Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Personal Development Breakthroughs at Genius Network

Recently, Roslyn and I had the pleasure of attending the Genius Network annual event. We’ve been part of this group for a little over two years, and it was really awesome to meet up with many of the people we’ve met since joining. In addition to seeing the cool people we know, we learned a lot about business strategy, personal development, and just how to be better humans all around. Plus, Alice Cooper was there, and we had the opportunity to hang out with him and his wife, Sheryl, at a small private dinner.

During the event, Roslyn and I attended a presentation where Joe Polish, founder of the Genius Network, sat down to have a conversation with Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach. These are two giants in the world of entrepreneurs with a lot of great insight. I left that presentation having experienced what I call a personal-development breakthrough. During the conversation, Joe Polish talked about how to “be a giver, not a taker.” I’ve heard him talk about this concept before, but this time he delved deeper into what he means by it. Plus, you know what they say, “when the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.”

What he said really stuck with me because in the past, I know I’ve gone into business situations wondering, What am I going to get out of it? If I spend money or my time on a project, I expect to get something in return. Then, if I don’t think I’m getting out of it what I should be, I have a tendency to complain. Joe pointed out that to blame, complain, or criticize is self- sabotaging and why we should approach any situation with the opposite mindset. Instead, he said you should start asking what can you give to the situation.

When you go into a situation with the intention to give rather than to take, you’ll never be disappointed. The Genius Network event happened to take place around the same time Roslyn and I were scheduled to re-up our membership in the mastermind group we are part of. Before the event, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to that group for another year. I realized I was complaining about the group and didn’t feel like I was getting what I wanted out of it. After listening to Joe and Dan, I turned to Roslyn and said, “We’re going to re-up in the mastermind. I haven’t been contributing enough.”

“When you go into a situation with the intention to give rather than to take, you’ll never be disappointed.”

I left the conference and put my new mindset into practice in our company. We were working on a new marketing campaign that wasn’t doing so well, and my old mindset would have been to get mad and think, “This guy sold us a bill of goods, and now he can’t deliver! This isn’t going where he said it would. I should just pull the plug.” Instead, I worked with the marketing guy to figure out what wasn’t working and what we needed to tweak. I asked, “What more could I be doing for this campaign?”

Being a giver rather than a taker won’t turn every situation into a resounding success, but it does give you more control over how the circumstance plays out. Getting mad, complaining, and giving up doesn’t ever produce desirable results. However, offering to help figure it out and being willing to put in more effort can sometimes turn it all around. It’s like Zig Ziglar once said, “You can get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

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