“You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar
The quote above has always fascinated me and made me realize that some of the most effective and successful salespeople, business people, politicians, friends, neighbors don’t try to push an agenda as a way to take what they think they deserve, but those who give so much in the way of advice, services, mentoring, help and, yes, useful products and services to others, who end up reaping the most benefit in the long-term.
Adam Grant, among others, have researched and written about this phenomena. And I believe Ziglar didn’t go far enough. I would add that “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want without regard for ever getting anything back.”
More recently, I’ve had the good fortune of volunteering with organizations like Living Room Conversations, Braver Angels and, most recently, CalRCV that aim to improve our political system and how we talk about sensitive topics.
All of these organizations are doing something important: helping us communicate better and work constructively together even when we differ sharply with each other.
Outside of those efforts, I want to give back to friends, family, neighbors, and professionals I know and hope to know. I know I can provide advice, mentoring, and help based on my experience, knowledge and talent.
Many do this through their professional work and daily interactions, as have I. However, I’m not talking about cooperation and reciprocity which is required when I’ve been paid for work as an employee or business owner.
Instead, I’m thinking of giving without a care for ever getting anything back. Giving because I can. Giving because someone else can benefit from what I’ve gained to help them get to the next stage in their life. Giving, knowing that many have done the same for me throughout my life. And giving because it’s the right thing to do.
So, this week I started reaching out to everyone I’ve known over my lifetime, just a couple of dozen each week, to see what they’re up to, what they’ve done since we last spoke weeks, months, or years ago, as a means of figuring out what I can offer and how I can help.
This isn’t a way to find new business. It’s my attempt to give back. I know in many cases, just a 5 to 10 minute of my effort may help someone I know get a new connection, find a mentor, get a new resource or tool that unlocks a door that’s been closed to them.
So, bring on your requests, questions, wants and needs. I want to do more and give as much as I can. Just ask.