DVD, join a gym or recreation center, or purchase a piece of gym equipment. Remember it can only work if you take action!

* Set financial goals – financial freedom is a worthwhile goal that can be achieved with knowledge, planning and commitment. Whenever you find yourself in a buying situation, ask yourself “Do I want this item or do I need this item?” I find this a big help when deciding to make a purchase and not be a slave to credit card payments. Also, pay by cash and not by credit card. Start now!

* De-clutter and organize. That mess can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, and stressed. Less truly is more. Commit to keeping only what brings you pleasure, love, or need. Organize your home and office to enable you to find what’s there. This in turn will save you time and money because you won’t be going out all the time to buy what you already have.

I encourage you to start today – share any or all of these gifts with yourself, family, friends, or colleagues. Remember, the greatest gift of all is the gift that keeps on giving – the gift is empowerment!