Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Over the past year, I have been spending a lot of time traveling on planes (thank goodness for Qantas frequent flyer benefits!)  Airports are a fascinating place, full of hustle and bustle as people go about their lives trying to get from point A to point B.  This flurry of activity (along with flight schedules and the chance of missing a flight) is filled with people from all walks of life from business owners, employees, and families going about their lives.

As our pace of life (and work) continues to speed up I am noticing that people are starting to fall into 2 distinct categories.

One group are the ‘Takers’.  These are the people that are always pushing to get things their way.  The energy that they spread is one that is often self-centered and quite often full of tunnel vision.  I noticed someone getting off a plane yesterday that was in such a hurry that when they got their bag from the overhead compartment, they just pushed it into the person behind them.  No word of apology, in fact, they were not even aware as they also grabbed their jacket and flung it over their shoulders -hitting the woman behind them in the face. It was as if they did not care, or even worse they had no awareness.

The other group is the Givers.  These are the people that look at you and give you a kind smile.  They are also busy, however, they take the time to help the other person get their overnight bag out of the overhead compartment.  On the same flight, I had the pleasure of a businessman offering to hold a 6-month-old baby to provide the mother with a chance to easily stand up from her seat and grab the baby’s toys from the seat pocket in front of her. This kind gesture of giving was a powerful example of what we all should be doing.

So who is winning the current race of life?  The Givers or the Takers? If we read and listen to the news and media headlines they will promote the negative things that are occurring by the Takers.  However, if you start looking you can see the Givers that are there helping others.

My question is what would your footprints tell me about you over the last 7 days?  Were you a Giver or a Taker?

At Work:  Make a conscious effort to be a Giver.  Check in with the people around you and look for opportunities to assist them.  This can be something as simple as making them (or buy them!) a cup of coffee. Ask them how their family is doing and show an interest in them as a human being, not just another staff member.  If you can start this and get others to pass it on, the positive impact on your work culture will be incredible. It all starts with a step of kindness and giving to someone else. Small gestures make a massive impact – especially when you are giving to others.

At Home:  Take a minute or two and write down on a sheet a paper your activity over the past week.  Make 2 columns and title one column “giving” and the second column “taking.” Now write down the touchpoints that you have had with your family/partner/children over the past week.  Be honest. Also recognise that some of your activity may be neutral, which means it is neither giving or taking. The question you need to ask is where do you want your activity to be?  And more importantly, take a few moments to identify some things you can do to start giving. Remember it does not have to be financial giving, in fact, the most powerful gifts are those that have a true connection and show that you really do care.  

If we can get everyone to do more giving than taking we can make the world a more positive place.  More importantly, you will know when you are making this difference to others when you get that warm feeling inside – deep in your soul.  This is your inner vision letting you know that you are ‘on path’.

As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand.  

You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register.  

Click here to find out more.