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WHY GIVE/WHY RECEIVE?

I am blessed to have a wonderful wife, Lynne, who allowed me to date her in 1971.  For some reason she keeps me around.  I am also blessed to have wonderful close friends Sharon Meredith (www.fitnesswithheart.com) and Woody Morrison (http://www.aquaticinspections.com.)  Sharon and I have built our relationship starting in 2005.  She has shared a lot with me as I have been in her corner as a mentor when she was in real estate, referral partner in multilevel marketing, and a team member in a master mind group.  Woody and I have become work buddies over the last few years.  From breaking up asphalt ladened root structures or cutting down orange trees, it is always a joy to work with Woody.  He makes me feel young with his warm praise for a job well done.

Last Saturday I helped Woody finish a set of stairs for a needy senior near Woody’s and Sharon’s home in Valley Center.  Sharon met the man, John, late last year just prior to Christmas. You see Woody suggested to Sharon that rather than buying each other holiday gifts, they would invest in those in need during the holiday season. They bought groceries for a family along with toys for the family’s children.  A gift to another person of cash was given.  At this time they also promised John that they would replace his rotten set of stairs leading to his home.

Woody and Sharon had done most the work to build the stairs by the time Lynne and I arrived for the installation.  My involvement was lifting, demolition, installation, and a couple of ideas regarding structural strength/rigidity.  Lynne’s job was to help Sharon relax and enjoy some wine.  When we were all done with our respective responsibilities it was time to mellow over happy hour at Vintana, Escondido (www.cohnrestaurants.com/vintana.)  As we sat there enjoying an abundance of good spirits with sumptuous food, the conversation turned to the “why” in giving.  We determined, as it has been said before, there is more joy in giving than receiving. Then why is it so hard to find people who are willing to receive?  You see John was reluctant to have the stairs built for him.  As John is a senior I am sure that he sees on TV that there are scammers out in the community taking advantage of seniors. It seems like once per month, or more like once per week, there is a news story about a financial scammer who took advantage of an elderly person.  The other reason for the reluctance is the concern for the obligation created when accepting a gift.  The receiver might think that they now owe the person giving the gift.  The receiver may want to avoid the obligation of “paying it forward” or have a limited amount of opportunities to do so.

As we sat speaking of the why in giving I was reminded of a lesson learned some years ago.  I was at a Toastmasters speech contest.  I was the spotlight speaker for the evaluation contest.  The spotlight speaker delivers a prepared five to seven minute speech and has six to eight people evaluate the speech for style, original content, grammar, etc.  As is my norm when I attend a Toastmasters gathering I always buy raffle tickets to support the district.  I also like winning.  This particular day I was extra lucky.  As the first, second, and third prizes were drawn, I won all three.  After accepting the first prize I suggested to the person drawing the tickets that they draw another winner for the second prize as I had already won once.  As they drew the third ticket, I won again.  I decided to keep the prize as I was encouraged by the giver of the prize to do so.  You see the second (now third prize) was a coaching session with Greg Betts (greg@gregbetts.com, 858-692-0159.)  At that session he taught me the reason for acceptance:  

  • When you are offered something be open to accepting.  
  • Be prepared to thank the giver.  
  • When you are open to acceptance your life becomes filled with  abundance.  
  • When you are open to receiving you will gain the abundance to be a giver.  
  • Then it is up to you to discover people to give to then take action.  Give!

Prior to receiving Greg’s coaching I would always put up barriers when given something.  I can remember arguing with my father over “who pays the bill.”  When out for a meal, now fully on my own, I would argue with my dad over who paid the bill.  After Greg’s council I now accept everyone’s freedom to give openly.  It is as important to know when to offer to give.  It is also important to be open to receive.  In every case it is important to be thankful.

My joy comes from finding someone who truly is in need and appreciates the giving.  Two cases in point are Sherry and Kevin (names have been changed to protect their real identity.)  Sherry is a degreed engineer who had a twenty year run in her field of education working in corporate America.  Now running her own business she recently reported that those in our organization realized that she could create success in her new field of endeavor before she realized she could do it.  It was the giving of her peer group, telling her she had the skills needed to create the business, that allowed her to make the leap to run her own company successfully.  Kevin is a struggling commission based sales account manager in the retail space.  In a group setting he recently shared his plight of barely making ends meet while aspiring to work as a comedian or actor.  Everyone in our group sees that he has the talent and an abundance of potential.  Volunteering to help Kevin is an easy decision because he knows how to show his appreciation.  

In summary, it is important to be able to overcome people’s reluctance to accept a hand up.  My suggestion is to do so in small easy steps for those who struggle accepting acts of kindness.  In Kevin’s case it took 18 months to accept my giving.  Be consistent while being persistent when you are interested in helping someone in need.  In the case of Kevin I often found ways to praise his demonstrated growth potential, thereby gaining his confidence in my sincerity to help him grow.  Finds ways to give people their space until they can know and trust that you are giving for the only reason, the joy of giving.

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