Let’s Get to the Heart of the Matter


Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Exponential Living 4: Have a Servant’s Heart and a Giving Spirit

When most people hear the phrase – “a servant’s heart and a giving spirit” – they instinctually think about a philanthropist or someone donating material items or giving away lump sums of money.


While all of this is wonderful and beneficial to our communities, when we only view the phrase this way, we miss what I believe is essential to giving and serving.


To truly encapsulate the intention of a servant’s heart and a giving spirit, we must first learn to serve God, ourselves next and then our families. Let me explain what I mean.


Have you ever met a church leader who serves relentlessly and gives generously of their time and talents, yet, there is a major disconnect with him and his children? I have.


Have you ever met a mom who is constantly showing up to serve at every PTA sponsored event, is the classroom mom – bringing gifts to teachers on every holiday, yet, her children are out of control? I have.


Have you ever met a professional entertainer who spends hours giving freely of his time and talents for fundraising events, yet, won’t spend time helping his nephew learn to play the guitar? I have.


Do you get my point?


You can serve and give freely to the world and still miss the point.


The most important giving and serving is to God first, ourselves next and then our families.


Sounds simple…right? The idea is simple but the implementation takes work because it requires us to be still….longer.


Being still for high achievers can be really difficult.


I know because this was one of the toughest Principles for me to personally implement. It requires I serve from a deeper place and really get into the world of my loved ones. It requires that I not just be at the table but that I show up fully present even when other things are pulling for my attention. It calls for me to put down my to do list – my plans – and simply BE.

I recall one month a few years ago, I was doing a lot of traveling for business. I gave my mom instructions to help my daughter, who was in the first grade at the time, study for her spelling test. After a long week on the road and an even longer flight, I arrived at our home. I greeted everyone, sat my bags down and immediately began internally going through my upcoming week. Remembering my daughter had a test on Friday – it was now Wednesday – I asked my daughter if she had studied. My mom jumped in and quickly said (in that loving grandmother tone), “Oh no baby, she hasn’t studied yet.”


I was furious. Givers in the world, who forget to serve themselves, tend to be a bit short tempered because they are always running on fumes. This described me well and my attitude showed it.


As I started to bark out orders, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me “STOP, Sheri. Just STOP. It’s only Wednesday. The test isn’t until Friday. Everything will be okay.”


I took a breath and calmed myself down. I realized in that moment how ungrateful I was being. After all, my mom was there for us, helping nurture and being present with our daughter as we were traveling or working. I hadn’t even said thank you. Plus my daughter hadn’t seen me in a week and barking orders was not what she needed from me. After taking a deep breath, I asked her what she would like to do. She tenderly said, “Momma, I want to play cards.” So that’s exactly what we did.


I put away all plans, all lists and I stayed present with my baby girl for over an hour playing cards, enjoying her and serving her where she needed me.


Since that time I’ve gotten much better at serving my family. And you know what the results have been….a full heart and a peaceful mind.


If you are like I was, it’s time to start serving God first, yourself next and then your family. Everyone and everything else is to receive from your overflow. That’s Exponential Living.


Watch my Exponential Conversation with Tracy Mourning as she describes what having a Servant’s Heart and a Giving Spirit means to her.


For help on the above, preorder my book, Exponential Living® -Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are, (Penguin Random House), which helps high achievers to integrate their personal desires into their life without detriment to their professional achievement. The Foreword is written by Usher and features interviews with Actor/Rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, TV/Film Producer Will Packer, syndicated radio personality Bert Weiss, Actors Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, retired NFL Player Peerless Price, and retired NBA Player/Philanthropist Darrell Griffith – to name a few. My book is on sale date February 7, 2017.

Sheri Riley
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Sheri Riley is a wife, mother, daughter, and entrepreneur and we all know this is not easy, but she’s discovered how to make it simple. After 20 years of creating marketing strategies for Usher, TLC, Toni Braxton, Converse, Nike, NBA, and Turner, she now serves as an Empowerment Speaker and Life Strategist. She speaks around the world, sharing her message of "Peace is the New Success®". Her award-winning book, Exponential Living® -Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are® (Penguin Random House) is the guide to integrate your personal desires into your life without detriment to your professional achievement.

Learn more at SheriRiley.com. Instagram/Twitter @SheriRiley, Linkedin/Facebook @SheriRileydotcom.

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