How can you take $100 and turn it into over $75,000? The answer is one of my favorite stories from the 2012 World Domination Summit (WDS).
In July 2012, about 1,000 people attended the WDS in Portland, Oregon. On the last day, Chris Guillebeau, the founder of WDS, ended the conference with a surprise. He gave a $100 bill to each of the attendees and told them he wanted to see how everyone could put the money to good use.
One of the people in attendance was Sarah Peck, who decided to use her $100 as a first step to raise money for charity: water. Sarah picked that charity because Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water spoke at WDS and talked about the value of clean water in developing countries. So with a $100 bill and the inspiration of Scott’s speech, Sarah set out to raise $29,000 for her 29th birthday. After lots of hard work and a naked swim across San Francisco Bay, she raised over $32,000. Here’s how she did it.
But that’s not the end of the story
Matt Madeiro read about Sarah’s effort and about the same time he also heard of Maggie Doyne who had started an orphanage and school for kids in Nepal. After thinking about what Sarah and Maggie were able to do, Matt decided to use his 25th birthday, December 25, 2012, as a goal to raise $25,000 to buy a bus for Maggie’s school. By Christmas Day 2012, Matt had raised over $43,000 for the school bus with plenty left over for a maintenance reserve fund.
So that initial $100 bill from Chris, plus a speech from Scott, inspired Sarah to raise over $32,000. Which gave Matt an idea to help Maggie and he ended up with $43,000 in donations. Total funds raised from $100? Over $75,000.
Did Scott realize how his speech about clean water eventually would lead to a school bus in Nepal? I’ll bet he would be glad to know his efforts ended up helping another worthwhile cause, even though it’s not what he set out to do.
After all, he wanted to encourage people to donate to his charity and his speech about clean water did inspire Sarah to use her $100 from Chris for a fundraiser. But then Matt would take that idea and raise enough money to buy the school bus.
From Chris and Scott to Sarah and then on to Matt and Maggie. A $100 bill, a speech, some ideas, inspiration, hard work and creativity all set in motion a chain reaction leading to longer lives and education. And who knows all the value that will come from those stronger, healthier lives?
Examples are everywhere
I know other people with a similar attitude. They live their own life and work on their own business but also think about the impact they can have on others. Others they will likely never meet.
For example, Joel Runyon is always doing something Impossible and he recently completed a fund raising project of $25,000 to build a school in Guatemala. He organized bungee jumping, ran an ultra-marathon and enlisted the help of over 300 people to make the December 31, 2012 deadline. This one project will give kids great opportunities and I’m sure some of them will grow up to live a life full of their own Impossible stories.
These stories are all from 2012 but with a new year there are plenty more examples. In January 2013, Alexis Grant is celebrating her birthday by raising money for charity: water and there’s only a few days left. Why not help out and make a donation before the deadline?
Someone is waiting
We work hard in life to reach our goals and we can see the results from our efforts. We have a bank balance, a diploma, health, family and friends, a passport full of stamps, dreams accomplished, and even a bathroom scale that seems to like us.
But some of our most valuable results we will never see. That’s okay because it’s just the way life is.
So fill your days with positive efforts. Push your limits. Create. Produce. Encourage. Mentor. Teach. Donate. Recommend. Set an example. Open doors. Plant seeds. Lift people up. Do what you can to make your life what you want it to be. For yourself, for your friends and family, for all those around you.
But also do all those things because in some unexpected moment you will start a chain reaction. A chain reaction that gives other people ideas, helps them and inspires them in ways you can’t even imagine. If a speech about water helps buy a school bus in Nepal then who knows what will come from your efforts?
Do what you can with your life. Tell your story. Start a chain reaction. Create a path for someone you don’t know. Someone you will never meet.
Someone is waiting.
photo credit: caleb company