Giving to others makes them feel good. We know that. Many of us recognize that giving is fulfilling for ourselves too–whether it’s the act of helping another or the resulting recognition, we often receive an intrinsic or extrinsic reward.
But what about giving as a business strategy? Not disingenuous giveaways or quid pro quo offers, but good ole fashion, no-strings-attached helpfulness. Being a giver focused on others doesn’t make you a chump, it makes you savvy. And now there’s a compilation of research to prove it, thanks to Adam Grant’s Give and Take (see my review on the right sidebar).
Grant asserts—and backs up with data—that “when giving starts to occur, it becomes the norm, and people carry it forward in their interactions with other people.” Givers succeed and create a ripple effect that enhances the success of people around them.
I see so many of my clients struggle with how much to give. They worry about sacrificing their success with generosity. But imagine if more of us started to give freely. Everyone benefits when we take care of each other.
Personally I am drawn to giving. And I believe that has helped connect me with other givers. As I write this I am three weeks post-op from major neck surgery, so I have been much more of a taker in these past weeks. To the dozens of friends, family members and acquaintances who have reached out with food, support, visits and flowers, I want to give back. I look forward to returning the gift (though hopefully under less painful circumstances)
With the approach of Thanksgiving, we are encouraged—almost trained—to reflect in thankfulness. We may help give food or shelter to those in need, but our focus tends to accentuate the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving. I submit to you that focusing on the giving will yield that much more for which to be thankful.
You’d be surprised how much you can learn from a young woman guzzling beer from a muddy cleat. . . .
From the start, the post-game rugby social was remarkable. Co-eds filtered into a downtown bar carrying homemade dishes of pasta, beans, pulled pork and macaroni salad, creating a buffet that covered two pool tables. Hungry athletes and guests casually formed a line and chatted as they patiently waited for food.
The scene didn’t contradict the hard-playing, hard-partying image of rugby. Rather, it rendered the stereotype disingenuous. What I saw was a powerful set of shared values that can benefit us all:
Inextricably linked to energy, humor yields results—stuff gets done and people feel good. From songs, to games, to group announcements, humor kept everyone entertained and engaged.
Even in a crowded bar steaming with adrenaline and alcohol, respect prevailed. Requesting attention by raising party cup to forehead, or singing “me, me, me, meeeee” (to which others replied, “you, you, you, youuuuuu”), anyone who wanted the group’s attention could get it.
With women and men equally represented as both athletes and guests, gender (and other differentiators) seemed invisible. A rugby-guys-versus-rugby-gals game of “flip cup” quickly integrated because it was easier and didn’t seem to matter anyway.
All teammates contributed time and/or treasure to create an environment with enough food and drink for all. When the beer ran out, someone stepped forward to initiate a collection effort that quickly yielded enough contributions to tap another keg. When someone started a silly song, members took turns improvising verses. And when ideas ran out, a new tune was introduced.
I’m a latecomer to rugby, too breakable now to subject myself to the sport. But I may just pursue groupie status. Because this is the kind of team I want to be part of.
Thank you to Jill Bates and Robin Flannigan for simultaneously inviting me to participate in this blog hop about “why I write”. Part of my eager acceptance to join was the personal appeal of this topic.
Throughout my life, writing has served many purposes: creative outlet in my first grade construction paper projects, essential refuge from the insecurity of high school, professional growth as a young magazine editor, a sounding page for major milestones like marriage, parenthood and divorce. Now, as a coach who works with women to help them realize—and thrive in—their potential, writing has become exponentially valuable. I use writing not just to express or develop myself, I use it as a tool to help others do the same.
In my blog at http://thrivepotential.com/blog/ I strive to share ideas that will inspire others. As @ThrivePotential I share succinct points and ideas about women, positive thinking and leadership. As an introvert (albeit, a slight one), I appreciate the opportunity to process my thoughts on screen or paper, so I incorporate writing into my workshops as a technique for self-reflection and empowerment.
Recently my own coach encouraged me to write more. My thoughts were getting muddy and clogged in mind. She knew that once the words started flowing, they would become clearer. And she was right.
A daily practice of writing requires more discipline than I have been willing to commit lately. I am busy building my business, parenting, enjoying life. But, like exercise, when I find the time to write, I feel more energized, focused and fulfilled. This written reflection has been a serendipitous reinforcement of my recent reminder about the healthiness of writing. (Does that mean I can skip the gym today?)
Be sure to check out next week’s bloggers:
Laura Erdman-Luntz (http://www.LauraErdmanLuntz.com)
Experienced Yoga Educator, Author, inspiring Life Coach and Business Entrepreneur, Laura Erdman-Luntz has over 20 years experience in the fitness and wellness industries. She uniquely blends her Life Coaching knowledge and vast experience with Yoga to create programs, classes and workshops that truly do bring mind and body together for positive change, inspiring people to live their most authentic life. She incorporates New Thought ideas into classes and programs on positive living, manifesting and changing subconscious beliefs.
Vicki M. James (http://www.stand-out-results.com/blog)
Small Business Marketing Strategist and Branding Expert of Stand Out Results, Vicki M. James is an expert in internal and external branding, marketing and culture, working with local and national companies from family owned to corporations for over 20 years. As the founder of Stand Out Results, her mission is to share her knowledge and help entrepreneurs become successful by exceeding their expectations by becoming the go to resource for marketing strategy, branding and customer experience.
Whether heading back to school elicits enthusiasm, dread or mixed excitement, it also brings an undeniable sense of hope. Students, parents, educators and advocates all look to the year ahead and renew their goals for personal growth, friendships, academic performance and equality. Just this week my relatively small social network promoted girls’ education by raising money, planning activities and reinforcing personal capabilities.
Here is the mindset I hope all girls adopt as they to head high school or college:
School is an opportunity to take chances, grow and explore your potential. It is an important part of your journey and you get to navigate. Sure there are some rules you’re expected to follow and some crap you’ll probably have to deal with, but those too are chances to decide who you want to be.
As far as your education, you are the most important person on campus. Thrive!
For some more articulate words, consider reading the recently published letter by Smith College President Kathleen McCartney.
Last September I completed a Dirty Girl Mud Run, a messy, non-competitive fundraiser that supports breast cancer research. This week I scheduled ankle surgery for the three ligaments I tore that day, which never healed. My recovery will include a second round of contraptions, appointments and pain, including a few weeks without walking and several without driving.
It would be easy to stew in frustration about this circumstance. How stupid to make myself vulnerable just to do something fun and charitable! What about my clients? How will [meaningful subject] get done? And how will I stay (almost) in shape?
More than any other day in our culture, Valentine’s Day encourages us to focus on others. We buy gifts, fill out greeting cards, procure chocolate. And then we consider what heart-filled things will come our way. A note? Flowers? Dinner?
Over the past few days many of us committed to personal improvement in the coming year. A contrast to Thanksgiving, when we reflect on what is and has been, the dawning of a new calendar year pushes us to look forward. It also shifts our focus from external people and things for which we are grateful to our own shortcomings. We celebrate others despite their imperfections, yet challenge ourselves to advance toward perfection. Continue reading
On the morning after this year’s presidential election, the local forecast was “chilly with clear skies”—an outlook that remains relevant as new or renewed leaders begin their terms. Though possibly divided by our November votes, women can unite in many victories that suggest good things ahead:
- LET GO. Decide to let go of something negative. The more you hate something, the more you are bound to it; the more you love it, the freer you are. Continue reading
For most of my childhood and adolescence I wanted to be a writer. While my top choices were (1) eccentric novelist living in Paris, (2) prolific Rolling Stone reporter, or (3) jet-set Condé Nast travel writer, I would have settled for being a newspaper journalist. My parents were willing to pay for college tuition, but only for someone pursuing a “real job.”
In other words, not an aspiring writer.