There are so many experiences that shape our lives. It really is to our advantage to pay attention to them. I recently read a little book, "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg, and it reminded me of an experience I had in the late 1970s. Yes, I am that old. I would encourage you to read the book if you haven't.
In the late 1970s, I was involved in a number of Christian ministry opportunities. During those days, I was constantly giving of myself, my resources and my time to others. I loved it. Those days set the stage for the remainder of my life. One day, I had a close friend (Chris Davis, wherever you are) cornered me and said, "You have got to stop cheating people by not accepting what they want to give you!" She was emphatic, a little irritated and right in my face. Not a lot people would get in my face at that time, so I was impressed at her passion. And you know what, she was right.
What was she talking about? I was constantly giving. I loved it and I did it just about everyday, but, if someone wanted to give me something or to do something for me, I begged off and declined. "No, I'm fine. I'm good." How does this play out your life? Think about this simple illustration and see if you're guilty. Someone walks up to you and says, "That's a beautiful dress," to which you respond, "This old thing. I've had it for years." Or how about, "While you're convalescing from your knee replacement, I'd like to mow your grass," to which you say, "Thanks, but I'm just going to have the landscaping company down the street take care of it."
You see, in both cases, someone shared something with you, or they wanted to do something for you to which you said, "No." If you truly believe that you reap what you sow, you just stopped them from being blessed for their generosity toward you. God put these laws of nature in place to bless us. When we stop someone from giving to us, we rob them of the blessing that occupancies their giving. What farmer would put seeds in the ground and never expect plants to follow? It would make no sense and his labor would be fruitless.
The proper response to the dress compliment should be, "Thank you." Nothing more, nothing less. The mowing response should be, "Are you sure? That's a lot grass to mow, but if you're sure, I am so grateful. Thank you." In both cases, you unleashed the world of giving and receiving into the person's life.
I've had more experiences of being the recipenant than a simple blog would allow, but let me share a couple simple things (and there are hundreds) that have happened since Chris confronted me. I made a commitment right then and there to be open to receive as well as give. A few years after that incident, my wife and I were young in our marriage and we had been struggling financially. No one knew but us and God. We had continued to be faithful givers of ourselves, time and money and we had a lot of seed in the ground. I went to a meeting one day, and when I returned to my car, the entire front seat of my car was covered with $20 bills. I don't know where they came from, nor do I remember how much was there, but I remember it paid all of our bills. That was the receiver end of a life of giving. The person responsible remains anonymous, and I'm sure they were blessed for their generosity.
On another occasion, I had returned to my Alma Mater in Oklahoma for a conference. While there, I visited the family I worked for while I was in college. When the wife saw me coming up the walk, she ran and grabbed her checkbook and wrote a check. Once we had our initial greetings and catch up time, she handed me the check and said, "I'm supposed to give this to you." I was dumbfounded. I didn't need any money, but, I had made a commitment to be a receiver as well as a giver, and I accepted it with a "Thank you."
When I arrived at the airport in VA, a couple who picked me up met me at the baggage claim. We chatted all the way back to town and in the course of our conversation they told me about an unexpected expense that had just surfaced in their lives. They weren't sure what they were going to do. Of course, it was the same amount as the check that I had in my pocket. I signed the check over to them, and handed it between the seats. Now, they were dumbfounded. My trip to Tulsa ultimately took care of their financial stress, and I never lost a thing.
Think about that in business. When you are generous to your clients, no matter if it's time, knowledge or resources, you are sowing seeds that will ultimately grow up into a harvest at some point. You don't do it simply to receive the harvest, but you do it because you're a giver who wants to bless those who have entrusted their biggest life purchase or sale into your hands. It's a law of nature that if you sow, you will reap.
One of my sales last year was for a couple who are going through a major medical crisis. Their property needed a lot of fixing before it would bring a good price. Much of it was electrical. I sent an electrician from my contracting company to make sure every receptacle, switch, smoke detector, light fixture, door bell, light bulb and cover plate was new. We brought their home up to the 2017 electrical code and I dared the home inspector to find a problem with it. He didn't. Was it cheap to do that? Not at all, but it took the stress off of that overly stressed out family and it brought a full price offer with limited contingencies.
That lead to a second listing of a much more expensive house. What I gave on the first house turned in a size-able return on the second house. I have profited from both, but that wasn't my motivation. It was just the return on an investment in a client. We don't give to get, but get because we give. Be a happy giver and you will always have plenty of returns to make you an even better giver.