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Santa’s Helpers

Yesterday, Santa stopped by our studio and told us how he stays so jolly.  Today, we want to share a story about two of Santa’s helpers – you may or may not be familiar with it.

It all began 27 years ago. Larry Stewart was broke. He was also very hungry. He saw a little diner. He went in. He admits that he planned to order breakfast, and then when it was time to pay …. he planned to pretend that he’d lost his wallet. 

The owner of the diner must have had a sixth sense. As Stewart had finished eating, the owner came out from behind the counter and bent down to pick something up from the floor. “Here,” he said to Stewart, “you must have dropped this.” It was a $20 bill!

Stewart made a vow that day. He would help others whenever he could. He did just that. He started immediately. When he had some spare money, he would find someone in need and share his good fortune.

As time passed, Stewart started and succeeded in his own business. But every year, at Christmas, you could see him looking for people who needed a lift. He would give them cash … asking only that they help someone else in return. He became known as “the secret Santa.”

That’s because he did all of this anonymously. We only learned his identity last Christmas, as he realized it would be his last – you see, he was losing his fight with cancer. We lost Larry Stewart in January. During his life, he managed to give away about $1.3 million as the secret Santa.

But his legacy isn’t over. As Stewart lay dying in his hospital bed, a fellow businessman and friend promised Stewart that the mission would be carried on – the businessman vowed to be the next secret Santa. This year, he has crossed the United States going to thrift stores, laundromats, bus stations, and the like handing out $100 bills – maybe one, maybe more – to people in need.

By Christmas, he will have given out $75,000 of his own money. He says he gets a great return – the joy that it creates for him and the people who receive his gift. They know that they’ve received an unconditional gift – based on nothing more than one human being caring for another.

Here’s the secret Santa in action. A couple lost one of their four children to a rare form of cancer in November. They faced incredible medical bills. They warned their remaining kids that Christmas might not come this year.

One day, they heard a knock on their door. Standing there was the secret Santa. He handed them $1,000!

We thought it appropriate today to quote the new secret Santa. 

“Secret Santa lives in each and every one
of us, it’s just a matter of letting him out.”

The good news is that this idea is catching on. More and more people are contacting the new secret Santa. Even interning with him to see how he does it. You can see too in this special report from CBS.

Next time, we’ll discuss the timeless secret for overcoming all the odds … for making your star shine bright.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Practice Not Being Perfect

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Before we start on today’s topic, we want to remind you to visualize your dream life, by answering the question, “If neither time nor money were an issue, how would you spend your time and money?” We’ll be coming back to this topic in a few weeks, so keep dreaming bigg! 

The holiday season is in full swing. Black Friday has come and gone. Millions are celebrating Cyber Monday today by shopping online. We received an e-mail from one of our listeners recently that we thought we would share with you.

Julie says that, in the last few years, she’s gotten so stressed out trying to find the perfect present for everyone on her list. She gets frustrated and oh-so-tired. She wants some suggestions on finding the joy in the holidays again.

You may be able to feel Julie’s pain. Life seems particularly busy this time of year. However, Julie’s problem goes beyond Christmas and presents. There are lessons to be learned for the whole year. Here what we suggested to Julie:

  • Be a hero, not a super hero.
  • Lower your expectations. You only have 24 hours in the day. You can only do so much. Stop trying to be super-human. Live your life on human terms. We give you permission to be human. We even give you permission to buy gift certificates!  

  • Ask why it’s so important.
  • What’s the underlying need you’re seeking to fulfill? Is it the approval of others? You’re worried that your friends and your kids won't think you’re the best. Get past the superficial. Focus on your goal – showing your loved ones that you care about them. Stop worrying about impressing them.  

  • Be happy with 75%.
  • We heard a story recently about a college professor who taught a CPA review course. On the first day of the new semester, the professor explained to his new crop of students that they needed to get a score of 75 or above on each of the four sections of the CPA test. Then he introduced them to his model student. His scores on the CPA exam were:
    Section 1: 75
    Section 2: 75
    Section 3: 75
    Section 4: 75

    He passed every section with the minimum score! But he passed. The professor explained to his class that this student had spent exactly the right amount of time preparing for the exam.

    Any less would have led to failure.
    Any more would have been wasted.

    He has the same CPA designation as the person who got 100 in all four sections. But he had more time to spend on other important things in his life.

    So spend 25% less time trying to get it perfect. Use that time to enjoy your life. By being less demanding of yourself, you’ll find your life is much more rewarding.  

Our quote today is by Arthur N. Known.

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers.”

Striving for excellence puts lead in your pencil. Striving for perfection takes it out.
Tomorrow, we’ll challenge you to stretch yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Putting The Giving In Thanksgiving

In our last blog, we discussed the benefits of being thankful. Today we want to look at the second half of Thanksgiving – the giving.

There’s a lot of research that shows giving has benefits to the giver, as much as to the receiver. Allan Luks, the Executive Director of the New York chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, coined the phase “helper’s high” in his book:
The Healing Power of Doing Good.

“Helper’s high”
When you give, you get an endorphin rush similar to when you work out. This is the “helper’s high. Interestingly enough, when you recall the giving experience, you also get an endorphin rush, though not as much as when you actually performed the service.

Show co-host, Mary-Lynn Foster, discussed volunteering for the American Diabetes Association. Her mom passed away due to complications of diabetes. She feels like she’s doing something for her mom by giving to the ADA. She says that she feels that “helper’s high” as she relates her volunteer experiences.

2 things to give
What are our two big external constraints?  Time and money. Guess what? Those are the two things we can give. Giving is a verb. It requires action.

Is your budget tight? You can still give – how about that old coat? Can you donate some canned goods?

Show co-host, George Krueger, related a story told at his mom’s funeral. Last year was her last Thanksgiving. At her funeral, a young woman explained that she had developed an allergy to flour. So she couldn’t eat bread. After some time, she was craving a slice of bread. She just couldn’t stand it. Just then, there was a knock on the door. It was his mom, with a loaf of flourless bread.

Pay attention
This story illustrates that you may make the most impact by meeting the needs of those close to you. So pay attention. Focus on giving and the getting will take care of itself.

Our quote today is by the writer, G. Donald Gale.  

“A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty;
an optimist see the same glass as half full.
But a giving person sees a glass of water and
starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. “

Quench someone’s need today. Next time, we’ll practice not being perfect. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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