It’s been 2 weeks since my (it wasn’t really mine, per se, I MEAN it was for ME, but I had no hands in it…so do I really say “my”?) the charity work out was thrown for me. The proceeds are still coming in, but so far, over $14,000.00 has been raised…for me.
I don’t think I am deserving of charity. The event has come and gone, I am able to reduce my medical expenses by a sizeable chunk (about 25%) and yet…I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing.
There are two underlying themes going through my head, that I keep coming back to – helping people as a trainer and charity.
I started coaching when I was 18 years old. I loved it.
I loved it back then because I was coaching people in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitions and when someone won a match and came over and gave me a high five or a hug and said “Thank You” it was the best feeling in the world.
I love helping people.
I love teaching.
I love helping people become better versions of themselves.
Coaching is really just helping someone accomplish a goal and/or teaching them something about themselves they didn’t know or needed help discovering.
Coaching is teaching, and teaching is helping someone become a better person.
It makes me feel good.
I feel it adds value to my “scales”. I think we all have a scale that measures our contribution to…life. Coaching/teaching adds to my “positive” side.
That’s why I became a personal trainer.
I firmly believe that no other profession has as much of an influence on making someone better than a personal trainer.
Think about it –
If I can help someone stop smoking and take up exercise – how many YEARS of life have, I just helped add?
If I can help someone understand the importance of protein intake and consequently the increase of dietary protein, how more protein means more lean body mass and that means more enjoyment of life – how many more hikes with the family did I just help that person get?
If I can get someone to eat some more veggies every day for the rest of their life – how many more books will they read on the toilet….that’s a plus in my book!
If I can get someone to simply take more Vitamin D – how much of a reduction in ALL CANCER risks did I just add?
Talking to a client for 10 minutes and seeing that ah-ha moment dawn on their face (the “I get it!”) and knowing they finally get it - that’s the best feeling because in those 10 minutes I may have just saved that person’s life from a serious health issue down the road, by getting them to change their behaviors now.
I have helped 1000’s of people become better in my short career.
Sometimes I would get a thank you, or a “you changed my life” or…sometimes…nothing. And that’s ok. I ultimately don’t do what I do for the external reward, but rather for the internal one.
I never would have thought that I would have any kind of charity anything.
But, I never would have thought I would be diagnosed with cancer.
And, I never REALLY thought I would owe tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses either.
But…life gives you what you get.
Charity is receiving help, without necessarily asking for it, with the mutual understanding that no goods or services will be exchanged for that help.
It’s doing something for nothing and knowing that nothing is coming.
It’s true, my accountant advised me to give everyone a letter essentially stating - “Thank you for your charitable donation. It is understood that this contribution is made without promise or deliver of any goods or services.” That way I can’t be taxed on any of the donations.
So why do people donate? I think it makes them feel good.
I had a high school classmate donate $1000.00. I called him and asked him “why are you donating to me?”. “He said…sometimes shitty things happen to great people.”
Charity is all about helping an entity (person or biz) that you feel is deserving of your contribution - in such a way that you receive NOTHING tangible in return.
Think about that as we move into the last segment of this post…
What if you don’t need or want charity?
Charity is a hard thing to accept.
At least – it is for me.
I think it’s ultimately because I didn’t WANT or NEED charity.
Charity is about two things – the want for contributions and the need for contributions.
A not for profit company needs charitable contributions to ensure it stays open, and in turn they want those contributions.
A homeless person wants charitable contributions to ensure they can continue living the lifestyle they want, they arguably do not need charitable contributions to survive.
I do not want nor need charity. Sure…I may be up to my eyebrows (which by the way are non-existent at this point…seriously) in medical debt, but, it’s not as though I am going to lose my house.
So what then?
What about the charity in the context of neither a want nor a need?
Could I USE charity? HELL YES.
We all can use a little charity.
This is what I am looking at right now as I type this. Jamie and I were offered a week at The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe VT. For free. It was a gift from a friend of a member.
This week has been one of the best weeks of the last 6 months, and it was a charity gift. It’s an amazing spot that I can’t recommend enough.
I needed this week.
Jamie needed this week.
We needed this charity.
Maybe, I need some charity.
When you get cancer – your life stops and restarts immediately. It’s like stopping a movie in the middle and starting a brand new one (that’s super sad and depressing) in the same second.
You may not be able to work as much. That meant for us – I stepped away from the biz. I went from working 40-60 hours per week, to working 20 hours every two weeks. That means our payroll went up at the same time as our revenue went down.
Your expenses go up. For the first 3 months we had an extra $700 go out for my anti-coagulation shots.
If you live with someone – the time you have to spend with them may go down. When I stepped away from the biz, that meant Jamie had to cover the time I wasn’t there…on top of her already working 40+ hours per week.
Kiss any home improvement projects bye bye until your done with treatment, and you can say adios to any landscaping that you may need. I can’t be in the sun that much (there is a fine balance between sun and heat, too much of one will make me feel sick) so lawn mowing is out. And, when you consider I only have 7 “good days” out of every two weeks and Jamie working…you can see how it’s unlikely to get our home office cleaned out or painted.
So yea…I could use charity.
Sometimes you need to shut up, say thank you and let the people that care about you take over. The charity idea was dreamed up by some of Jamie’s family.
Thank you to all of those who donated to my charity.
Thank you to all of those that came out and did burpees for me.
Thank you to all of those that bid on the raffle items.
Thank you to all of those people that gave their time and helped make the event awesome.
Thank you for teaching me something and making me a better person.
It’s taken me a good 3 months to come to grips with the charity being offered to me.
There were two distinct conversations (one by my hair dresser and one by a guy named Thom Plummer) and one event (this past week at the Trapp Lodge) I had that helped me understand this whole charity thing.
This charity allowed the people that I have helped in some way become better (through KDR or before) show their gratitude.
I was against it the whole time because I didn’t think I needed charity and I certainly didn’t want it. But, I understand now, that taking this charity away would mean that I would be taking away any chance for the people I have made better to say thank you.
And that means, the feeling they would have gotten by helping me would not have been there.
The reciprocal – “Hey man, thanks for helping me be a better person. Now, let me do something for you.”
I have helped you become better by teaching you something you didn’t know.
This charity has helped me become better by teaching something I didn’t know.
You are all teachers and I thank you, again, for your help.