by Lex Gillette
If you’ve ever been to the South, then you have to know that there are some pretty funny sayings and expressions that are thrown around.
“You’re from my neck of the woods,” meaning that you’re from my area of town.
If you’re like “a bump on a log,” it means you’re absolutely lazy.
“Well that just dills my pickle,” translates as, “That makes me really happy!”
If someone’s upset, “She’s pitching a hissy fit.” If she gets even angrier, “She’s pitching a hissy fit with a tail on it.”
But if there’s one expression that’s universal and decidedly not funny it’s, “I’m broke.”
Having no money is rough. It weighs on you in ways that affect everything from health to education to self-esteem.
Money isn’t the only currency in our lives. Keep this in mind, a lot of people in this world “go broke,” not because they spend all their money, but because they fail to spend any of their time.
You realize how much something is worth to you when time is the currency.
When we look at a day, we’re all equals. We each have the same 24 hours to spend. It’s easy for us to throw money at our favorite foods, hobbies, and charities. That’s a simple transaction, but it really costs you something when your time is on the line.
For the past five years, I’ve been an athlete-mentor for an organization called Classroom Champions (CC). CC pairs Olympians, Paralympians, and professional athletes with students in underserved areas around the country and abroad.
As a mentor, I teach kids about important skills such as goal setting, perseverance, teamwork, courage, and healthy living. Each month during the school year is dedicated to one of these topics.
My job is to record a video lesson and explain what that skill is, how it looks, and how I use it in my life as an athlete, speaker, and human being. At the end of each video lesson, I give my students a challenge, something that they can do to apply that skill.
My students then report back to me on what they learned and how they applied the monthly topic to their daily lives. Students may record videos, write essays, or in the case of my most recent students in Phoenix, AZ, record a podcast. (It may come as no surprise that I prefer podcasts to videos.)
It was really exciting to listen to those kiddos chat about the short- and long-term goals they set for the year, how they persevered through their challenges, and how they thought more about their health than they did before.
Being a part of this program takes time. But you can tell how much this program is truly worth to me when I’m donating my time as the currency. These kids are so worth it. I thoroughly enjoy giving my time, sharing my experiences, and teaching skills that help them succeed.
It would be really easy to throw a few dollars at CC and hope that the funds would do the trick (and make no mistake about it, money is needed). But it’s relationships that make a lasting impact. The time we spend with these bright young minds is what makes a difference to them, and it’s what they’ll remember moving forward in life.
You can make more money, but you can’t make any more time.
Don’t short-change yourself because you fail to spend your time wisely. Failure to give your time can leave you and others “broke.”
Remember, even if you give a little, it means a lot. Take time to chit-chat and understand your colleagues at work. Spend the extra few seconds to ask the cashier how his day is going. Thank a police officer for her work.
And when it comes to the people who matter most to you, be absolutely certain you spend time on them: laugh and play with your kids, take time out of your day for your spouse, remind your family how much they’re worth.
Don’t go broke. Spend your time.
Lex Gillette is a professional keynote speaker, 4x Paralympic Medalist, and 3x Long Jump World Champion who is currently training to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. He has been wowing audiences of all sizes with his athletic gift since 2004, and he has been inspiring audiences on the corporate stage since 2013. His ultimate goal is to teach others to look past their current reality and challenge them to see further than they ever thought possible.
Photo credits: Clock image by EtterOps