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One of my favorite holiday movies is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It is a delightful story of the life and impact of one man, named George Bailey, on the lives of people in his community. While the movie wasn’t a box office success when it was released in 1946, it is now considered one of the greatest films ever made.

[callout]This post is part of a series based on the book Today Matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee success by Dr. John C. Maxwell.[/callout]

In the movie, George is considering ending his life on Christmas Eve. After his uncle makes an expensive mistake, George reflects on all of the sacrifices he has made to help others. Before he can jump off the bridge, Clarence, George’s guardian angel, jumps in the river. George jumps into the river to save Clarence.

During their conversation after George saves Clarence, George states, “he wishes he had never been born.” Clarence grants George’s wish and shows George what life in Bedford Falls would have been like without George Bailey. As he travels around Bedford Falls, George has the opportunity to see how his generosity impacted Bedford Falls and the people who lived there.

After coming to his senses, George asks Clarence for his life back. He goes home to find all of the people he helped in the community at his house to help him. George is called, “The richest man in town.” The movie closes with Clarence earning his angel wings.

It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us why generosity matters. Throughout the story, as George begins to realize his impact on the community, we see his focus shift from himself to others. He recognizes how his choices added value to others. As the story closes, George realizes his choice to give to others was a blessing for him also.

At the beginning of the movie, George Baily is lamenting his lack of success. At the end of the movie, George moved beyond success to significance.

[callout]As a leader, our focus is always on maximizing our resources to achieve success. However, our goal should be to move beyond success to significance.[/callout]

So how can you achieve significance as a generous leader? In her article, 10 Habits to Help You Become a More Generous Leader, Lolly Daskal offers the following habits to help you become a more generous leader:

  1. Pay attention to others
  2. Share your gifts and talents
  3. Give your time to others
  4. Show people they are important
  5. Champion your people
  6. Publicly celebrate success
  7. Distribute leadership
  8. Empower others
  9. Over-communicate
  10. Seek out opportunities to be generous

Generosity is a mindset.

[shareable cite=”Margot Anderson”]Generous leaders view the world through the lens of abundance where much is to be gained rather than lost.'[/shareable]

What needs do you see around you in your workplace or community?

Your leadership guide,

Dr. Kim Moore | Your Leadership Guide | kimdmoore.com

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About the author

Hi, I'm Kim, Your Leadership Guide. I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!