Not long ago I was standing in line at the local post office. A woman in front of me turned around and said, “You can go ahead of me.” I looked at her (I am sure with a look of astonishment) and declined saying, “That’s okay you were here first.” Her response was, “Child, don’t you dare try to snatch my good deed from me. Get up there!”
That moment in the post office was an “aha” experience for me. I realized that I wasn’t being gracious nor was I receiving. As she so powerfully stated, I was taking her good deed; her opportunity to give to me.
Last year I wrote a blog post entitled “Don’t Be a Taker.” Below is a re-post of that blog which I recently reviewed. It was a reminder, at least for me, to be present to receive graciously.
Don’t Be A Taker
When I facilitate team building retreats, one of the questions I ask individuals on the team is whether or not it is within their comfort zone to receive support. By in large, most high performance people rate themselves low on the “receiving scale.” It’s either a big stretch for them or they simply don’t. They operate from a way of being that “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” That’s not a bad thing. Let’s face it, in many cases it serves us well.
There are two disconnects here:
1. In order for a team or an organization to grow; be high performing and become world class the individuals on that team need to learn to not only be supported but to ASK for support. Then once they’ve asked they have to be able to receive it. No one, not any one of us can do it all on our own.
2. Second, and a little more personal, if you are the one who is ALWAYS giving I believe that makes you a taker. Why? Because you are “taking” from the people around you; robbing them of the opportunity to feel the satisfaction, joy and fulfillment of giving to you. In addition, professionally, allowing and releasing of control can foster valuable development for colleagues and team members. That’s called mentoring.
I believe that asking AND allowing oneself to receive is equally important to giving. It’s important to get uncomfortable and stretch into unfamiliar territory in order to grow personally and professionally. So today, be a giver – give the people in your work and life the opportunity to give to you and support you. Your team and the people in your life are counting on it.