Q: How do you know if you are making a difference?

A: If you are living your legacy as a voluntary philanthropist, then you are making a difference.

It’s only human to question and want to see results, but by what standards should we measure? Believe in your values; lead by example; listen to your heart. You know the world would be less but for the kindness of your actions, your thoughts and your love.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,” Mother Teresa said. “But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

“Empowerment Cycle” 

For many, empowerment is not simple, but it is intuitive. To bring clarity to the process, here are four distinct steps that create a cycle that helps design, optimize, and empower your life as a torchbearer for virtuous philanthropy. Here are the four steps of the “Empowerment Cycle.”

1. Affirm and Discover Your Core Values

A. How did your parents and grandparents influence you?

B. List three angels or heroes in childhood that inspired you.

C. Identify a difficult life experience – describe how values shaped your experience.

2. Align to Causes – “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Engage the REAL you:

A. What would make your community a better place?

B. What do you appreciate most about the opportunity to support one of the causes you now participate in?

3. Commit to the three Ts: time, talent and treasure. Hold Yourself Accountable.

A. Review current strategies. For example: how to say yes or no.

B. How do you maximize or leverage your giving?

C. What legal documents do you have in place?

4. Celebrate: Live a Purposeful Life

A. Confidence replaces doubt.

B. Choice replaces chance.

C. With less effort, more gets done.

D. You have the freedom to believe in the beauty of your dreams.

E. Speak your authentic voice and paint a vivid picture of what you believe, what your passion is, what you do about it, and how you do it.

F. List the following: ______________ is my purpose, _____________ is my passion, ______________ are my values.

Connect your passion with purpose. Be REAL in your philanthropy and don’t wait a single moment before starting to improve the world through your generous gifts of time, talent and treasure.