In 2013, I invested a significant amount of my money into a ticket to the Art of Leadership conference in Toronto. I learned a lot from the speakers I heard and the people I met. One speaker in particular had a profound concept that resonated with me. Adam Grant shared his thesis from his book Give and Take.
The idea that to attain success in this competitive world you don’t need to be selfish. His view was that they’re three sections of people: Givers who give unconditionally, Takers who take all they can, and Matchers who keep score of favors. Grant concluded that Takers may succeed in the short term, but the long term success is achieved primarily by Givers across various competitive industries through their character and strong relationships.
We are called to be Givers. To serve our way to the top. To be Leaders rather than bosses. Givers have the potential to reach a height that the most competent Takers are restricted access. Becoming a Giver not only adds value to others, it’s fulfilling, and there is evidence it can propel you to success. We need to deposit more than we withdraw. These 5 states of being will help you thrive personally while paying it forward to the people in your life, the people you’ll meet, and the generations to come.
1. Be Present
You owe it to the people around you to be your best. If you don’t maximize yourself then the people in your life are robbed of a blessing. Show up in your best state and perform. Even if you’re fatigued, give everything you got. Start your day off right with the rituals that awaken you into your fullness. Have a standard that makes showing up everyday to your responsibilities a priority. Breathe and be in the moment, be ready. With you present someone you may encounter will be better off for it. Be present for the people that need you. Even if it’s just standing silently beside someone through a tragedy. Allow them to draw strength through your presence. Anytime anyone achieves anything, there are always people that help them get ready behind the scenes. Be that support to empower another. Give the gift of your presence.
2. Be Authentic
Be yourself. If you can’t keep it real with yourself, how can you keep it real with others. Take the time to discover who you are and where you want to be. You have a story. Do not be ashamed of it. Embrace it and the stories of those around you. Being true to yourself positions you to add positivity to others. When you’re living according to your standard it unconsciously liberates other to do the same. Add value by telling people the truth. If someone comes to you with a problem tell them what’s true, even if it’s hard to hear. Live a life of integrity so when you do compliment somebody they will receive it because they know you’re genuine. Being authentic is to be transparent which makes us vulnerable. It’s not always easy, but staying true to you makes the greatest impact to those around you. Give the gift of your authenticity.
3. Be Attentive
Keep your mind and eyes open. In your daily life look for opportunities to help somebody. Not everyone will come to you. You need to listen to people and have enough emotional intelligence to identify their needs. Whether the person needs to vent, advice, or just a pat on the back of a “well done,” it is your responsibility to see it. Notice the signs around you. Do you see a co-worker with a different demeanor than their happy-go-lucky-self? Do you see someone struggling who is too proud to ask for help? Not every drowning person can call out for a rescue. As a lifeguard you need to be attentive and aware. Do you know someone who would breakthrough if you introduced them to someone you know? Do you know anyone who would benefit from a book you could share with them? Work on developing the skill of attentiveness to draw an accurate map of the emotional environment you’re in. Give the gift of your attention.
4. Be Willing to Act
When you’ve identified needs it’s time to bridge the gap with action. What good is it to find out someone is hungry but not feed them? Action is the instrument in which value is given. Once you know how you can help someone you need to execute and get it done. If a colleague did a good job and you want to encourage them then take the time to send a hand-written letter rather than an email. Hopefully, your hand-writing is not as messy as mine. Make the connection introducing people that you identified, and give that friend the book who needs it. The point is to run to opportunities and capitalize on them by adding value. If you choose to live a life of fulfillment then your cup will be overflowing, so pour into the people around you unconditionally, expecting nothing in return. Whatever action you take remember always to follow up with the person and continue to add value. Give the gift of your action.
5. Be Willing to Get Hurt
People are not perfect, we know this because we ourselves are not perfect. Anything involving imperfect people, can potentially lead to pain. We need to recognize that when we invest in people there will be times we are let down. Even if you’re helping unconditionally there can still be disappointment. The person you helped may not appreciate what you did, or capitalize on the resources or services you provided. This is fine. It’s tough when we try to help someone but they won’t receive it, but remember that we all have our own journey and make our own decisions. Investing in others takes a part of you, but don’t let any disappointment overwhelm you into despair when things don’t go as expected. Allow yourself to get hurt and grow from the pain. The power in vulnerability is the development of emotional endurance, an ability that will serve you for life. Give the gift of your sacrifice.
GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE
Now that you’re aware of 5 states that add value to others, implement them in your life. Think about the people you know and if there are any potential needs that you can satisfy. If you are intentional in adding values to others, and unconditionally expecting nothing in return, then you will have a purpose greater than yourself which will pull you to success. May we build a personal brand where we live in these states to grow stronger and leave people better than we found them.
I believe that giving should take precedence over getting in the pursuit of success. Takers may seem successful in one section of life, but in my view they will never reach Ultimate Success because relationships are an aspect of life that Takers can’t master. Life is a team game. What do you think? Do Givers have a secret highway to success? Or do you feel Takers will succeed in the end in this dog-eat-dog world? As always, add your perspective in the comments below.
Walk out your personal success by adding value to others.
Even if you fall, Activate Your All.