I celebrated my 57th birthday on Monday just gone. I am in lockdown, and, on the day, I was unable to see any of my family or friends. As I woke up in the morning, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy it was my birthday, on the other, what could I do? What could have been a normal day in lockdown actually became the most memorable birthday I have ever had and may ever have. The highlight was saying no the chicken.

Bear with me, I will get to the chicken. As I woke up on my birthday, I thought about the day and what I would do. I couldn’t do any of the normal birthday things, so I just asked the question, what will I do today? It was interesting that the overwhelming feeling I had was gratitude. I was overwhelmingly grateful for my life, my family, my friends and for the gift that is my existence on this planet. It was in that moment I decided to give myself a gift on my birthday. That gift was to give to others. The important thing about this day of giving I was planning, was that it was to give freely with no agenda or need to get anything in return.

Now, I do believe wholeheartedly in the law of reciprocity that states what you give you will receive. I didn’t give wanting to receive, but I did know that by giving, I open myself up to receive. The first thing I did that morning was donate money to my friend Pablo Miller’s GoFundMe campaign, as he was raising money to help young people with genetic disease. He talks about this in my podcast, Another Day, another 5K. He has run every day for over 500 days and is using it as a way to raise this money as his five-year-old daughter has a genetic disease.

Then out into the world I went. I gave half a dozen healthy energy drinks to a group of tradies on a worksite around the corner from my home. I gave a healthy energy drink and a copy of my book, The Wellness Puzzle to a bus driver as he stopped at a bus stop. I went to my local café and paid for a lady’s milk, and a gentleman’s coffee. I went to the local shopping centre with a pile of my books, and I gave away about ten copies to a variety of wonderful people. One of those people, after I gave her and her daughter a copy, bought another copy for twenty dollars. I took that twenty dollar note and gave it to the owner of another local café and asked him to put it on the till for the next few customers.

After a couple of hours, I felt amazing, and as I said, it was a birthday I will never forget. The giving was way more for me than it was for the people I gave small tokens to. I am excited about the ripple effect of this giving. The lady I bought the milk for, said she would do the same thing on her birthday. One of the ladies I gave a book to put a beautiful post on Instagram. Then, there was the lady who insisted I take the chicken.

I gave her two books, one for her and one for her teenage daughter. She was all in a fluster, because she was determined to pay for the books, or at least give me something in return. I graciously declined all her offers and just encouraged her to pay-it-forward. As she was about to turn and walk away, she made one last attempt. She had just come out of the supermarket with some shopping, and she said, I have just bought this cooked chicken, would you please take it, and I will go back and get another? So uncomfortable was she with just receiving, she had to keep trying to give me something. Again, I declined, but I know that moment impacted her life. I have blurred her face in the picture you can see as I don’t have permission to post it publicly.

Here’s the end of the story, because as always, my desire is to inspire you into positive action. Kindness, giving and making a positive difference in the life of others will have an effect that you and I can really never comprehend, or will never really know. But what you do need to know is that, when giving without an agenda, you will receive. I woke up the next day and got into my normal routine. Part of that regime is to track my finances. I log my income and expenses each day. I opened my bank account, looked at the balance, then I stopped and looked again. Something was different. Something had happened that I was not expecting. A large sum of money had been deposited into my account. When you give, you will receive.

I want to encourage you to make this week a week of giving, knowing that your giving will start a ripple effect of positivity that will flow back to you. It is my hope this week that, as a result of your kindness, someone will insist that you take the chicken.