Todays conversation just made me want to contribute more to my global community. Suzanne F. Stevens spends 50% of her time making money to finance the other 50% of her time with humanitarian causes – how cool is that. Her work with African women is changing lives and through Wisdom Exchange TV she taps into some brilliant minds to share resources, information and inspiration.
In our conversation she talks about the difference between leaving a legacy and living a legacy and asks what is your edginess – that enhanced version of yourself discovered at the edge of your comfort zone.
This lady has so many things she’s excited about it’s contagious! Listen to the Corus Entertainmet radio show in it’s entirety here: Your Life, Unlmiited with Stephanie Staples & Suzanne F. Stevens
Are we helping or hurting?
When my husband and I were travelling Africa for a couple years interviewing women pioneers, we were often in the position of question if we were helping or hurting?
We had just come back from hiked in Volcanoes National Park down the Virunga mountains after seeing a family of gorillas; a highly anticipated experience. My husband and my euphoric experience was short lived. The reality of being in a small town in Africa once again presented itself. A young boy was trying to sell us a picture that he had drawn of the gorillas in the mountains. The struggle continues, to give or not to give?
During our time in Africa we are confronted on a daily bases with the moral dilemma of giving. Through the struggle we have both become very clear on the parameters in which we will give. However, ‘little boy who worked on art to sell’ hadn’t been an experience we had discerned what are actions would be. This little boy was quite persistent as he ran beside our slow moving car navigating the potholes for a kilometre, and we believed we now should reward him for his perseverance.
As we asked our Rwandan driver to stop the car, he turned to us and said: “Please don’t buy that boys art; If you do, he will continue to sell it and never go to school and that is the only thing that can save him.” I thanked our driver for the guidance and we proceeded on without the artwork.
I was disappointed in myself not knowing the consequences of my actions in this particular situation. I had taken such care in evaluating situations and our values of how and when to give without perpetuating continued negative impact.
Giving is a responsibility. When confronted with a giving situation if we are not clear on the consequences of that giving we may become frivolous in our generosity.
We take so much time to make our money; however, we don’t take the time to think about the implications of our giving.
It is clear that Africans want their children in school, at least the educated Africans. In some small communities, kids are used to bringing income and food into the home. You may question if a family can’t eat, why put the emphasis on education? The reality is, if a family can’t eat there is a good chance the future generations wont have much food either, unless someone in their family or community receives an education.
I encourage people to contribute to their community or country in a meaningful way. Collectively we can make such a huge impact on our surroundings. As I encourage generosity, I also encourage caution. No matter where you are, no matter how you contribute, think beyond the immediate euphoria of feeling good about ourselves for making a difference and train yourself to think of the long-term impact of your contribution. Are you helping or hurting?
Our Western mentality to ‘fix it’ and our need to feel we are helping can perpetuating a dependency mentality. The result, our ‘generosity’ may have the exact opposite affect.
The next time a child says “give me, give me” or “money, money” ask yourself, “Why am I giving to this child and not to future generations?”
Suzanne F Stevens Cultivates Conscious Contributions & Influential communications.
She International Speaker, Trainer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Host & Co-producer. She is a recipient of The International Women Alliance World of Difference Award in 2013. To find out more visit www.suzannefstevens.com
Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success and an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker. She empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca. * Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.