I’ve always been driven to be successful. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it works against me. I was about 3 years into my career when Clara joined our organization. Her specialty was compensation, and I was responsible for benefit. My initial impressions of her were that she had a lot of knowledge built up over many years in the field. A year or so later, my director decided she needed less direct reports and I needed to learn to manage a large scope of people. Thank you Kathy for the opportunity. The result was Clara now reported to me. In an early meeting with her, based on a question she posed about what I needed from her and my future goals, I responded poorly as a taker. I don’t recall the exact words I used, but they were something like, “I want to learn all that I can from you about compensation so that I can become an expert and move up in my career.” Yes, something like that really came out of my mouth and I regretted it. Clara didn’t stay long, and I didn’t blame her. I learned, but on my own because she wasn’t around.

Giving is a powerful word, but we gloss over it too often. Sometimes we think those who are givers are weak, that they are easy to walk all over. That’s probably true because givers sometimes struggle with setting boundaries. Adam Grant wrote an outstanding book on this topic, Give and Take. His research showed that being a taker only has short term positive results. Think about it, who wants to work with someone who is always taking.

As I reflect on my career and life, I’ve found the best experiences have always been around giving, not taking. Like giving others credit for their great work. Teaching others, which is about giving knowledge away that I had to others so they will be more successful. Or simply showing up to help someone in need.

Giving is also a key part of other words that are important in our lives.

Thanksgiving – Remembering to give thanks. We don’t do this enough, we assume we’re entitled to whatever happened, or we were the one who “made it happen”. We have what we have through God’s blessings and the help of others. Take the time to say, “thank you”, it goes a long way.

Forgiving – Yikes, it’s hard but important. When someone hurts us, forgiving is the farthest thing from our mind. We want to stay away from them or hurt them back. We don’t forget either, remember the wrongs others did to us months, years and even decades after they happen. The challenge is you can’t have a relationship with someone who hurt you without forgiving them. Reconciliation starts with giving of yourself by letting go.

Caregiving – Life is about caring for others and if you don’t care, I wonder if you’re human or not. Caring isn’t just thinking about it, it’s taking action, giving of ourselves to do something for someone else.  Care takes on many forms because each person’s needs are different. Caregiving is helping with something medical, like a trip to the doctor’s office. It could mean cutting up someone’s food who had a stroke or maybe providing a meal, to relieve the burden of cooking during a crisis. If you really care, give.

Life is much for fun, rewarding and rich when you are giving!

If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship. Proverbs 17:9 (GNT)

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