Letter From the CEO: Nov 2016

Oct 28, 2016, 10:50 AM by

What is Enough?

We are about to enter the season of giving. During the coming weeks, many of us will spend a lot of time and money on our loved ones and some not-so loved ones (admit it, we all have one of those hanging about). What do we get the people we care about? What do we spend on them? What is too much and what is too little? How many of us will schedule a day off to hit about 20 stores to find presents? These are the holiday questions.

But the process has become about checking a box as opposed to finding something meaningful. Many of us will give donations instead of buying gifts; this can also be the same as checking a box, but we feel better about that because it is charity.

Let me recommend that you start thinking about it and shopping now.

There is nothing wrong with buying gifts. There is nothing wrong with donating to charity in someone’s name. But it should be with meaning, with thought and with caring. It should be accompanied by a note that says why this gift is important and why you took the time to get it for them. The same thing applies when you make a donation in their name: “I paid for a kid to have swim lessons in your name because I know that you almost drowned when you were young and how traumatic that was for you. Because I care about you, I don’t want someone else to have that experience.” Bam, mission accomplished!

When we give gifts that are filled with love, the person receiving them feels loved because you took time to really think it through. And isn’t time our most precious gift we have been given? When we spend time picking the perfect gift, it truly shows love and caring.

It is an easy time to talk about gifts and giving and what is enough because it is literally the time of year for giving thanks and giving stuff; the harder conversation is applying that to our lives. I had breakfast with a retired gentleman this week, and we began that discussion. He asked me if I was sticking around here or moving on to another Y. I told him that I had an opportunity last year to go to another Y for almost double the pay, but I turned it down. I went on to explain that I had an obligation to my kids not to move them around again, and I had an obligation to this Y to see our merger through to success. Also, I felt that I had enough money to pay for my life and that was not a motivator. Sure, I would like a bigger TV or newer car or maybe a cooler house — but to what end?

He told me that he feels bad for people who do not know what enough is because it probably adds more stress to their lives. That is kind of profound, don’t you think? If you feel that you have enough in your life then what else can you focus on? How much stress falls away? What is enough to be actually happy? Did that second house really make you happy or did having dinner most nights with people you love make you happy?

Certainly, that is one of the most personal questions you can ask yourself or someone else. What is enough? Do you work all the time to provide for the family but never see your kids? Or do you spend so much time with your family that there are not enough resources for them to have their basic needs met? Both extremes are bad — and as we know, extremes are usually bad.

Perhaps this year for the holidays we ponder this question of what is enough at home, at work and for what we give. If you can answer that question for yourself, it may turn out to be the best gift you can give to yourself and those who you love.


Thank You, 
Chris Coker 
CEO/President of YMCA of Boulder Valley