Generosity at Work

Generosity at work has so many possibilities. You know, doing something nice for people makes them appreciate you and it makes you feel good. Everybody wins. You are happier and they are happier.

I received an email that sums up the benefits of being generous that I want to pass on to all of you.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I don’t know if you remember “the rose challenge” from several years ago. I just want you to know that what you teach has long range impact. Here’s a great story, true and amazing at the same time. I hope it has impact on your other clients and even on the world in general.

There was a woman in our Total Leadership Connections program who was a model of patience and integrity. She was going through a tough time. Lost her job due to downsizing, left her marriage (or her marriage left her!) and she was starting to have physical symptoms from all the stress.

One day, in our meeting she said all she wanted was for someone to hold a hand out with compassion. She didn’t want a “handout” she wanted some comfort.

Later you told our group about “the rose challenge.”

Each of us was offered the option to buy a rose, just one rose and either give it to someone else or keep it for ourselves. No judgment. Give the rose where you think it will have the most impact.

I remember the power of the moment when at the next session we all brought roses to give to our struggling classmate. She sat with 14 roses in multiple colors and you could just see the bloom return to her cheeks.

Generosity….. she felt wonderful on the receiving end and we all felt spectacular on the giving end.

Now, here is where it gets fascinating.

Several years have passed and my son, having heard of “the rose challenge” who just graduated from college, decided to give a rose to a classmate he didn’t know very well. She is, as he told me, smart and pretty, and yet she didn’t get into the graduate school of her choice and seemed sad whenever he talked with her.

He felt awkward yet determined to follow through with this small gesture and a note saying “Yes you can. Just go for it.”

Days later she called him to thank him and this is where it’s amazing. She was talking with her mother and as she was telling her the story of the sweet rose of generosity the mother said, “Wait a minute. I’ll call you right back.”

It turns out that yes, you guessed it! This is the daughter of the woman in our TLC program.

How do these things happen?

All I know is that generosity brings light to this complex world and that the newest research shows that making generosity a regular habit has influence on long term wellbeing and is core to happiness.

Let’s all wake up and smell the roses!

With deep respect,


So, there you have it. Generosity of spirit is part of the character development in all of our programs. Just one small gesture of kindness can make the world of difference. It’s a habit worth keeping.



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Sylvia Lafair

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