I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend, whether you’re in the US or not.
Thanksgiving is an unusual holiday for me, dotted with “non-traditional” experiences.
Back in 2004, I had just moved to Atlanta right after my youngest daughter was born. She was only one month old, and we drove down to Disney World on Thanksgiving night. We spent Thanksgiving dinner at McDonald’s in Lake City, Florida (don’t judge!).
In 2012, en route to Maryland to make a surprise visit to a family gathering, I was pulled over for speeding (don’t judge!) near Richmond, Virginia. Evidently, I was driving above the speed limit enough that it became a criminal offense, not just a traffic violation. That means that I would have an actual criminal record. I had to hire a lawyer and drive back up to Richmond to go to court a couple of months later, where I managed to have the charge reduced to a traffic violation. After court fees, hefty fines, attorney fees, gas, hotel, food, and wasted time, the net effect was a $4,000+ speeding ticket (but at least I’m not a criminal). Lesson: do NOT speed in Virginia!
But it was Thanksgiving in 2013 that really made a profound impact on me.
We traveled to Australia and Fiji for a week, and then hit Disneyland on the way back home. As you might expect, it was a phenomenal trip for many reasons. I went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. I went parasailing for the first time. For Thanksgiving dinner, we ate at Cardo’s Steakhouse in Port Denarau, Fiji, sitting waterside at the marina. I can say without hyperbole that they served, hands down, the most incredible lamb chops. Ever.
Treasure House is a place that takes in children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or abused. Rates of abuse in Fiji are rising every year, and places like Treasure House are becoming more and more important to help nurture and protect these children.
Given their lot in life, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got there. What I experienced changed my life. We spent the day there playing, talking, and interacting with the children. What struck me was that instead of feeling sad, depressed, or angry, as is their right, they were incredibly happy, joyous, and full of life. They had energy. They had sparkle. They had zest. They had love.
It definitely showed that they were grateful that a family from the other side of the globe took the time to visit with them. But it was I who was inspired by them. I was truly touched by their infectious joy and spirit. They will not be knocked down by the circumstances that no child ever deserves to experience.
And they were this way because the incredible, loving staff at Treasure House gave them a chance to rediscover their childhood innocence that was so brutally taken from them. Thanks to people like Ulamila, the administrator there, these children had an environment where they could thrive and grow to be conscientious, well-adjusted, and giving members of society.
As I reflected on the experience at the time, it dawned on me that the reason I was able to even make this visit was because I had reached a level of success in my business that gave me the means and ability to make this journey, experience this inspiration, and see first-hand the great work being done by people who will never publicly win any awards or gain any recognition for their dedication. So if my business enabled me to help these children’s lives, why couldn’t I teach others to do the same?
When I launched my very first marketing training info-product back in March this year, I recounted this same story within the product itself. I’ve also said to you over and over that I am truly interested in your success, which is why I always ask for your feedback to see if I can help facilitate it. I want you to be successful because I want you to change a life. Not just your life. Not just your family’s life. But the life of someone or something beyond. Your Treasure House, whatever that might be.
To this day, I continue to support Treasure House so that they can continue to inspire the children of Fiji. It is no coincidence that I happened to learn of them during Thanksgiving, and that I owe much gratitude to them.
If you do have a cause or mission that you’re passionate about, please reply and tell me about it! I would love to know how you are going to change the world. And then I’d love to help you do it. If you want to get there faster, check out www.leenazal.net/protege-elite.