Throughout my writing and speaking career, there’s been a constant thread: Be generous to others by intelligently sharing your intangibles. What you know. Who you know. Who you are. My belief is that we gather up these things, just so we can give them away.
Recently, I received an email from a new Lovecat, who recently discovered Love Is the Killer App. He happily reported that he’s been trying out my networking advice, three times a week. So far, he’s connected almost a dozen people that “should meet” and then got out of their way.
He’s facing one challenge. Answering the following question: “What can I do in return for YOU?” Usually, it left him looking for an answer – and not some task or favor he could deal back. After all, he wrote to me, he wasn’t making a trade when he was networking. He was showing love.
For years, I’ve dealt with this, especially when I’m trying to help people that have a strong Tit-For-Tat reflex response. You help, they repay and so on. But if that’s why we help others, we are living a lie. We are merely trading our time for their future consideration. Like an option of sorts, not even close to a gift.
In my thinking, we give away our intangibles to promote growth and success in others. It multiplies value and we do it for the love of it. That’s it.
Here are the three things I usually say when someone I’ve networked, encouraged or mentored offers to pay me back:
1. You Deserved The Connection/Advice. – Nice smart people help other nice smart people. I mentor or network worthy people, with a positive mission in mind. You are working hard to succeed and have good intentions.
2. I Do This Because I Get A Charge Out Of It. – Nothing makes me feel more successful than seeing someone else succeed. When I pass along teachings or connections, I feel richer for the experience. I learn from the effort too. I never get dumber by making someone else smarter. I never break my network by installing another support being. What I did for you today makes my day.
3. You Should Try It Too. – If we all did this, we’d make this place a lot better. We’d put the good folks in charge by giving them the power, and no power bill. Adopt my system: Help three people a week. Try it for a few months, and you’ll get addicted to the significance. If you could help someone today get ahead, who would it be?
Being a true giver requires such a response system. You don’t help others because of who they are, and how they can repay you. You should help them because it gives you an opportunity to do something incredible with all that you’ve learned and all you’ve become. In one of my favorite books by Leo Buscaglia, he says the following about someone who has this point of view: “He wanted to be the greatest. It was something he could give away!”