The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 08, 2010 • Issue 10:02:01
Make everyone your valentine
||Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.|
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The landscape may be a bit stark and stormy, but splashes of red hearts and flowers are brightening retailer displays throughout the land. For it is February, the month when we celebrate love on Valentine's Day, and business is brisk for florists, card shops and purveyors of fine chocolates.
However, some people believe it is a holiday meant only for school children who haul volumes of valentines - one for every classmate - to school. Others feel the day belongs only to adults who have been struck by Cupid's arrow, those who long to leave work early so they can prepare for a romantic dinner in a secluded, candle-lit restaurant.
That leaves an awful lot of people out of the equation. Maybe some of your friends, family members, co-workers or merchant customers. Maybe even you.
One solution for those who feel left out is to ignore the holiday completely. It is, after all, just another day; it will pass soon enough.
Another tack is to cynically proclaim that Valentine's Day is nothing more than a good way to boost the bottom line if you've been shrewd enough to have landed merchant clients whose sales soar as a result of the holiday.
However, while these approaches aren't wrong per se, they are limiting. And why settle for limits when you, like everyone else, only enjoy a brief time on earth to experience what life has to offer?
Why not fully embrace the day and think of new ways to celebrate it that bring happiness to others? Even those who are deeply in love, in addition to expressing their passion, can also find ways to express many kinds of love.
This doesn't mean sending valentines to everyone you know. It doesn't mean buying chocolates or roses for your colleagues. It doesn't necessarily mean buying anything at all. It means reflecting upon what love for your fellow man means to you and how you might best express it, perhaps by sending nuggets of love into the world and letting them do their magic.
Here are some possibilities (there are countless others):
- Make a list of people who matter most to you, personally and professionally, decide what you appreciate specifically about each one and then let each of them know. You can make the list in one day and take a month or more to contact everyone. You may want to telephone some, send notes to others and visit some in person.
- Pick an organization you admire that you haven't made a donation to yet, and send in a check.
- Volunteer to do a presentation at a local school about your profession so you can share what you love about your role in the payments industry and inspire youths in the process.
- Think of some things that your city or town is doing right, and send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper commending those responsible.
- If you take a toll road or pay a bridge toll on the way to work, pay the toll for the car behind you. Or if you buy coffee or tea at a local shop in the morning, buy a drink for the person standing behind you in line.
- If you admire the work of a visual artist, choreographer, writer, photographer, filmmaker or other creative individual, send the person a fan letter. Be specific about what you like about the person's work.
- If your parents are still alive, tell them how happy you are that they gave you life.
- If gaining a particular merchant's business helped your business reach new heights or otherwise turn a corner, let the merchant know.
- The next time you pass a homeless person on the sidewalk, look the person in the eyes and say a respectful hello.
- Call up the acquirers association for the region in which you do business, and volunteer to help on a committee.
- If you are a religious person, do something for your faith community that you don't ordinarily do. Maybe it's helping out with childcare during a service or taking a troubled youth under your wing for a time.
Those who express their love for others through words and deeds find a tremendous satisfaction in doing so that rubs off in all areas of their lives. Why not join in this month and continue throughout the year?
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