Serve and Grow... Together This Holiday

12/24/2011 06:54 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2012

A number of holiday seasons ago we were sitting at a fancy resort attending a well-known holiday weekend event that I had proudly accepted an invitation to along with almost a thousand other individuals and their families. We were talking about the state of our world when my guest leaned over and asked: "Do you think next year we might actually go do something instead of just talking about it?"

The comment launched our annual tradition of traveling to a third world country to serve in orphanages for the holidays. We wanted to "do something good" and the choice has ended up being one of the most unexpected and powerful gifts we have given ourselves.

This year, a number of friends and their families are joining us to serve others, rejuvenate themselves, explore a new region of the world, and to connect much more deeply as a family through our service to and engagement with orphans living just outside of Antigua, Guatemala.

I did this particular trip a few years ago and was struck by the amazing beauty of it all. It was a spiritually grounding experience and an empowering way to start the New Year. I can't wait to see the experience through the eyes of our friends' children. The experience is transformative to anyone who has not experienced real poverty, but then also to witness such deep joy among those with nothing. Each year we grow more connected as a family and a couple.

These experiences prove to be transformational, a reflective and stark reminder of what's important. Our hope is that we all come back more grounded, more empathetic, authentic and generous, and that it stays with us. Being able to help others in such a real way has even accelerated my own leadership when I get back home. I know my team relationships have become more understanding and our collaborative success has grown.

We also welcome and include our friends and their families who do not go with us. In supporting last year's trip, which was to Cambodia, our friend Arianna donated 20 chickens to the kids we met during one of our days at an orphanage. Oh, and also a big pot of milk and cookies, which I suspect the kids may have appreciated more than the chickens.

If you care to join Arianna and others in supporting these kids this holiday season, I might suggest going to to read past blogs, maybe looking at additional pictures of various trips on Facebook, and talking with your own families about how you all might serve and grow together. What could be more in the spirit of the holidays than making a difference together?


Keith Ferrazzi is the author of 'Never Eat Alone' and #1 New York Times Bestseller 'Who's Got Your Back?'