Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve been in a funk lately.
The past few months have been challenging. At home, my effort has been on preparing Andrew for college while making sure Emily has what she needs for middle school. Work has been equally demanding. Meetings, deadlines and projects seem to be relentless with their demands of me.
These responsibilities, and my commitment to them, have felt unfair. It feels like I’m giving to everyone but not receiving equal compensation in return. Sensing my frustration, Mary Beth went online and bought The Go-Giver for me. My wife heard about the book from a client and thought it would be the perfect medicine for me.
She was right.
Going beyond business
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann is written from a business perspective but has considerable wisdom about how we should embrace the other parts of our life, too. For me, the book provided more insights about how to face my personal issues than my business ones.
Written more like a parable than a self-help book, The Go-Giver tells the story of a young financier, Joe, who is also in a funk as the book begins. Facing the end of another disappointing sales quarter, Joe turns to the wisdom of the office sage, Gus.
Gus offers to connect the young man with a high-power consultant who Joe believes will help him achieve his third-quarter goals. It turns out the consultant, Pindar, helps Joe with something more important than securing a profitable quarter; he helps him with securing a future with an unlimited potential for happiness.
Pindar agrees to mentor Joe for one week as long as he agrees to one condition: To practice what he learns. Through practice, habits are created. Joe accepts the condition and the Laws of Stratospheric Success are presented to him.
The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success
The book progresses through the five laws with a different teacher for Joe each day. The five laws are timeless in their meaning and profound in their importance. These laws are helping me out of my funk and are showing me a life of sustained abundance can indeed exist.
Like Joe, I’m also committed to the one condition of practicing these laws, not because Pindar is making me accountable, but because I want the truth behind each law to become a habit, too:
The Law of Value
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
Each day my goal is to exceed the expectations of others. As the Law of Value states, my true worth isn’t determined by what I get back, it’s determined by how I choose to make a positive difference in the lives of the people around me. When I focus on providing value, and not on what I’m getting, then my self-worth will grow exponentially.
How I’m practicing The Law of Value: I look for simple, obvious ways to add value. I try to give my children what they need; plus a little more; I give Mary Beth the space to build a life she can call her own; and I attempt to give myself a dose of self-love when I feel the doubt begin to swell. By doing these things, my return will be measured in a currency more precious than money.
The Law of Compensation
Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
Lately I’ve been throwing a pity party for one. Feeling frustrated about not getting back what I thought I deserved, the Law of Compensation tells me I have it wrong. Life isn’t about requiring a quid pro quo system; it’s about giving for the sake of giving. When my focus is on how well I can serve, then abundance will find me.
How I’m practicing The Law of Compensation: I’m throwing away the scorecards and my expectations. In their place, I’m seeking new ways to impact as many people as possible. I’m offering free coaching sessions for people who need some encouragement and I’m helping folks who would like to start or grow their own blog. My intent is to expand my world and then offer my best talents to whoever asks.
The Law of Influence
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first.
Being a parent is helping me create new habits around the Law of Influence faster than the other four laws. The most important action I take as a parent is to put the needs of my children before my own. Focusing on their needs has enabled me to become a significant influence in their lives; as a result, I better understand the power of this law.
How I’m practicing The Law of Influence: I’m attempting to understand, first, before trying to be understood. I will ask one question more than, “how are you doing?” and then I will wait to hear the answer. Growing my influence, however, will be secondary to meeting others wherever they happen to be and then attempting to give them what they need.
The Law of Authenticity
The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
Most people have keen radar that can detect when someone is being authentic, or not. When I stay true to who I am, then I’m better able to give others what they need because they are more willing to receive what I have are to offer.
How I’m practicing The Law of Authenticity: No matter the temptation to become someone I am not, my goal is to honor my true nature. I’m not a man full of bravado or someone who is comfortable being the center of attention, but I am a man who has a sensitive intuition and can tell when people are struggling. One benefit of approaching my 50s is I’m seeing the real Alex a little clearer each day and I like what I see. I’m also learning others like what they see, too.
The Law of Receptivity
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
This law is my biggest nemesis.
I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking I’m not worthy to receive my heart’s desire. As a child, I thought not getting what I wanted was punishment for not being enough for my mother. No matter how hard I tried to be a good boy, she would choose the bottle over me. This left me feeling that if I wasn’t worthy to receive a mother’s love, then I wasn’t worthy to receive anything at all.
How I’m practicing The Law of Receptivity: Shifting my focus from feeling unworthy and to accepting good things is my greatest challenge. However, The Law of Receptivity is teaching me that receiving is the natural result of giving. In an ironic, but pleasant twist, the key to effective giving is to also be open to receiving. So, since I want to be a good giver, I’m now more motivated to become a good receiver.
My heart is opening wider each day to take in the love, kindness and abundance it deserves. When these things come my way, I’m learning not to duck, but to breathe them in and allow their spirit to fill me with the encouragement to keep giving. This back-and-forth of giving and then receiving is creating an intoxicating happiness.
By the end of The Go-Giver, Joe is finding a better place; a place where his dream of stratospheric success is coming true. Like Joe, I’m also finding this better place. For me, it’s a place of stratospheric contentment. It’s a place where I know good things will find me; choose me, because of what I’m willing to give.
My funk is lifting. And in its place a comforting peace is falling.
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- Please share in Comments below the habits you are creating to become a better giver, and receiver.