Last week I wrote about generosity and success - how givers are at both the top and bottom of the success charts. I mentioned that the successful givers differentiate themselves by taking a win-win attitude: they consider their own interests as well as the interests of the people they're giving to.
There's more to say on this - there are 3 specific mistakes that unsuccessful givers make, that keep them unsuccessful. Once again quoting Adam Grant’s book Give and Take, the unsuccessful givers are frequently:
- Too trusting,
- Too timid, and
- Too empathic.
Let's look at each of those in detail:
Successful givers choose who to give to. They avoid giving to people who just take advantage. Instead, they focus their energy on people who value and appreciate the generosity, are likely to make good use of it, and in time will “pay it forward.” As a result they create networks and cultures of generosity.
There's a particular trap here, which successful givers learn how to avoid. Some people are "fakers" - they seem genuine, but they're faking their positive qualities, charming their way into taking advantage.
So if you’re a giver - or want to be - watch out for the fakers. Make sure you don’t give too much before you’re confident that the person you’re giving to really is genuine.
This is like the old saying, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Successful givers are more likely to ask for what they want. They won’t be angry or vindictive if they don’t get it, of course - but they’re not afraid to ask.
There may be a gender correlation here. Grant quotes some research into the gender pay gap. It seems that pay offers made to men and women are equivalent. But men are 8x more likely to negotiate, rather than just accept what’s been offered, and that’s enough to explain the 7.4% pay gap between men and women.
Grant shares a technique here: imagine you’re advocating on someone else’s behalf. If you were negotiating this deal on behalf of your best friend, instead of for yourself, how would you negotiate? What would you say and do differently?
Of course, empathy is a great quality - it helps you to make real connections with others. But being too empathic causes problems - if you can’t bear to see anyone else in any discomfort, then you won’t be able to think clearly and make good decisions.
The trick here is to consciously make sure you’re not just feeling empathically, but thinking empathically too. So think clearly about what's important for the other person. Think clearly about what's important for you. And then you'll be in a good place to find the win-win agreements that work well for you both.
Furthermore, if there isn’t a win-win agreement to be had, you won’t feel so bad. You’ll be able to let this opportunity go, without damaging the relationship by settling for an agreement that's bad for one or other of you.
In conclusion: the most successful people are givers. They are least prone to burnout and they make the biggest contribution. But they’re a particular sort of givers - they think win-win, they give their trust wisely, they aren’t timid when it comes to negotiating, and they’re intelligent in the way they empathise.
Could that be you?
Would you like to become more successful and generous?
Becoming successfully generous helps you to be more effective in achieving your goals, reduces the risk of burnout, helps you feel great about yourself and more connected to others.
Coaching can make a huge difference here - it can help you make progress much more quickly and easily.
The first strep is a strategy session, where we get the overview of where you are at the moment, how you'd like things to be different - and I'll help you discover one easy step that can help you make progress right away. The session will also help you decide if this coaching is right for you, and if I'm the right coach for you.
For more details or to book your complimentary strategy session, just email firstname.lastname@example.org