The Power of Giving

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In the “What’s in it for me?” generation what have we GIVEN lately?

In a recent team-building exercise I commented to a group of senior executives “instead of asking what your team is giving to you ask what you can give back to other members in your regional group”.

Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson of Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers fame talks about the importance of giving in his book “Sacred Hoops”. When he started coaching the Bulls he had a team of super stars like Pippen and Jordan. But the team was not consistently winning championship titles. One of Jackson’s first tasks was to sell the team on the virtue and practice of being less selfish. He told them in effect, “The name of the team is on the front of the jersey. Your name is on the back.”

What does it mean to live from a place of generosity and practice giving in deeper and soulful ways? Giving this way implies that

  1. We have an abundance mentality. Giving does not deprive us of our resources. Rather it multiplies them not necessarily in material things but in richness of spirit. It also, despite challenges, sees life not as a struggle but as a magical adventure.
  2. We know that life has everything we need. The giver sees the unlimited potential in the universe. In that light we live the life of the affluent in areas like love, friends, and physical and mental vitality. And yes, also in financial resources.
  3. We focus habitually on giving rather than taking. This is the antithesis of the suspicious person who constantly feels “What are people going to take from me?”
  4. We relinquish the attachment to outcome. We don’t use our giving as a PR tactic. It is more important that people receive than we acquire a good reputation. Giving is not a marketing strategy. If you want to be known as a philanthropist you will be a poverty stricken one indeed.
  5. We “slip into the gap between our thoughts” because every self and other-limiting thought is a story of our own creation. And as authors we have the power to move into the space of our true self, in the gaps.
  6. We consistently substitute kindness for judgment. When I am tired and insecure I often revert to judgment by placing people and situations into good and bad categories. My internal storytelling then converts the world into a miserable and chaotic place. Next time you feel inclined to judge. Stop. Substitute a kind act or thought.

What has the intentional and conscious practice of giving brought to your life?

About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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