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Career Coach: Share Your Gifts

In this month's "Career Coach," Pamela Kleibrink Thompson talks about sharing your gifts during the holiday season.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present.

For many, December is a time for giving and receiving gifts. But this is a good time to think about the gift we receive every day -- the gift of life. Here are some ideas to make the most of yours.

Each of us has tremendous power to make the world a better place. Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Each of us has an opportunity every single day to be an extraordinary person and to make a change in the life of another. As Mother Teresa pointed out, "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

My friend Tunde, who is from Nigeria, always has a ready smile and is one of the most positive people I know. He is always ready to help someone in need. His outlook is always upbeat and uplifting. He has an open mind and an open heart and gives sage advice when asked. He is a joy to be around because he embraces joy and life. You can't help but feel enriched by his presence and he makes the world a better place just by being in it.

When you are standing in line waiting to pay for the material presents you will give this holiday season, make sure your presence is pleasant and approachable. Say hello and be friendly and thankful to those who help you. Take time to help someone else. A smile and a small assistance can make a difference to someone who is feeling frazzled and harried.

Smiling is an easy gift to give to many people in the world. If you spread good cheer throughout the year, you'll be amazed at the changes that can come to your life. You'll feel more energized and excited about your life and your work and those around you will be affected by your positive attitude.

You don't have to be an extraordinary person or one who is wealthy, famous or powerful to have an extraordinary effect on the world. One of my favorite films is It's A Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra. The story is about an ordinary man who thinks things would be better if he had never been born. His guardian angel gets a chance to show this ordinary man how the world would be if he had never existed. The message of It's a Wonderful Life is that your life touches many others no matter who you are and you can have a powerful impact on the world.

Use the gifts you have to create joy or beauty for others or yourself. Choose projects that promote the best in human nature. Tell stories that are uplifting. Find joy in your work, whatever you do, and be willing to share it with others.

Share your gifts with younger people who aspire to work in the industry. Be open to new ideas wherever they may come from, even if they are from a child. Share your passion with those who may need to be re-energized.

Give encouragement freely to those who need it and even to those who don't appear to need it. Give thanks to a teacher or a friend. A helping hand and a gift of time is remembered long after it's given and often appreciated far more than material gifts. Volunteer to help at a meeting or event related to the industry and give back.

Two of my friends give a holiday party every year and treat their friends and others important in their lives to fine food, conversation, and a quartet of carolers right out of a Dickens novel. They invite recruiters, animators, character designers and producers. They invite neighbors, friends, teachers, mentors, directors, and journalists. They give back to the community by giving thanks and encouraging others to make connections. My friends spread good cheer and a positive attitude year round, and our lives are enriched by knowing them.

You can give back to your friends by inviting them to join you at a party any time of the year. Ask them to bring something and make it a pot luck. The point is to celebrate the present and to spend time with the people who are important to you.

Jerry Rabinowitz, an 80-something volunteer at the Interfaith Food Pantry in Studio City, CA, personifies cheerfulness. He has a gift -- the gift of giving with a ready smile and warm hug. "Life has its plusses," he says. Jerry demonstrates what an impact one person can have on others, not only by ensuring that people in need don't go hungry, but also by sharing a smile. He has changed the lives of not only those he helps but also those who are inspired by his attitude -- countless students and parents who have had the pleasure of meeting him.

Every day is a present. Give back to the world and make it a better place in whatever way you can -- even if it's just by giving someone a hug or a smile. You'll see how little things you do can change the world.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist, career coach and speaker, available for personal consultations and speaking engagements. She is currently recruiting for a CG supervisor, technical directors who want to develop tools in R&D, software engineers and a senior render system administrator for a feature film company on the West Coast and would love to hear from any experienced pipeline TDs, lighting TDs, shader writer TDs, and compositing TDs or tools developers. If you are interested in her professional services as a career coach, speaker, or recruiter, contact her at