relationships giving

Giving and Taking – 5 Keys to Better Relationships

In a Wichita State University survey, employees rated a manager’s “thanks” as THE MOST motivational incentive of all. Unfortunately, 58% of the employees said they rarely received a personal thank you.

From the employees’ points of view, their managers were takers. They took their employee’s efforts but didn’t give much recognition in return.

Author Dr. J. Allan Peterson discovered that the same thing happens in our personal relationships. Sixty-nine percent of married people do not work at building their marriages. They simply take each other for granted.

He says the average husband has the attitude of, “Why do you have to chase the bus once you’ve caught it?” And the average wife has the attitude of, “Once you’ve caught the fish you throw away the bait.”

At the root of almost every relationship and teamwork problem is the fact that there’s too much taking and not enough giving.

The bottom line is simply this. Any good relationship, at home or on the job, is built on a foundation of giving. So what does it take to become a genuine giver rather than a selfish taker?

I’ve found five strategies that givers (and winners) use. Read on.




1. Decide to Be a Giver.


Every day you make dozens of decisions. You decide everything from the foods you eat, to the way you treat your customers, to the time you go to bed.

If you’re like most people, however, you live on autopilot. You don’t even think about the decisions you are making. You may not realize that you are making dozens of decisions throughout the day that will affect your future forever.

Make a conscious decision that you’re going to live your life as a giver and not a taker. It will make all the difference in the world in your relationships.




2. Give Now.


Don’t wait for a special occasion to give. If you wait until a team finishes its entire project before you celebrate the progress it’s making, if you wait until your spouse’s birthday before you pass along some affection, you lessen the impact of your giving. They already expect to receive something on those “special occasions,” so that lessens the impact of your giving. Give now.

It’s like the cow and pig having a discussion. The cow talked about how she gave milk and cream every day. But the pig was angry. He said, “I give my all–ham, knuckles, even my skin for brushes. So why do they love you so much more than me?” The cow replied, “Maybe it’s because I do my giving when I’m living.” She gave now.

That’s what Brenda Sutherland, a multi-year winner of the ‘Fitness Instructor of the Year’, decided to do after attending my Journey to the Extraordinary program. She applied what she learned to her relationship with her son. As she wrote,


“Hi Alan, I want to inform you that my goal of coaching my 25-year-old autistic son to lose 20 pounds has come to fruition … a week earlier than the goal I set at the Journey … and I might add, he actually lost 20.4 lbs. in 7 weeks.”

“I used the tools that I learned at the Journey to help him achieve this goal. And we have both learned so much from his achievement, about each other and ourselves. Our relationship has grown from one of mother/son to one of great friends who share a mutual respect. He said that the greatest tool that I shared with him were the pages from the Journey manual regarding the benefits of a positive attitude. He now has set himself a second goal and wants me to keep on coaching him. WE ALL WIN!!”

“There is no greater reward than riding alongside someone who has struggled many times and failed and then seeing them transform all areas of their life. I came to the Journey to the Extraordinary to become more successful in my work and more effective in my life. I certainly learned how to do all that, but I never expected your material would spill over to my family in such wonderful ways. Thank you once again, Alan, for making a great life that much better.”


Wow! That’s the power of the Journey and the power of giving. So I urge you to register for my next Journey to the Extraordinary program coming to Minneapolis on May 4-5, 2017 while the great Early-Bird Special is still available. Click here for more information or to register now.




3. Give Fittingly.


In other words, give what the other person would appreciate. Give what fits with the other person’s interests and likes.

You see, no one tries to be insensitive, but it happens all too often. I see it when the boss gives his employees tickets to a baseball game, but some of his employees don’t even like baseball. I see it when a husband gives his wife a new TV set, but he’s the one who does most of the TV viewing. You’ve got to give what the other person would appreciate.

Lisa Whicker’s children didn’t understand that. While she was shopping with her three small children at the mall, a window display of lingerie caught her attention. As she pointed to a lacy teddy and matching robe, she asked her kids, “Do you think Daddy would like this?” “No way,” her horrified 6-year old son replied. “Daddy would NEVER wear THAT.”

One gentleman understood the necessity of giving what the other person would appreciate. Every morning he passed by the house of a lonely, elderly widow and would give her a rose.

One day, as she was entertaining a visitor, she said, “The rose comes from his garden. Here he comes right now, taking a walk with his friend.”

And sure enough, the gentleman handed her a beauty. With a gallant bow, he said, “I grew this one just for you.”

As the gentleman and his friend walked away, the gentleman explained sheepishly, “I’ve never been in a garden in my life. I buy her a rose in the florist shop down the street every morning. It gives her such a happy look for a few moments.”

Give what the other person would appreciate.




4. Give When You Don’t Feel Like It.


Sometimes you simply don’t feel like giving. It would take too much work, you think.

However, it is sacrificial giving … when you don’t feel like it … that brings the best results.

Cecil Osborne discussed that in his book, The Art of Understanding Your Mate. He discussed the case of a woman who said, “I hate my husband. I can’t stand him. I not only want to divorce him, but I want to make things as difficult for him as I can.”

The counselor wisely perceived something else was going on. So he said, “I have an answer for you. When you leave my office, I want you to go home and start catering to your husband’s every whim. Love him. Compliment him. Pamper him. Make life as easy and wonderful for him as you possibly can. Then when he gets to the point where he needs you and is flowering in the glory of your attention, file for a divorce. That will devastate him.”

The woman left, and for months Osborne did not hear anything from her. One evening at a social event, however, he saw her across the room. He asked, “I haven’t heard from you since we talked. Did you divorce your husband?”

“Divorce my husband,” she gasped. “I love my husband. I took your advice. Every bit of it. We’ve never been happier.”

The counselor’s strategy worked. When the woman gave when she didn’t feel like it, when she didn’t want to, when it wasn’t easy, the relationship improved.




5. Try Giving Experiences.


Many organizations make the mistake of giving their people “things” instead of “experiences.” They give their employees a decent salary, a few benefits, and an occasional T-shirt with the company logo.

That’s fine. But strong, healthy, lasting work relationships need more than things. They need their organizations to give them some positive experiences as well. Gilmore and Pine make that abundantly clear in their best-selling book, The Experience Economy.

You even see this in parent-child relationships. Some parents are more likely to give their children things than they are experiences. They mistakenly think that’s what the kids want and need. Then, when the kids grow up, they have nothing to remember.

One jokester put it this way. He said, “When I was a child, my parents gave me a bat for Christmas. Unfortunately, the first time I played with it, it flew away.”

Don’t underestimate the power of giving experiences, like diplomat Charles Frances Adams did. He wrote in his diary, “Took my boy fishing today. A wasted day.” His son, Brook Adams, wrote in his diary the same day, “Went fishing today with my father. Greatest day of my life.”

Final Thought: Taking may help you get what you want … temporarily … but giving is the surest way to lasting and positive relationships.

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 871 – Giving and Taking – 5 Keys to Better Relationships





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My twice-yearly, intensive, boot camp-style Journey to the Extraordinary experience is returning to Minneapolis on May 4th-5th, 2017! The Journey is the culmination of more than 30 years of research and practice, focused not only on your own personal peak performance, but also on real-life ways you can bring out the best in others. This isn’t some run-of-the-mill, “rah-rah,” cookie-cutter motivational seminar. The 12 Keys to Extraordinary Success that I’ll share with you in your Journey experience will transform your personal and professional life for decades to come.

With some other seminars or conferences, your experience stops as soon as you leave the door. Not so with the Journey. Your Journey registration not only gets you access to 2 full days of personal and professional development. You’ll get more than $1,700 worth of bonus reinforcement materials to help you put into practice each of the 12 Keys you’ll learn. Even better, you’ll also receive a 15-week series of reinforcement emails from me, that will help you stay focused on your own Journey to the Extraordinary – and you’ll have direct access to me every step of the way.

If you’re ready to take the next step to extraordinary success and incredible happiness, I encourage you to register now. This is the lowest tuition cost available for the Minneapolis Journey to the Extraordinary experience. so don’t delay. Register now!




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