At this time of year, I’d usually be talking about all the awards our magazines had won from the Florida Magazine Association competition in Orlando, where in previous years we’ve taken virtually every trophy possible—Publisher of the Year, Editor of the Year, Sales Manager of the Year, Best Website, Best Ad Design, Best Column Writing, the list goes on. This year, however, I chose not to invest the time, energies, and financial resources of my company to enter. Sure, it’s gratifying to put those awards on your shelves when you’re trying to establish yourself, but I’ve found awards to be temporary gratification at best.
I wanted something more lasting and meaningful.
The greatest man who ever lived uttered a simple statement, “There’s more happiness in giving than receiving.” Of course, He was talking about doing something for people without expecting anything in return, giving to someone who couldn’t repay you. He knew that acts of kindness would have a profound impact on our lives.
I’ve tried to put those words into practice on a personal basis for most of my adult life, having found lasting pleasure in doing so. But this year, I made a conscious business decision to kick it up a notch, concentrating less on self accolades and expanding that same principle into my professional life.
Since that decision, I’ve re-focused Ocala Style on its mission to deliver real stories about real people who build up our community. In recent months, we’ve dedicated more editorial space to organizations and individuals that educate and provide services for the city in which we all live.
But I knew we could do even more.
In August, we re-introduced an old idea—with a twist. Our popular feature, “Design Dilemma,” which transformed local families’ homes one room at a time, received a sharper focus and a more applicable name, “Design Dilemma (With A Heart).” Through our magazine resources and the generosity of local building and accessory stores and talented designers, our goal was to not only make over the living spaces, but the lives of people in our community who needed it the most—the sick, the helpless, the elderly, and the abandoned. In other words, those who had no way to repay us.
You know what? An amazing thing happened. The spirit of giving in the office has become almost infectious, with many of our clients and friends lining up to help. The countless time and money we’ve contributed to local causes will last for years; the rooms we’ve transformed at local charities will endure for decades; and the people we’ve lifted up— either directly or indirectly—will affect generations. I know I will carry the joy from these experiences in my heart far longer than the thrill of another award hanging on my wall.
How do I know this? It’s in the eyes of my employees when they discuss the organizations they’re involved in and it’s on the faces of the people we’ve been able to help. Their responses are the real reward.
Yes, there is much more happiness in giving than receiving. In fact, it’s not even close.