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January 12th, 2009

I feel like it’s so infrequently these days that we’re moved to tears by inspiring – rather than heartbreaking – stories. On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend the book signing for Do Your Giving While You are Living and have such an experience. It was truly a gift to hear from – and later meet – the phenomenal contributors to this book!

Rather than reading the panelists’ impressive bios, the moderator asked that each share a personal story. How did they get started? What inspired them to tirelessly pursue their cause? Who influenced them most? Each story was unique, yet the way they were told was consistent in their authenticity, passion, conviction and commitment to make a positive difference in the world.

From feeding the homeless, to empowering minorities, to educating kids about entrepreneurship, to spreading philanthropy online, to connecting orphans with new families – these visionaries are truly changing the world! And amongst daily news of war, strife, and all kinds of emotional pollutants, hearing their stories was kinda of like breathing clean air again (please forgive the cliche).

I was impressed that these people weren’t Pollyanna-ish or preachy; they didn’t ask for sympathy for their beneficiaries; nor did they try to sell us on helping their particular organizations. They simply shared their experiences and stories and encouraged us to consider our own passions, time and resources in determining where and how we want to contribute.

I am not usually at a loss for words, but I am noticing that this post doesn’t come even close in articulating the impact I feel from this experience. I just feel it. This amazing sense of aliveness, rejuvenation, alertness, passion and reconnection with my own path. I feel a call to continuously strive to make a difference in the world – every day, with every intention, thought and action. No matter how small. And the thing is, it’s not about anyone else. It’s about me feeling most like me and living most alively!

I can’t wait to read this book and hope you choose to pick up a copy too. I am taking mine on the train tomorrow as I travel to Ft. Monmouth to facilitate a program on life post-retirement. Wow, what an opportunity there!

So, what’s the difference you’re committed to making this year – either for yourself or others (they’re often one and the same.) I can’t imagine a better time to begin!

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