There are so many experiences that shape our lives. Pay attention.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

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.



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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Mike, I love the stories in this post.  I could be better at accepting things, part of the challenge of being raised to work hard and be self-reliant.  If I can find a way to address it myself, I don't want to be an imposition on others (although I get what you're saying!).  Bill

May 19, 2019 02:55 PM #7
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

 A lesson well learned...not the "you shouldn't have" that makes the giver wish they had not !

May 19, 2019 08:02 PM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes, all you have to do is move a little slower and the flowers smell sweeter in the food tastes better and the friendships I just that much stronger

May 19, 2019 10:09 PM #9
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Mike wow this could have been three posts each on it's own powerful enough, but to put it in one makes it super powerful... yes sometimes you have to know how to receive. Giving has its many rewards, but it is also nice to receive...BTW wow about the anonymous donor this was before it became him cool and trendy to "pay it forward" this was someone who was a true giver....Endre

May 19, 2019 10:48 PM #10
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

What a wonderful story, some of what you wrote about, I'm guilty of.  Time to change my thinking.

May 20, 2019 02:12 AM #11
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is very important information. When people try to give something to us, it's making THEM feel great. We shouldn't stop people from feeling good.

May 20, 2019 03:21 AM #12
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mike Cooper, GRI - Reading your post was like looking in the mirror. It was always easier (self-expected) for me to give than to receive and awkward when someone tried to do something nice for me. Several years ago, I had major surgery and wore a catheter underneath a floor-length raincoat and shuffled my feet in Walgreens to get a prescription because I was too proud to receive help when I so desperately needed it. 

May 20, 2019 03:43 AM #13
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

I think we all extend ourselves in 'service businesses'.  It is our nature to be as helpful as possible.  My greater satisfaction is knowing that a client is pleased with my work.  This feeling lasts longer than cashing in the final check.  Thanks for the great heartwarming story.

May 20, 2019 04:54 AM #14
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Of course I loved your post Mike. 

To all who don't really know Mike and perhaps assume that these are just words, let me assure you that they are not. I know because I was at the receiving end of Mike's kindness, pay-it-forward attitude, and generosity. A few years ago Mike offered my little family (who really needed some time to reconnect) his vacation home in the Shenandoah Valley for a week. It was not easy for me to accept Mike's offer, I wasn't used to being a receiver. I was ready to just say "thank you, how kind, but no thank you". But, it was exactly what we needed at the time and Mike really wanted to help us. So I accepted. We had a wonderful week. Mike was genuinely thrilled for us. 

I've become better at being a happy receiver. And I've been paying it forward.  

May 20, 2019 07:04 AM #15
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Coop has the scoop....

May 20, 2019 09:33 AM #16
Monica Hill
RE/Max Associates - Wilmington, DE
the REALTOR to help you discover Delaware

Great post, Mike! As Realtors, I think many of us tend to be givers. We do need the reminders to allow others the great experience of giving, just as your post illustrated!

May 20, 2019 04:02 PM #17
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

This is a MAKE ME SMILE article!

May 20, 2019 06:43 PM #18
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Well, this post certainly made me stop and think. I tend to decline help and had never considered I was denying the other party, just myself. Thank you for a great post.

May 21, 2019 03:40 AM #19
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

We are taught to give but receiving is not stressed. It is like we learn to be good losers but we also need to learn to be good winners too

May 21, 2019 04:24 AM #20
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Mike, these are great stories of giving and receiving. I remember when our pastor taught on this very subject and said the same, by not allowing others the opportunity to give, you rob them of their blessings. It has stayed with me. Receiving can be difficult sometimes so I remember that when someone wants to do something for me or my family. 

May 21, 2019 04:32 AM #21
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Mike, I love your post. Giving is something we all talk about a lot but, not as much on receiving. It's something I need to improve on myself. I never thought of it as stopping them from being blessed from their generosity. That makes a lot of sense. Your anonymous giver is incredible, even though I'd always remain curious to know who it was, it makes it more special that you don't.

May 21, 2019 05:08 AM #22
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

You made me think about my Aunt. When my kids were young we used to enjoy going out to lunch with her, but I stopped suggesting it because she would never let me pay the bill. It was true that she had a heck of a lot more money than I did, but I didn't enjoy being made to feel like we were "the poor country relatives."

Sometimes, you need to let someone else be the giver.

May 21, 2019 07:39 AM #23
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

What an inspiring blog!  I did chuckle as I am guilty of the 'this old thing' remark--not in those exact words but t he same point.  I try to do unexpected extra things for my clients--and boy do they appreciate it!!

May 21, 2019 12:31 PM #24
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

I was once told that avoiding compliments and not accepting help when I really need it is rude and disrespectful to the person offering it. I try really hard to just say thank you or to let people help now.

May 21, 2019 05:36 PM #25
Sandi Gerrard
Toronto, ON

Great story and life lessons here. Thanks for sharing.

May 24, 2019 07:34 AM #26
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