Life Lessons

Doing Good By Any Means

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“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” ~John Wesley

Several years ago, my real estate manager introduced me to micro-lending. I had no idea what micro-lending was and I didn’t know that almost anyone can participate–by anyone, I mean people who can afford to lend out $25 at a time.

I was hesitant at first because when I think of giving money to someone in a foreign country, the only thing that comes to mind are the emails from Nigeria. But, I started seeing more and more written about and finally felt comfortable enough to make my first loan.

The initial reluctance to lend money to people in other countries has vanished and I’ve just made my 109th loan.

NOTE: Before you do the math of 109 x 25, Kiva lets you relend the money you get back from other loan recipients.

I am an entrepreneur by my own definition, and probably not in too many other people’s minds, but I’m the kind of entrepreneur without a successful business…for now.

I know that’s confusing so let me explain. I have worked on my own since the late 1990’s in various capacities. The one solo business I had the most success was in real estate but I truly hated it. The people I dealt with were unpredictable in their behaviors and almost never in a good way. Ah, but the stories I have now are equal parts priceless and cringe-worthy. Perhaps there’s a book idea sitting right there in front of me.

When it came time for me to renew my license this past August, I delayed and delayed until the deadline passed and then I was relieved I let it go which surprised me given that I had spent so much time, energy, and money to get the license in the first place. I swore back in 2002 that I’d never let my license lapse. And yet, in 2018, that’s exactly what I did.

I don’t think I will ever be a real estate agent ever again. I can imagine myself doing something else in real estate but never selling–it’s no longer an option for me. Every time I even mention real estate, everyone in the room shouts, “NO!” My family saw how miserable I was and how often I went to the doctor. Each time I’d visit my physician, she’d take note of my never ending list of symptoms and ask, “Are you stressed?” Uh, yeah.

Since that time, I’ve come up with so many business ideas–one of them was even good (based on two friends supportive, reassuring comments), but I’ve followed through on exactly none. Typical.

Why no follow-through? Lots of reasons but the main one is social anxiety and a severe reluctance to meet new people. Even when I was pet-sitting for fun and profit (ha!), I hated meeting the dog owners. When they canceled the meet ‘n greet, I was relieved–not exactly the best way to achieve financial success. I loved working with the four-legged friends but was nervous around the two-legged creatures.

Perhaps I need to reconsider working with plants. They’re amazingly easy to deal with and have only sent me to the hospital once.

Even though I can not seem to follow-through on my own business ideas, I marvel at those who can which is why I lend money to the true entrepreneurs, not the people like me who have an asterisk after their name. The people who wake up every morning and go out into the world seeking more business for themselves have my undying admiration and respect. Until I discover what I truly want to do with the rest of my life, I will continue to give to those who do.

One of my goals in 2018 and 2019 was to volunteer. While creating the list of New Year’s resolutions, my intention was to help people in person. I felt like a failure after reviewing my actions in 2018 because I never volunteered for the charities I had in mind when I made the list; however, I neglected to give myself credit for donating to people directly. After all, I’m doing “all the good I can, by all the means I can.”

I’d still like to volunteer in person but for now I can do what I can with my bank account and my gently used stuff I no longer need (never needed?).

How about you? Is one of your goals for 2019 to donate your time, your money, your used stuff, or your skills?


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