“I feel exhilarated,” declared Jay Deutsch, after giving $50,000 and a van to the youth football program, Heart of the City. “I’m exhilarated!” he exclaimed after writing cheques to Stepping Stone, an organization that promotes literacy for pre-school children and their parents at the end of his adventures on Secret Millionaire. JayDHis word choices got my attention, but something else had me cry my eyes out, just like I have every time I’ve watched an episode of Undercover Boss.

What is it that moves me to the point of blubbering? (Granted I’ve been known to cry at most episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, but this is at another level.) If you are unfamiliar with these two shows, both involve a wealthy person giving money to deserving folks of more limited means. Although there is admirable generosity, I think what gets me is that it is open-hearted loving kindness.

This speculation has me connect exhilaration with service and other heart virtues in ways I haven’t quite seen before. I’ve long aligned with ideas about how we can all be great and find true joy in contributing to others and to the community. Now I see how enlivening it is to combine human connection, service, and loving kindness. Now that may occur as “duh, of course,” so perhaps I need to elaborate.

So much of the discourse about exhilaration has one focus internally. What do I need to do to take care of myself? What kind of environment do I need? How do I create conditions to be at my best? How do I need to interact with the conversations and leadership around me to excel? That great paradox returns: by getting our attention off of ourselves and onto being of service to others, we experience more happiness, satisfaction, and aliveness.

This line of exploration opens up some great new directions for me and I hope that it does for you, too. I’m genuinely Psyched for Monday.

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