The legacy of our smallest gifts is long and strong. What to you may be a moment of effort can be a whole life to another. Give.

A year ago I went to a conference. As I stood around in the lunch break, I was approached by someone who began our conversation with the daunting greeting: ‘Hi Simon, you won’t remember me’. Sadly, at that moment that was mostly true. This conference attendee saved me from my embarrassment with an introduction and went on to thank me for changing their life.

How can you change someone’s life and not know?

The story began four years earlier.

I have an open door policy on career advice. Ask and you at least one conversation. Over the years I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with hundreds of people about their career ambitions.

The conference attendee and I had worked for the same organisation. We had shared time over a cup of coffee to discuss career advice. A frustrated HR analyst was interested in using a passion & expertise for mathematics more in their work. I simply suggested that an analyst with a passion for maths investigate opportunities in data science which was starting to develop into a hot and growing field with a shortage of talent. 

I had never reflected on that conversation again. The advice was simply me sharing something I knew with someone who needed to know it. We never discussed it again.

Now before me was that same analyst who said: ‘I now work as a data scientist. It is the best job I’ve had and I love my work. Thank you’

I was honored to be afforded such thanks. I felt embarrassed to receive any gratitude at all. All the hard work of that career change was done by the person giving thanks. I had done nothing more than point an individual in a new direction with a little piece of knowledge.

Small gifts can enable change

Our smallest gifts can help to change the lives of others. What we know may seem minor to us but to those who don’t know it is a revelation. We might just have the piece that fits in their life or work puzzle.

Serendipitous moments magnify the power of small gifts. Supply your gift at the right time and great change happens because someone or some circumstance is just right for change. Miss that moment and who knows?

This is the power of giving generously and working out loud. Share your knowledge, expertise and capabilities. You cannot know how far your talents go in helping others to make change.

You can’t know your ability to help others until you ask. If you aren’t going to ask, at least share so that they can find it themselves.

‘Tis the season of giving. Give generously. Have a happy festive season.

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