New Year's Resolution: Move in next door

It's Christmas Eve and I have New Year's resolutions on the mind. You might say I'm moving on too quickly, but one is feeding into the other so I feel okay multi-holidaying. Consider my little math equation:

(Christmas + Gift-giving) x (New Years + Goal-setting) x Others / Self
= A Challenging 2010 with Kick-backs from Generosity 

Typically, seven or eight out of ten New Year's Resolutions have Self on center-stage: Lose weight, pay off debts, get a better job, quit smoking.... Still, I love the energy around this motivation-driven, list-making, endeavor. The cycle of time offers a yearly reminder and opportunity to straighten out the crooked parts of life, and many of us jump at the invitation.

But what if we mixed the goal-setting of New Years with the gift-giving of Christmas? We could end up with a more generous 2010. The cost of serving others will make it challenging, of course, but long-term rewards should outweigh any short-term sacrifices. What could this mean practically?

Practically speaking
Well, in the spirit of becoming vocationally good neighbors, it means using your imagination to move in next door to a consumer. In a recent article called "Eight Inches Away", I asked:

"If you practice law and your client lives next door, does this...make you treat her case differently? If you teach high school and your worst student lives next door, does it affect your relationship? And what if you make advertisements and your neighbor buys the gadgets you promote? Do you question what you're selling and how?"

I asked these question because I've lived and worked in a duplex for the past five years. My actual neighbor isn't a client but the situation has forced me to ask the questions. Loving your neighbor as yourself resides practically and essentially at the heart of work. This New Years, I have a chance to renew that goal of giving to customers and clients as I think about living eight inches away from them.

If you're looking for an addition to your resolution list, try this one out. The kick-backs are great (and they offer a nice little something for Self, too!)   

Read "Eight Inches Away" at The High Calling. Note to friends: No, we haven't moved. I don't know who lives in that photo.

The High Calling is a site about work and God.


Chris Cree December 30, 2009 at 9:27 AM  

Funny how God set up the system to encourage us to do the right thing by rewarding us for our generosity. It's as if he knows how we're wired. ;)

I like your formula. I'm not so big on New Year's resolutions, probably because of my lousy track record. But I'm all about reaping the rewards of a generous year.

Sam Van Eman December 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM  

I know we're supposed to give without expecting a return, but it sure makes it easier to give when something comes back, doesn't it?

Here's to a great year of giving and receiving, Chris!

Michele Corbett January 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM  

My friend over at is doing some cool thinking in this area of giving and impacting culture as he gears up to figure out what to do with his 100 Thing Challenge now that it's over.

Check it out.

Sam Van Eman January 9, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

Michele, thanks for adding Dave's link here. Not sure if you read it, but he was part of my inspiration for the High Calling Blogs article, "100 Thing Challenge, and other STPs."

P.S. Here's to eating one vegetable a day. ;)

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