Our guest blogger today is Beau Sides, who is a different kind of leader … he’s not a Fortune 500 name or someone creating extremely marketable applications to sell us for our Smartphones, or even running for president or other elective office.
Beau is just doing some very good things on a global scale. This truly is leadership on the edge … enjoy the post, then consider how you can help Beau and what else you might do to make our planet a better place on which to live.
From Beau Sides:
Do you have a day in your life that marks a dramatic change in your vision, focus, and direction? Well, I do! My day is January 16, 2004, and I call it my “Freedom Day.” That was the last day I worked in the corporate world, and I was freed from my desire to have a more prestigious title at work, a job with a higher salary, more direct reports under me, and a better home and car. Yes, I am thankful to say that I have been freed from being self-centered and greedy. My thoughts are no longer all about “me, me, me, and more for me,” but now I am more focused on others and giving.
While I was working in the corporate world, I was truly blessed to work with some great companies and wonderful people. In fact, I was surprised with the modest success I had and with my overall compensation. I really didn’t feel that I was worthy. However, at the same time, I didn’t feel that what I was doing would matter in 10 years. So I thought about what would matter in 10 years, and my friends and experiences from a couple of trips in China kept coming to mind.
So, with no knowledge or experience in the area, I decided to start a non-profit to assist children and young adults with their educational, humanitarian, and medical needs . . . in China! Since I was in my mid-forties at the time, I was told I should read a book by Bob Buford called Half Time. In his book, Bob discusses moving from success to significance, and I was hopeful that was what I was doing. Fortunately, I had some people much wiser than me agree to serve on the Board of Directors as I started Global Partners in Life.
When I donated money prior to starting GPIL, it was only because it was the right thing to do (and because my wife was modeling a giving lifestyle very well for me). Now when I give, I get a great sense of joy, because I personally know who I am helping. I know which special needs orphan will have an operation because of the support GPIL has received and passed along to the orphan. I know the students who have received scholarships from GPiL based on their grades, being English majors, and coming from a financially-challenged family. I have also met the students who became orphans because of a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in rural China, for whom GPIL paid school fees to keep them in school every year until they graduate from high school.
All of this is to say that I am so thankful to have had a Freedom Day. I can now see how foolish my diligent pursuit of material things really was. I am a much better and much happier person since I realized how much I already had and compared it to how little others have.
If you haven’t had your Freedom Day, what is stopping you? I would encourage you to learn from my mistakes, and pursue what is on your heart. I will help you if I can!
Beau Sides is the author of Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans & Orphanages in China and Lessons From China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education, both available on Amazon. Learn more about Beau at his website www.beausides.com or connect with him on Twitter @BeauSides.