Stop thinking about money.

Not thinking about money? Well good. I know whenever I hear the word generosity the first thing that comes to mind is, “Ok so who his asking for money and how much?” After the events of this weekend though, I’ve begun to rethink that default mentality. You see, other types of generosity are often overlooked, taken for granted, or not deemed acceptable in place of money. I’m hoping this may change your mind if you are like me and hear “generosity” and think “genero$ity.” I see three things you can be generous with that won’t cost you a dime and I was hit with all three this past weekend. It was utterly (stop thinking of cows) overwhelming. Here they are:

When was the last time you were generous with your time? This weekend I was able to see the product of an enormous amount of time dedicated (you don’t “spend” time ) by my sister, mother, aunts, and cousins turning a hall into what could have easily been a small, Valentine’s Day themed wedding. From center pieces, to decor, to desserts, to props the entire party wasn’t just a wedding shower it was an experience. Walking around the room was like walking around Disney looking for these. There wasn’t a detail or touch that wasn’t given thought and time. That was one major example, another includes Robyn’s parents sitting with us for 3 hours as we picked invitations, wording, and planned half our honeymoon. Time that they could have easily used for things they had to get done. The examples here didn’t cost anything. People chose to use their time, generously, to add that much more to the life Robyn & I are starting together. Who could you show generosity to by intentionally sharing some time with them?

This goes hand in hand with TIME, sometimes but not always. You see the party this weekend was originally planned for the previous weekend also known as the weekend of the Blizzard of 2013. The amount of effort shared by all families in rearranging schedules, redoing an enormous amount of food and desserts, and making the trip to come out on a Saturday night was worth more than any dollar amount. People could have just shown up, sat down, had a good meal, took some pictures, and left but they didn’t. There was a dress code, and everyone followed it. There were props, and almost everyone played with them. Those things take effort. Some people bought new outfits just for the party! Effort cost nothing because in the end all effort is, is the act of being intentional with your energy. Where can you be generous with your energy and act with intention?

I’m not saying you have to give away one of your two cookies you have stashed in your lunch box. (Am I the only one who carries a lunch box still?) I’m saying, if you have something to share – do it! As part of the party theme (Valentine’s Day), there was a mailbox set up with blank Valentine’s cards to be written out to Robyn and I. A cute idea and nice touch by itself. It was the sharing that brought the mailbox to life. At the end of the night, Robyn and I had about 40 cards to read through. 40! I don’t know about you but back in the day of elementary school when you put a paper bag on your desk for Valentine’s I don’t ever remember getting 40 (if I did they were generic TMNT ones that compared me to pizza). Our family and friends shared. We had funny cards, serious cards, thoughtful cards, cute cards. Every card had a message longer than a sentence. Every card, you could tell, created a moment of pause for who was writing it. The other sharing that took place was receiving a note from a former student giving me an update and sharing her appreciation for having worked with me while she was a student. We say educators are in thankless roles but when something like that comes along, you brush your shoulders off, smile, and file it in the “Pick Me Up” folder. Generosity was that student sharing. Generosity was our families sharing. What can you generously share today with someone?

Time. Effort. Sharing.

Three things that won’t cost you a penny but can make you one of the most generous person people know.

Since this was a longer than intended post, I thank you for being generous with your time. Rock on.

LinkedIn: What do you want?

This is part of a series of posts about LinkedIn. First one found here.

You’ve probably heard that you should never go food shopping while hungry because then everything just looks good and you end up with a carriage full of…stuff.

Well, you shouldn’t be on LinkedIn just because someone told you that you should be on there because it will show up on Google. Now, chances are you heard of LinkedIn and you signed on to LinkedIn as the “professional Facebook” and haven’t touched it since. Or you may be like the hungry shopper, randomly looking through the “People You May Know” section adding people like a hoarder hiding beanie babies from the family. This is NOT the point of LinkedIn.

Folks, when you are signing on to LinkedIn and you haven’t touched it in a while…cleanse. Seriously. Disconnect from everyone. Start fresh. Chances are no one will notice if you haven’t been active on it in months. If they do, use it as a talking point. 🙂

Now, you have zero connections and you are wondering what to do next. What I am going to tell you is simple but not easy. Have a plan!

What do you want to get out of LinkedIn? How will you use it? Are you hoping to make connections with folks you plan to work with in the future? Are you using it to connect with folks from your past that you don’t want snooping on your Facebook? Are you using it so when an employer Googles you they find an outstanding professional version of your digital identity?

Whatever the case is, don’t go into LinkedIn and wonder. Go into LinkedIn and conquer.

Still confused? Here is the plan I have when I go onto LinkedIn.

1) Reconnect with students that I’ve worked with. From the ones I’ve reached out to and reconnected with I’ve learned that hey have become amazing professionals with incredibly cool positions (lawyers, Disney Imagineers!, nurses, trainers, founders of their own businesses).

2) Connect with those that I value. These are the folks that you see present something incredible. Folks that you aspire to be like. Folks that when a cool opportunity comes up you can perhaps call them for words of wisdom (especially if they are already connected on LinkedIn). We will get into the value of connections in another post!

3) Reach out folks on the fringe. These are neither students nor professionals I’ve met but have been introduced to on Twitter. They are not in higher education circles. They are folks that provide me with an outsider’s view and some perspective on everything not education.

Those are my three goals and that’s my plan. What’s your plan for conquering LinkedIn going to be?

Are you ready for success?

I read Life without Pants almost everyday. I follow @MattChevy (blog owner) and interact with him here and there when we seem to be on the same brainwave.

Somehow, I missed his post yesterday and I’m actually glad I did because it allowed me to wake up to this, this morning:

Check out Matt’s thoughts that go with the video and follow his blog here:

What is your favorite motivational video?