I'm pretty sure most of us don't have any free time lying around gathering moss. Certainly everyone I know is pushing pretty hard to make ends meet, keep clients/bosses happy and have some semblance of the "life" that's supposed to at least attempt to "balance" our work.

But even with the candle burning at both ends, I'm going to have the audacity to encourage you to give a little more.

What can you do?

Right now there are people in your network who could use a hand. And it's a safe bet you have something to offer. Maybe it's a specific expertise, like looking over their tax situation before year end to help them identify/avoid hiccups. Or perhaps you have a connection or two that could open a much-needed door. It might even be as simple as manning the cash register for an hour so your pal can go to the dentist without closing shop. Or putting your sewing skills to work mending a business outfit in need of a quick repair.

Make it happen.

Many of us do this naturally. But with things a little tenser right now, I'm making an effort to be more deliberate about helping friends where I can with the talents I have to offer:

  • Helping one friend set and stay on-task with some goals in preparation of a big launch.
  • Assisting another plan his next career move and build a great set of job-search content.
  • Working a booth for an hour at an expo in town.

Yes, it means a few more meetings and emails and "transactions" added to an already cumbersome to-do list. But the return on that investment's been great. My friends feel supported, hopeful, relieved, whatever. And I feel great doing something relatively easy for me that has a big impact for someone I care about.

Lend a hand.

Take a look around your network with an eye toward how you can help someone today, tomorrow, next week. What can you bring to them that will improve their situation? And before you go feeling all overwhelmed, remember: little things count. Think small. A hand will do. You don't need a forklift.