When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself – and me – even as I give it away. Only when I give something that does not grow within me do I deplete myself and harm the other as well, for only harm can come from a gift that is forced, inorganic, and unreal.

― Parker Palmer

Once you have searched internally and discovered a gift of your authentic self, you are ready to search the external world for opportunities to serve.

Where and how can I share my God-given gift?

The wonderful thing about your gift comes from the fact that you LOVE to use it.

When you start to explain your gift to others, they will sense the energy that is coming from you. They will hear it in your voice, they will see it in your body language, and they will feel it in the stories that you tell about it.

Create Your Elevator Pitch

In business, we often refer to using an elevator pitch when meeting someone that you would like to influence. The idea is that you need to get your message down to about a minute or less, as if you were meeting that person on an elevator and have a limited amount of time to get their attention and generate interest.

You can find many examples on the Internet of creating your elevator pitch. For a service project, you might include:
– Introduce yourself
– Highlight your gift, perhaps with a story related to it
– Explain the value that your gift can offer
– Ask for time to explore opportunities together

An example might be:
“Hi I’m Doug, a blog writer from North Andover who believes passionately in the power of serving the needs of others. I’ve been writing about how sharing your unique gift with others can result in a positive life change for both the server and the recipient. I would love to get together with you and explore how your members can find satisfaction and purpose in their lives from this message.”

Share your elevator pitch anywhere and everywhere! Reach out to organizations that work with those who might benefit from your gift. Share your pitch with people you meet at parties or gatherings (when we get to finally gather again!).

You may find that organizations are not responsive to your gift. In that case, why not create your own service organization?

One of my favorite stories in this area is about a woman from Portland, Oregon
named Samantha Hess. Following a divorce, Samantha realized that she missed the power of personal touch in her life. Then she read about someone in New York offering hugs for $2 and something clicked.

She decided to start a (very platonic) “hugging” business she called Cuddle Up to Me. Samantha spread the word through fliers, emails, and a local newspaper article and in a week, she was booked for two months, giving comfort to the lonely, the
disabled, and other groups in need of an hour’s worth of attention and (fully clothed) touch.

She has since written a book and started a certification program for those who would like to become certified huggers.

Why do I like this story? When she started, her friends told her she was crazy and no one would pay for an hour’s worth of hugging. But she knew that her gift had value and proceeded to find a way to do it.

Don’t be afraid to use your gift, when you believe that it can provide value to others.

Doug Bate
Service Central