Do you have a day in your life that marks a dramatic change in your vision, focus, and direction? 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 had been 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, and 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 to China kept coming to mind.
So, with no knowledge or experience in the area, I decided to start a non-profit to assist children through 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.
Prior to starting the non-profit, when I donated money, it was only because it was the right thing to do . . . and 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 orphans needs. I know the students who have received scholarships from GPiL based on their grades, being English majors, and whose families are financially challenged. I have met the students that became orphans because of a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in rural China, and we paid their school fees to keep them in school every year until they graduated from high school.
All of this is to say that I am so thankful that I have had a Freedom Day, and that I can see how foolish my diligent pursuit of material things was. I am a much better person and a 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!