My favorite gift from Christmas 2020 was a stone.
Aline, my beautiful bride of 22 years, likes to paint. She painted three smooth beach stones, one for me, one for our boy, D’Angelo and another for our girl, Marie-Soleil.

Our town has a population of 547 people. There are two black people in town. Marie-Soleil is one of them. She was adopted from a hospital in Chattanooga when she was three days old.

Aline painted a Black power fist for her. On the back, she painted, “I will always love you”. Marie-Soleil loves it because it represents a history of her people and also the possibilities for her future.

We live in Canada, where snow lingers for 153 days. Hockey is the sport of Canadians. D’Angelo likes hockey, but he loves baseball. He eats baseball when others think about girls, cars, and beer.

Aline painted the Major League Baseball Logo for him. On the back, she wrote, “Everything is Possible”.

She painted the Wizard Academy logo on the third one.

I hold a special room in my heart for the Academy, and she knows it.

On the back, she printed, “Keep Dreaming Big”.

We had other gifts, but Aline’s gifts will be cherished, never sold or thrown away.

They represent dreams, passions, and possibilities.

These little stones remind me why I love her.

Her encouragement and support are the true sparks behind our marriage.

I am a dancer, and she writes the music.
I am a tree, and she is the sun.
Her heart glows onto others and makes me want to grow.

Generosity is important to creating positive vibes for your business.

There are only two things you can give: money or time.

We don’t have to give grandiose or expensive gifts to have an impact on others.
Aline knows generosity is a currency for love.
And time is the spice that makes generosity taste best.

People will happily take your money. And will quickly forget what you gave.
Time is more valuable than money. It’s a limited resource.

My friend Wayne McKay likes to ask people their full name. He asks about their hometown, their children. He like to take extended amounts of time getting to know people.

He doesn’t make small talk.
All talks are long.
He likes people and he wants to get to know them.

His superpower is his memory for names. I was on a business trip with him in 2016. At the breakfast counter, we made “small talk” with a guy who was a captain in the Coast Guard. Thirty minutes later, the captain wished us “fair winds” (goodbye).

Five years later, the amazing Wayne named that captain, unprompted.
He didn’t write it down.
He never met him again.
He pulled it out of his filing cabinet for a brain, section “Names”.

Jim Sinegal, of Costco, used to wear a nametag when he visited his stores.
It simply said, “Jim”. Not Founder, not President. Just “Jim”.
He paid himself considerably less than the average CEO. He paid his employees 40% more than Sam’s Club. He was a good guy. Customers and employees loved him. They rewarded Costco with more money because Jim was a good guy.

Whether you remember names, donate your time to a charity, or take the time to do something special for someone, your efforts plant feelings onto hearts.
Just like Aline did with her smooth simple stones.

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