I had the privilege to go skiing at Winter Park Resort recently (in fact, this visit also inspired one of our latest service success blogs). Another experience there also provided amazing inspiration. Winter Park Resort is home to the National Sports Center of the Disabled (NSCD). While there, I got to witness their incredible story and you guessed it, that experience inspired this latest blog.
So what is the NSCD? With specially trained staff and volunteers, and its own adaptive equipment lab, the NSCD teaches a variety of winter and summer sports and activities to individuals with almost any physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral diagnosis. And we got to see it in action.
With almost every ski run, we saw these volunteer staff help to create a memorable experience for someone who, perhaps on their own, could not ski down the mountain. And whether it was on a special pair of skis or chair, you could see the smile on each face as they glided down the mountain. Most every time, this sight brought both a smile and tear to my face.
These volunteers were simply amazing. And it made me think, many of these folks likely have other “jobs”; yet they choose to give a day (or more) of their own time to ensure someone else can have a great experience. So, what does that mean for you and me? It could be many things but to start the conversation, I propose three thoughts:
1. Your gifts and abilities can always be used to help others.
Have you ever stopped to think (and realize) how you are gifted? Some people called them gifts, others abilities. But regardless of the label, everyone has a uniqueness that can benefit someone else. Why not take a quick inventory and recognize your strengths. Know what you do well then look for opportunities that need your help. Helping others doesn’t have to mean writing a check or investing countless hours somewhere. But then it might once you see a need that can be helped specifically by you.
2. Regardless of your circumstance, there is someone in a more desirable position and someone in much less.
This is where gratitude begins. I’m convinced that too often we fall into the trap to see only our circumstances and get lost in that tunnel vision. The more we rise above our own horizon, we see very quickly the opportunities we have. This statement does not mean we do not have troubles or needs, but when we get lost in that, we begin to lose perspective on many other aspects of our lives. Our human nature tends to color our thinking. Giving to others (whether that is an organization or individual), reminds us what others must also deal with. And the result is often gratitude.
3. Giving back is not only a responsibility; it’s a privilege.
There is a Bible scripture that says, “to whom much is given, much is required.” The idea is that we are held responsible for what we have. If we are blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we use these well to benefit others. And the truth is, everyone has been given “something” – some talent, some gift, etc. Sharing whatever that may be to help others reinforces that gift. Someone needs your perspective or skill to help them. Why? They may not possess that ability to the extent you do. And with your help, they get better. And when you give, you become the one blessed.
I left Winter Park with a great respect for the men and woman volunteering there. And it inspired me to take stock of how I’m giving back and take action. Perhaps this story will do the same for you?