Why does giving feel so good?

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Melinda and me at the 150th Anniversary Kick Off Gala for our alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College

On Halloween night, 30 years ago, a small, wiry college boy dressed like a “tree” met a twinkling, blonde college girl dressed like “Raggedy Andy” in a sea of partiers. The sparks that flew still ignite the tree today.

Yes, Melinda and I met at a 1982 Halloween boondoggle at Gustavus Adolphus College.  I’m proud to say that the tree and the rag-doll have a strong satisfying marriage that is based on giving.  My contemporary wisdom tells me that marriages thrive when each partner “gives” more than they “take.” We all know some days are better than others!  And yet, if you still want to give in the morning, it’s going to be a great day!

One of the sparks today is our love affair with Gustavus.  We are heavily invested with Ben and Katie both attending the college — leading and growing in so many ways.  Gustavus continues to be one of the tap roots for the family tree.  And so, we are giving.  And it feels Good.

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Christ Chapel, at the center of Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

This week, we made the largest charitable commitment of our lifetime.  A five year commitment in cash and a lifetime legacy gift.  Let’s be clear: they aren’t going to name a building after us…but maybe a hallway.  As a self-funded entrepreneur, financially I’m worth way more dead than alive — and we’re still paying two sets of college tuition! But Melinda and I searched our souls and made the commitment to participate with a lead gift for Campaign Gustavus.  We cut a few things from the family budget, carved a big chunk out of our will and gave it to Gustavus.  We dug deep and it feels Good.  We intend to continue the good work of the Center for Servant Leadership Mentoring Program and Music Scholarships.

The whole process got me thinking – and dreaming – about “where is this Seven Fs thing going, anyway?” Recently I’ve been inspired by Richard Lieder, John Busacker and Harvey Mackay – all successful authors and speakers.  The Gustavus gift process helped clarify my intentions to put the Seven Fs on the map as a framework for Good Leadership. The world today needs good leaders — people who are consumed by leading a well-rounded Seven Fs life and driven by goodness.

We intend to rival Stephen Covey or the Chicken Soup for the Soul entities one day.  That’s my big, hairy, audacious goal…and it is enough to shake the leaves off the old tree!

Good leaders follow their hearts.  They dig deep and spread their good will by giving more than they take.  Every day.

Will you please send me a note with your own thoughts about why giving feels so good to you?

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There's me, in the center of the Big Givers to Gustavus...under dressed, and overwhelmed with their generosity.

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