Posts tagged giving back
We all have them. Those memories…the ones that when we think about them, a smile instantly sweeps across our face—those times in our life that will always give us a sense of comfort or a rush of excitement. As we get older and our impending mortality becomes even more prevalent, we sometimes lose focus of the good we’ve had in our life. As author Gary Buffone writes in his book The Myth of Tomorrow “our filter becomes clogged with negative thoughts, strangling the perceptions that encourage, support, and inspire our confidence.” Buffone goes on to advise that “we must take time to appreciate our strengths and assets, and recognize what is working and going well in our lives. When time is short, gratitude grows. Our mortality begs us to be kind.” These words are ones to live by.
I’ve hit some rough moments in my life, where I thought it impossible to see the good in anything in my life. Those moments, that rather than adding joy, cast a shadow of doubt and uncertainty in yourself and in your future. But when you find yourself among the midst of darkness, the only thing that you can do is get up and help others through their casts of uncertainty and doubt. This is what motivated me to dedicate my life to helping others get through their tough moments. I founded LifePilot Organization and the Todd Thomas Foundation, in honor of my son–thus shedding new light and purpose on my life.
Giving back is a beautiful thing. This selfless act brings out qualities in yourself you never knew you had. You become a role model for others, helping them pave their way through their own personal revival. I believe that having the ability to help others is a huge honor; and by acting on that honor you can change lives.
The Caring Institute was founded in 1985 to honor those values of caring, integrity, and public service. Their inspiration was the great Mother Teresa who taught us that all the world’s problems can be solved if people truly care for one another. The Caring Institute attributes this belief by celebrating the special people who transcend self to serve the disabled, disadvantaged, and dying. By honoring them, they strive to promote their work and present them as role models for all.
By request of Mother Teresa to founder, Val J. Halamanders, she insisted that the Institute yearly honors the five most caring adults and five most caring young people in America. People such as Paul Newman, Jane Goodall, Patch Adams, MaryAnne Shreder, Dave Thomas, Collin Powell, and Peggy Dolan adorn the walls of the Caring Institute, located in Washington D.C. This year, I was inducted into the Hall of Fame as 2010’s International Caring Award Recipient. Though, humbled and beyond flattered, I am just one of those who have taken devastation and turned it into something positive.
A dear friend of mine was a successful New Orleans businessman, who—like many—lost his home to Hurricane Katrina. He said that it surprisingly brought him and his colleagues and employees closer. “Katrina didn’t cause the problems; it simply revealed them. The disaster forced me to focus on what’s important; family, friends, giving back, and a sense of community.” He rebuilt his house and his company, and now helps entrepreneurs like him reach their full potential. “We may be giving our time and talent, asking for nothing in return, but chances are,” he explained “like it or not, we are going to receive much more benefit in unexpected ways as a result of our charitable actions. When you find clarity of purpose you can give it life and it will continue long after you are gone.”
So though, we are reminded of our mortality day after day, the key is to remember those happy moments that made it all worth-while. Be grateful for what and who you do have in your life, and help those who have lost how.
I am humbled and honored to announce my induction into the Caring Hall of Fame as 2010’s International Caring Award Recipient. On October 5th, in Dallas, myself and fellow recipient of the Domestic Caring Award, Laura Bush, will be honored as outstanding members who give back to those in need.
The Caring Institute was established in 1985 with Mother Teresa in mind — the ultimate example of giving to others. The institute honors those who live by her example through doing good works and demonstrating selfless behavior. Other notable recipients of the Caring Award include the late John Wooden and last year’s winner, Colin Powell. I heartedly support their mission and am grateful and speechless that my efforts are being awarded for doing something I love. My award only re-enforces my desire and commitment to continuing to give to others that I learned so many years ago from my mum.
My motto has always been, “first you learn, then you earn, then you return.” I was taught no matter what your circumstance, you have something to give to others. I now have the ability to give financially, but what I teach is there is always something of value you can give and money is not always the answer. I credit this passion to serve to my mother, who instilled in me strong values and a need to think beyond myself from an early age.
As a successful serial entrepreneur turned social entrepreneur, I didn’t always have an easy road. I lost millions in 1982 with the first real estate crash and in 2000, personal tragedy struck with the suicide of my only son Todd, at age 36. Not sure how to move on, I turned to one of my mentors and his words, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort…but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” It was this year that I turned my efforts to honoring the life of his son by founding The Todd Thomas Foundation to help raise awareness around mental illness and support research into effective treatments. I then went on to develop the Todd Thomas Institute for Values-Based Leadership, and in 2002, I galvanized my method of values-based goal setting and shared it with others through LifePilot – a British Columbia based non-profit organization that provides programs that empower and teach people from all walks of life to live in alignment with their values.
My most recent endeavor is in conjunction with the launch of his newest book, Be Great – The Five Foundations to an Extraordinary Life. I have already embarked on a 10-City Be Great America Book Tour , that began in Phoenix with proceeds from book sales and speaking engagements to benefit the local chapters of Boys & Girls Club. This book is being used by Childhelp, The Alfredo Molina Foundation and The Bonnie Addario Lung Foundation as an incentive/gift to donors to raise additional funds for their organization.
I love sharing what I’ve learned from my journey in my new book. . . it’s important for me to re-enforce that we always need to be grateful for what we have, always pursue our inner greatness and always share with others be it knowledge, time or monies. I am delighted that I am at a place in my life that I can do all three.
Thank you to my family, friends and followers for all of your support along this journey that has lead to this wonderful moment and recognition of my life—I couldn’t hav