Remember the old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”?
This expression and it’s message didn’t occur to me given all the commercials filling my inbox, texts and Facebook news feed, although it fit quite well. Instead it occurred as I mulled a question asked of me relative to the Indianapolis COFFEE in the NEIGHBORHOOD Christmas and holiday celebration later this week.
Here’s what I was asked: “Are you having vendor tables at your Christmas event? If so, please send me the pertinent information”.
Innocuous you might say; yet it irritated me no end. So much so that I was still mulling it days later. My response was “no. we’re not” and left it at that. I knew the person asking would not attend and most likely because we had decided not to ‘commercialize’ our celebration. The decision to do so would hold down attendance; but we would be true to the Spirit of the season – the true “Spirit” of the season.
So what does that have to do with giving a fish for one day’s meal or teaching someone to fish for a lifetime of food?
If I meet you for the 1st or 2nd time at an event , and am in your presence mainly because I want to make a sale (or add you to my ‘leads list’); then it’s somewhat like handing you a fish; patting self on back for doing so and moving onto the next person who wanders by my table.
But if I meet you at an event, feel a sense of camaraderie and sincerely want to get to know you better by developing an ongoing friendship; then I’ve opened the door to not only learning about you; but developing the opportunity to learn from each other. In others, words, created an open door to teaching and being taught. A beautifully successful reciprocal relationship! One that can last for a lifetime with amazing positive results!
Am I anti-sales? Of course not! But I am anti-commercialization of Christmas. It begins with Black Friday, which actually now begins on Thanksgiving Day. Follows with Small Business Saturday which I wholeheartedly endorse. Then comes Cyber Monday in which we’re all urged to buy online. And each day from now until Christmas will be one huge commercial pursuit.
Somewhere in the grand scheme of things we’ve lost the true meaning of the Season and the important message it holds for each of us. We’ve sought the fish for a day over building community with like-minded folks – in our case, women in small business, which ultimately leads to learning from each other in ways we might never have the opportunity to do when we’re just hawking fish day after day after day!
Here’s what’s really important: The greatest gift I can give is myself – my authentic self! (Click to tweet)
It doesn’t take a vendor table at a Christmas holiday event to do that. It does take arriving with a desire to get to know others in the room. It has to do with connecting with at least one other person who speaks to my heart and draws me to want to know her better.
It takes the realization that while making a sale at the most commercial season of the year is important – it will never replace making a friend; building a relationship and sharing each other’s ‘richness’ that both of us might become richer because of the experience!
Christmas is about a gift – the Gift. It’s about celebrating and commemorating the birth of a child Who calls us into relationship. With Him and His Father. It’s about learning and growing and becoming. It was never meant to be the season to sell, sell sell. It’s about learning to fish that each of us might have food – spiritual food – for a lifetime.
Most of all, it’s about sharing that food with others. Others with whom I enjoy companionship and camaraderie.
If I may, I encourage those of you who read this post, to take a step back and consider to what you devote yourself this Season. Are you eager to have a vendor table and take home a fist full of business cards that may or may not pan out?
Or are you eager to be in the company of women with whom you have made a connection – and add at least one other to your community of friends with whom you can find the right lures and bait each other’s lines?
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Neighborhood Boutiques-OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Empowering Women to Thrive
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/2382941337/pjm5n494765lxfks49h7_400x400.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally and professionally. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]