Ever read the book The Giver? I think we all had to back in middle school or at some point. (To be quite honest I don't even vaguely recall what exactly it was about. Not unlike most other things I learned in middle school.) But the book stuck in my mind all of this time probably because I feel like the title pretty much sums up the reason for my existence...
I think that I was born a giver. (Legitimately- I gave my parents a whole lot of trouble from day one!) While that may have changed into more 'beneficial' and positive forms of giving, I have always felt inclined to give to others. (Not so much in the form of trouble anymore. For the most part.)
I don't know if it was in my genes or is my 'divine purpose' or was environmentally learned as a child or any other number of possible causes. (I did grow up in a family that fostered much genuine compassion and appreciation for others which probably contributed to the desire to be giving. So I blame them.) But it's likely a combination of all three of those things which have made this desire so strong in me. (Because believe me- there've been many times when I've given when there was nothing in my jeans!....i.e. money in my own pockets. That somehow never stopped me though.)
And why does this all matter (or should anyone care)? I'm sure not looking for praise or a pat on the back for my 'righteous' mission since my toddler years. It turns out that giving actually creates some pretty dang powerful gifts of its own. And while I never give with the intention or motive of receiving something in return, I'm not going to argue if the universe conspires to give me a little somethin' back! So I thought it might be nice to share some of the incredible ways that giving has impacted my life. (You'll probably want to stick around to learn how much this simple thing can impact your own life. Along with my desire to give having stuck with me since infancy, I also still have the attention span of a toddler, so I promise it will be short and sweet. Nothing like the long books you had to read in middle school.)
First off, giving has opened my eyes to how much I have myself. While we are constantly striving for more (which is generally never a bad thing), sometimes it's easy to forget that there are so many with so much less. When you take the action of intentionally scoping out others who are currently in less fortunate circumstances than yourself to help out, then you are being shown exactly just how much you have to be thankful for in your own life. And you know what they say- What you focus on, you get more of. When you're thankful, you receive more things to be thankful for.
Secondly, giving has created some amazing relationships with so many people. When you go out of your way to give (even in the smallest of ways), it shows that you pay attention and care. And I don't know anyone who doesn't like to be paid attention to and cared for! Virtually everyone who I come into contact with has been on the receiving end of some type of giving from me. ('Giving' a hard time is not included here. Though I can't verify that hasn't happened at some point!) I mean giving of gifts, or services, or help, or food, or a thank you, message, or phone call, or just about anything else. And I'm not referring to people who are less fortunate than me here- Many times it's quite the opposite. Giving doesn't exist just in the monetary aspect. In fact, sometimes it's even more powerful in other less expected ways. Something as simple as expressing genuine appreciation to someone for something they did can have such a large effect. Often times we may think nice thoughts about someone, but honestly-
how often do we take the time to express them? Especially when we tend to gravitate toward focusing on the negative things from our day or in our life, it's extra refreshing to receive a nice compliment or have some unrequested help or get a thank you card. I'm telling you, giving goes a long way. I'm not going to lie and say that it hasn't gotten me out of rental damage charges from landlords, extra fees from certain business dealings, undesirable situations, chores as a child... (Alright, maybe not the last one. Was worth a shot, but clearly I didn't polish my giving powers enough to reap rewards until later on in early adulthood!) But total transparency here- Giving almost always comes with an equal or greater gift in return. This may happen very indirectly or at some point way later in time. But it always happens. Whether we're aware of it or not. Once again, never the motive but also never an argument there!
Lastly and probably most significantly, giving has fueled my business growth. And that is an understatement. It has actually been the foundation from which I have based all decisions and operations from day one. I don't mean giving in the obvious and necessary ways required in business (i.e. providing service, etc.). I mean giving in uncommon and unexpected ways: to give in appreciation that fosters true connection, to give an experience unlike anything else, to give more value than is ever received monetarily, to give just to give. I feel that the struggle in business comes from when we worry about what we're going to GET (more customers, more employees, more income). Focusing on those things will usually not get you more of them. But when we put all of our attention on GIVING (to our current connections, networks, customers, employees) with no expectations or stipulations, then the gift of that giving comes back to naturally provide more of those things that we were hoping to get. When I say that I base decisions off of the principle of giving, that can be a challenge at times when your brain and realistic 'logic' is telling you something different. But I can say that I firmly stand behind all decisions I have made where I have ignored the 'logical' voice (or the voices of those around me) and instead went by the giving formula. (Especially in retrospect looking back at how things ended up playing out!) So one tip I'd have would be this: If you have the tendency to always veer towards the 'cheap' route, consider stepping outside of that mindset into one based more off of giving. (Increasing your employees' bonuses or giving them random extra rewards, being extra generous with gifts to clients, staying for extra service time beyond what you're compensated for, etc.) It may seem like a bit of a stretch for your pocketbook or a 'non-essential' expense in your finances at the moment, but I can assure you the effects that it will likely have will exponentially increase the benefits that you will reap as a result. (And that is what I like to call priceless.) Bottom line is- You have to give to receive. So why hold back? (For anyone's sake.)
And I didn't even mention the benefits of giving to the receiver...
I so highly believe in the power of the G-word that it has become my mission to teach others how to create the magic elicited by giving, specifically in their businesses. This is through ways that aren't taught in business school, and sometimes even go opposite from what is typically suggested. (I can attest from time and time again of this proving itself true, not only in my business but in my personal life as well.) With benefits to all parties involved, there is no better way to do business than through a giving light. And business done right usually equals a pretty happy life.
So much for short and sweet! That didn't end up being too short after all. (Guess my toddler brain has little concept of time as well.) Hopefully it was at least sweet for you though! Because giving is a sweet thing, but it also holds great power. I continue to see proof of that in my life every day.
I challenge you to take a conscious look at how much you truly give in your own life, and where you could be giving more. (Once again this is giving of all types, not just monetarily.) Aside from any of the
amazing things it brings, it flat out just makes you feel good. So do yourself and everyone else a favor by making yourself and others feel good with the gift of giving. Because the favors it has done for me are immeasurable.
Well that's my story. (Or at least a chapter of it.) I can't call it The Giver because that one's already taken. Maybe I'll call it The Given, because I see the will to give as a gift I've been given. The gift that keeps on giving.