April 6, 2020
It had been over a month since I’d been on a stage, as I sat in my office staring at a blank white board that had been filled with events scheduled for an epic 2020 just weeks prior, now canceled or postponed.
To me, all was lost.
No prospects, no opportunities, no interest in what I had to offer in a virtual setting.
How would I provide for my family?
Suddenly a ping on my phone.
A TEXT from a friend of a friend – yes we’d met before, but only in passing.
“Can you bring some joy to our employees in a 30 minute virtual performance? We just laid off 40 employees and are reeling during this situation. I can’t really offer you any money but happy to provide something of trade if you tell me what you need.”
The feeling of worthlessness began to subside.
Years of performing at a very high level, for fees that would make most people shocked to know were even an option, having stuck to that fee as a matter of principle for a decade…I was now willing to do this request for just about anything.
I replied with a heartfelt thanks and laid out my predicament –
“I would love to do it. I believe I can do 30 minutes, but I’m unable to hook up my DSLR camera and an external mic, since I don’t have the gear needed to make it really sound great musically at this point, as my voice doesn’t seem to be matching the camera…so it looks really unprofessional without this equipment I need to function at this point. But I’ll do my best with what I have.”
“What do you need?” was the response.
I described the items, letting it be known they were unavailable due to the panic of the pandemic.
Somehow, in a matter of minutes, this person found the impossible, 2 backordered items I was missing to complete my puzzle, and was now asking for my address to have it overnighted to my house!
I collapsed to the ground in gratitude as tears choked my ability to reply, even in text.
Having not slept for a month, trying anything I could to figure out next steps for survival of the long haul before me, this was The Gift that would launch me into surviving tragedy.
“What do you need?” is the ultimate gifting question.
It was 2 small items, that at the time, were both unavailable and too expensive for me to justify buying on credit, as people were in a bidding war over it on eBay – one of which was $300 brand new, but now in the 4-figures range.
This may not seem like the greatest gift at this time if you’re not in the midst of stewardship ruin, but to my family and I, this was the most incredible gesture I had received in more than 10 years.
The Gift now allows me to provide for my family, to bring joy to the world in the way I do best, to deliver smiles to strangers who feel a burden lifted as I offer my gift.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime;
Gift the man a fishing pole, hook, bait, sinkers and a tackle box, and you have a new best friend for life who will catch food for you.”
He was in need of what I could offer…I was in need of what he could provide.
The Gift doesn’t have to be financial – it can be a listening ear and compromise.
The Gift doesn’t have to be substantial – it can be a smile unseen beneath a mask, with joyful eyes.
The Gift doesn’t have to be consequential – it can be a subtle compliment which surprisingly strengthens family ties.
“What do you need?” to fulfill the job?
“What do you need?” to create your future?
“What do you need?” to see everything is a blessing?
What Promise Gift will you provide for someone in need, and what gifts have been provided to you during this time of your need?
~ jason hewlett
Leadership Coach * Virtual Keynote Speaker * Speaker Hall of Fame
The Promise To The One