This month on my site I have been writing about giving. Often in the face of hardship we talk about not giving up and I certainly have experienced that. We don't always realise how powerful the act of giving can truly be. I'm not talking about charity; I support several, but do so in as many practical ways as possible, not just with donations. What I am talking about is often harder; the power of giving your time, your attention and your generosity of spirit.
In a busy world, we often rush just to get through the day, so I thought I would summarise some simple ways to enrich your life with the power of giving.
Giving your time
When was the last time you called a friend, a relative, someone having a hard time, and just chatted with them? No, text messages and emails don't count. Pick up the telephone and talk to them and ask them how they are.
Better still, meet for coffee, tea, a chat face to face. This is true giving; real time spent connecting with someone and the bonus is, it will make you feel good too. Resolve to make at least one of these calls a month, then every two weeks until it becomes part of your routine.
• Giving willingly
The next time someone asks you to do something take a deep breath, count to 5 and say yes. All too often we put off requests with cries of, "So, sorry, so busy, another time, rain check?" We are miserly with our time, hoarding it to ourselves, unwilling to spend precious moments on others.
This is especially important in business where going for the sale often backfires whereas spending some time nurturing potential clients is far more effective.
The whole world is one vast network and if you are unwilling to be patient and listen more than you speak, willingly giving your attention, you will miss out on the true opportunities out there. The next time someone asks your advice or for help, see it as an opportunity to connect rather than an unwelcome interruption to your life.
• Giving with an open heart
Trust is a big issue for many of us. We may have had bad experiences in the past or feel overwhelmed by all the bad news out there about scams and fraud. I'm not suggesting you be foolish; if something sounds too good to be true it probably is!
We cannot function well as human beings if we mistrust everything and everyone. Do your due diligence, be it business or personal, you do not have to start from a position of suspicion. Having an open heart means you will listen, consider and be moved to action based on the truest motive of wanting to do good for the benefit of all. If someone is successful I genuinely applaud their achievement. If someone needs my help I do what is in my power to do. I try to see it from their point of view. This shows empathy and the world would be a better place if there was more empathy.
The next time you feel your trust hackles rising, try to see the world from the other person's perspective. "Walk a mile in their shoes..."
Picture courtesy of Sarah Vitale
• Giving value and quality
In a disposable world, it seems we throw away more than we mend. Sadly, that can apply to relationships too. When you give value, people come back to you on a business and personal level. If you are willing to go the extra step to make someone's experience of your business a good one, or spend time getting to know a person, you receive back tenfold.
I believe in spending a bit of extra time to get something right, which in the long run saves time and effort not having to put right what has gone wrong. It is just not in my nature to be satisfied with 'almost'. I believe that giving quality is a duty when you are in the business of serving others. If something is important, then it is worth the time making sure it is of quality.
Giving is most powerful when you don't expect anything in return. With that mindset, you often receive more than you can imagine. When you give, your time, your generosity, your patience, your empathy it triggers the endorphins in your brain. So, the side benefit of giving is that it makes you feel good.