When you hear the same message over and over again, you had better take note.
For example, the Bible mentions hope 185 times, faith 246 times, love 733 times, and giving 2285 times. That’s significant.
From that statistic alone, I would conclude that giving is one of the most powerful strategies you can ever employ in your journey to greater success, on and off the job.
Unfortunately, our national, corporate, and family cultures often put a greater emphasis on taking than giving.
We even have a host of songs that literally tell people, “You gotta get while the getting’s good.” In other words, “What can I take away from that situation?”
And when you ask someone to do something, the first thing they probably think is “What’s in it for me?” Again, “What can I take away?”
From my 30 years of teaching, speaking, and working with people, I’m convinced that is the WRONG approach to life, work and relationships. Because selfish takers are the unhappiest people in the world … and often times the least effective, least liked, least trusted, and least successful.
By contrast, generous givers are among the happiest, most fulfilled, most successful leaders, coworkers, spouses, and parents I ever encounter.
So what does it mean to be a giver? A lot of people don’t understand giving and confuse it with enabling, entitling, fixing, paying for, and cleaning up other people’s messes. That’s not it at all.
If you give in these three ways, however, you will become a giver at work and at home that brings out the very best in others.
1. Give respectful attention.
It’s the first thing healthy, empowering, effective givers give. And it may be the most important.
They notice others. They acknowledge them. And they listen to them.
When you don’t give attention, you always hurt the relationship you have with your coworkers, your customers, or your family member. Plain and simple.
When I was delivering my program on The Power of Partnership at a Boeing conference, one audience member raised her hand and said she knew exactly what I was talking about. She talked about getting married and divorced in the same year because her husband never gave her any attention. In fact, the situation inspired her to write a country song entitled, “If I’d shot you when I met you, I’d be out of jail by now.”
(For more information on my keynote and seminar on The Power of Partnership, go to https://www.drzimmerman.com/programs/keynotes/teamwork-relationships.)
But a lack of attention is also very sad.
After coming home from a long day at work, her little daughter ran out to greet her. She said, “Mommy, Mommy, wait until I tell you what happened today.”
After listening for a few seconds, her mother said she had to go and prepare dinner. Her daughter could tell her the rest of the story later.
At dinner, the phone rang; then the other family members told their stories. Once again the little girl tried to tell her story, but the kitchen needed to be cleaned up and her brother needed help with his homework. By then it was time for bed.
When her mother came to tuck her in, the little girl looked up and asked, “Mommy, do you really love me, even when you don’t have time to listen to me?”
And that’s the same question everybody asks at work and at home: “If you don’t GIVE me attention, how do I know if you really care?”
How do you stack up on this point? Are you known as a person who gives attention? Or are you known as someone who is too self-absorbed?
2. Give lasting visible care.
Care and caring might sound too soft or too touchy-feely for some corporate people, but it’s as hard bottom line as you can get. Research has clearly shown that when your customers can see you’re caring, they buy more and they tell more people about you.
The reverse is also true. The number one reason a customer stops doing business with an organization is a perceived lack of caring. In fact, this perceived lack of caring accounts for 68% of your lost business.
Of course, your caring can’t be temporary and intermittent. It’s got to be continual and lasting. Dr. Martin Broken Leg, a professor at Augustana College, has found that a kid will stay in school if there is at least one adult in that school who shows a lasting sense of care … and that adult could be a teacher, cook, or bus driver.
3. Give help when needed.
It’s the ultimate win-win. You can’t help somebody else without also helping yourself.
As an old Chinese proverb states, “When I dig another out of trouble, the hole from which I lift him is the place where I bury my own.”
Michael Maceroni, a sales manager for UPS, learned that when I was speaking on 4C Leadership: Communication, Cooperation, Change, and Commitment for his company. He decided to put my giving challenge to the test after the workshop.
(For information on my 4C Leadership keynote and seminar, go to https://www.drzimmerman.com/programs/keynotes/leadership-training.)
Michael said, “I was flying into Atlanta on a Sunday afternoon and I don’t like to leave my family on a weekend. Nonetheless, I decided to make the best of it, to be a giver regardless of any possible problems that might come my way, such as late departures, crowded airline seating, or grumpy attendants and passengers.”
“It didn’t take long to have my giving commitment tested. As I headed to the baggage area, I noticed a young mother, nearing her wit’s end, with an unhappy toddler in tow. Deciding it was cold outside, the mother opened her suitcase to get out their coats, only to find her bottle of shampoo had burst open in her luggage and was covering the majority of her clothing. That pretty much sent the mother to the brink of tears.”
“Being an expectant father myself, I couldn’t stand there any longer. I approached the woman and asked if I could do anything to help. She declined, but as her daughter ran to the baggage carousel for the third time, and as her cell phone started ringing, she looked at me and asked if I could throw away the shampoo bottle. She then remarked she would probably throw away the coat as well as it wasn’t useable in its current condition. I immediately removed my coat and offered it to her, saying, ‘Please take my coat.'”
“She profoundly refused, asking what would I wear on this cold evening. I explained to her that I had just landed from Detroit where I left -3 degree weather and the idea of wearing a jacket in 55 degree weather didn’t appeal to me. I insisted she take my coat. She graciously accepted, slipped it on, gathered her child, re-packed her bags on the cart, and moved on with a big smile on her face.”
Michael finished his story by saying, “I walked away with the profound realization of what unconditional giving does for the heart and soul.”
It’s like I tell my coaching clients, “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 929 – 3 Reasons Givers Get Better Results