Our lives are better when we’re generous. We feel good when we give of ourselves – whether it be our money, time, or talents – to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. Acts of generosity often allow us to open up to others and forge new relationships.
Being generous is not always easy. We live in a world that bombards us with messages of scarcity. It’s tough to be generous if we fear we might need the money tomorrow. We live in a competitive world that encourages us to use money as a way to keep score. Nobody wants to be generous and end up feeling like a loser.
The truth is generosity takes courage, and practice.
Start building your generosity muscle. Give until you feel a bit uncomfortable. Give a little extra to a charitable cause you care about. Spend a little extra time with a friend or work colleague who could use your help. Leave an larger-than-usual tip to a server who provided excellent service.
And every time you stretch your generosity muscle, ask yourself the following three questions:
- Do you feel energized by being generous?
- Do you feel more connected to the person or cause you helped?
- Do you feel more confident as you face the future?
My hunch is you will discover generosity feels great.
It’s amazing what is available free, or virtually free. Legal advice is free (lawguru.com). Tax preparation advice is free (taxact.com). Medical advice is free (webmd.com).
Okay — all of that advice isn’t REALLY free. Too often, it’s generic advice that can, when taken out of context, be more harmful than helpful.
Many of us sell our time, talents, wisdom, experience and network of personal connections. We give advice tailored to the customer’s specific situation.
We resent the free advice model. We want to get paid for the value we deliver. After all, why should we, a true professional, give it away for free?
Because we should have the courage to be generous – the courage to meet with a potential customer, listen to their story, and give them the best advice we can, for free. It takes courage to stop worrying about being paid and to focus on the person who sits before us.
It takes courage because the only compensation we might receive is the satisfaction of helping another human being.
I’m not suggesting you give away your advice forever. I am suggesting that adopting an attitude of generosity and focusing on the person before you gives you the chance to demonstrate both your value and your character.
And in many cases, that will lead to a paying client. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.
Have the courage to be generous.