Why Giving Is Better Than Receiving To Succeed
Fergus Mellon has written a book entitled Early Stage Professional: starting off right, for professionals in their early career years. He details why giving is better than receiving to succeed. While his book is focused on the work environment, there are other reasons why being a giver in all areas of your life is one of the highest callings.
It may seem intelligent to focus on yourself at work in order to get a raise, a promotion, or just recognition, but your best chance of getting ahead might be by helping your coworkers succeed instead. The same is true in your family, by helping each member, your wife and children, succeed also.
Adam Grant outlines how giving selflessly can lead to tremendous gains for the giver in an excellent book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.
Givers give without expecting anything in return.
Matchers give with an expectation of receiving something in return, as quid pro quo.
Takers simply take whatever they want.
So who are the winners? The Givers, of course. Who are the successful people? You got it, the Givers! As the book says, in this hyper-connected world, the Takers will be exposed for what they truly are: “users.”
Ways You Can Contribute As A Giver
Be a cheerleader for your family, friends and your co-workers by recognizing their success. Helping others look good is not the same as taking attention away from yourself.
Have you ever experienced the feeling of being recognized for your achievements? If so, you probably reacted positively, saying to yourself, ‘How wonderful to be recognized by my boss or my wife.’ Your next thought might have been, ‘What a great person that [boss] [wife] is for recognizing me. They helped me. I should look out for them, too.’
Because you benefit by gaining more fans when you give credit or praise, being a decent person can help you maintain a good reputation and benefit you for the rest of your career or life.
Being the cheerleader for others could be the first step towards your next promotion at work if you work at a well-managed company or business, or for your next steps as a family towards your goals, whatever they may be. Recognition and acknowledgment are things others value, and will go a long way when you focus praise on those who you spot as earning it.
Giving At Work
Recruiters or former colleagues may reach out to you via email asking if you would be interested in a job, and you may not be interested in applying. It would be easy to ignore the email or to say, “Thank you, but I’m not looking right now.” That’s the wrong move. Instead, consider those in your network who might be interested in the job and refer them to it.
I referred people because it builds a good relationship with the recruiter (win), and it lets the people I referred know that I am looking out for them so they will also look out for me in the future (win).
It’s crucial to be an excellent reference if you decide to be one. If you’re asked to act as a reference, provide the best one you possibly can. If you’re not comfortable jeopardizing your professional reputation for an individual, I would counsel you to politely decline. You may refuse because you no longer know enough about the individual, or because you have too much on your plate to do a good job. I do not recommend being a ‘reluctant reference.’
When preparing to reference someone, I consider not only their admirable qualities but also how I can assist them. I try to familiarize myself with the candidate’s key messages so that I may provide examples to help emphasize them.
As I have said, I am willing to point out where the person can improve. For instance regarding the business reference, “Working with Jim, this was an area for development, and he took feedback well and did X, Y, and Z to address it.” Make certain that whatever you express, you would be glad to express it to their face.
Giving In The Family
As you heap praise and recognition on your family, in both public and private, your wife and children may develop the confidence and subsequent skills to become adventurous in their own right to try new things that they know may bring you joy or satisfaction. While instilling good values and ethics in your family is important, deriving joy and satisfaction is not the ultimate gain here, although it is an added bonus for sure. Seeing your wife and children become self-actualized and realize their own capabilities within the family dynamic and in society is the aim of this husbandly or fatherly positive reinforcement. This family dynamic is the key that strengthens and builds loving relationships that tightly bond each family member together and leads to high value and resiliency.
When it comes to helping members of your family turn their own weaknesses into strengths, you want to be careful about how you go about this. Rather than taking the direct, objective approach as you would with a co-worker like Jim, you should rather aim to walk alongside your wife or child and demonstrate how to do this, without telling them how that thing is done. If you must have a verbal conversation to address something that you as a man of God, a husband and a father are spiritually led to do, then you need to do so in a gentle, loving manner that translates the correct tone and cares for their hearts. And examine your motives as to why you feel the desire to say something. Is it honoring God in their relationship with him, or is it driven by selfish ambitions or motives? If the latter, rethink your actions and say and do nothing. If the former, lead that activity in prayer and let God handle it.
The Reason For Giving
While I have not ever received a bottle of wine in the mail after providing a great reference in the workplace, knowing that I have their “professional backs” has strengthened my relationships with people at all phases of their lives. On the home front, I have seen the positive responses from my wife or child in knowing that I care deeply for them, and that I strive to live my life as an example for them and how to handle the myriad of challenges that accompany life as a family. And more importantly that I seek to aim them towards the cross of Jesus and to grow spiritually in faith. The Christian life is one of the most demanding since it demands every bit of God-given motivation. Paul says that we should take his words seriously when we consider Jesus’ forgiveness, grace, and salvation (2 Corinthians 9:7).
God Loves A Cheerful Giver
It is the act of giving that God loves.
A while back, my eight-year-old and I were summer sledding down our driveway on a scooter when we saw our neighbor. He was standing at the cul-de-sac in front of his house, lowering a mechanical grabber, attempting to acquire some trash that had blown into the ditch after the last windstorm. I decided to halt our sledding and, quickly, I came beside him to assist in cleaning up the trash. My son gathered the windblown trash that I pulled out of the ditch and tossed onto the pavement. It was a hot day, and he was red-cheeked and sweaty, but he didn’t whine, mope, or send me a frustrated look. I was so proud of him! So proud of the love he gave to our elderly neighbor! (So proud that I served ice cream before dinner, to Mom’s chagrin.)
Your Father feels the same way. It makes God happy when you commit to giving generously and relying on Jesus to meet all of your needs. You may not see his face the way my son saw mine, but heed these words: God loves a cheerful giver.
Giving time and money are amongst the most difficult parts of the Christian way of life. Every bit of God-given motivation is required. Remember Paul’s words as you decide what to give today, in response to Jesus’ forgiveness, grace, and salvation: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion; for God prefers a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
I hope the reason “Why” and these simple strategies for giving are as helpful to you as they have been to me!