There are times when we get obsessed with our to-do lists. Go to work, stay healthy, socialize, fulfill commitments, manage the household (and all of the people in it). You name it, we try to do it, placing ourselves in the center of this busy universe.
Then there are times when we pay attention to the peripherals. The school fundraiser. The community walk. The donation to your local charity.
There is an exciting moment when these two scenarios meet, when someone else's to-do list maps onto your own, and by working together you make an even greater impact. This is an intersection where everybody wins.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend an event for The Foundation for Building Strength, a charity which raises awareness about a rare childhood muscle disease. Instead of stopping at a one-time donation, the event became an opportunity to make an ongoing contribution. Asking how we can creatively help, instead of just checking items off our to-do lists, can result in better outcomes for everyone.
Another organization, Baby Buggy, distributes baby gear for needy families. One of their board members was a customer of mine, which turned into a wider opportunity for us to start a donation program for the families they serve.
More examples? Check out Tonic.com, a website focused on "good news, good styles, and good deeds". Their mission is to spread the word about people who are doing good things. They tipped me off to the segment on NBC Nightly News called "Making a Difference". Look at their comments page and you will find a nation's input on acts of kindness.
By looking beyond our own borders, we can turn an egocentric situation into an ECOcentric one. It's the new, more human version of eco-friendly. Now, let's just hope it's contagious.