The fact that the release of my weekly blog always falls on #GivingTuesday is serendipitous. Even though I’ve previously written about the history of #GivingTuesday (Giving Leads to Inspiration), I feel an obligation to highlight the occasion again since it involves several important good teammate qualities—kindness, generosity, and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

#GivingTuesday aims to unite the world in doing good through giving. For some, the concept can seem overwhelming. They mistakenly interpret giving to equate to financial contributions—something they may not be able to give.

But #GivingTuesday isn’t limited to making financial contributions. As it states on the organization’s  website, “Everyone has something to give and every act of generosity counts.”

So what can you give? Can you give your time to someone who’s overburdened? Can you give labor to someone who’s incapable? Can you give companionship to someone who’s lonely? Can you give a smile to someone who’s sad? Giving any of those would be a good teammate move on your part.

I have a sign sitting on the bookshelf in my office that features one of my favorite quotes: “Your talent is God’s gift you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

The quote is from Leo Buscaglia, and although there is no connection between Buscaglia and #GivingTuesday, his words capture the occasion’s spirit.

Known by many as “Dr. Love” or “Dr. Hug,” due to his propensity for embracing strangers, Buscaglia was a fascinating individual. His appearances on PBS in the 1980s were wildly popular and accounted for a considerable portion of public television’s fundraising efforts.

Buscaglia dedicated his life to understanding what love is and how we can all embrace it. His interest in the topic evolved from the suicide of one of his favorite students while Buscaglia was a professor at the University of Southern California.

The tragedy moved Buscaglia to start teaching a non-credit class called Love 1A that focused on exploring the meaning of life and self-actualization. Hundreds of students sought enrollment in the unique class every semester, making it the university’s most in-demand offering.

Buscaglia subsequently embarked on a successful speaking career and authored fourteen bestsellers. The aforementioned quote about talent comes from his fourth book, Living, Loving & Learning.

It’s human nature to underestimate our talents, especially those that we don’t necessarily think of as talents. Being able to run fast, jump high, or sing on key are readily acknowledged talents. But so should be the ability to patiently listen while the lonely ramble on about topics that are of little concern to us or the ability to recognize when the hurting need a comforting hug.

#GivingTuesday is growing to become as big a part of the peripheral holiday season as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If we’re lucky enough, the concept of giving selflessly of our talents to those in need will one day be ingrained in the fabric of our society.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

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