The benefits of giving—no strings attached

A friend of mine is readying to celebrate the release of her book.

In her email asking if I’d help spread the word when it hits shelves, she wrote: I want to take you to lunch in exchange for supporting me.

Here’s the deal: I’m DELIGHTED to support her. She’s a wonderful person, and I know her book will be impactful. I can’t wait to share its merits with the world.

I don’t ever need someone to do something for me in exchange for my help or encouragement. (In fact, if I can avoid adding something to my calendar and still support you in a meaningful way, all the better!)

That’s not how I’m wired, and as it turns out, that’s a good thing.

In his wonderful book Give and Take, organizational psychologist Adam Grant dives into the research behind what he calls givers, takers, and matchers.

Givers love to contribute without expectation of a return. Takers, conversely, love to receive. And matchers fall somewhere in the middle, striving to maintain a balance of giving and taking.

Notably, Grant’s research found that givers usually end up at both the top and the bottom in terms of success. Yes, they can be exploited and burn out. But they can also build up insurmountable goodwill that pays dividends. Their relationships flourish, and their networks widen. Over time, they benefit in ways they never expected to.

I love the idea that unrequited generosity pays off. I’ve lived it.

I let my friend know she didn’t need to return my favor. I’m a giver—and proud of it.

Rooting for you,

P.S. If you’re looking to join a network of givers, reach out. My next Leadership Circle for executive women launches this fall and the deadline to apply is next week. I’m offering up 20-minute consultations to answer your questions about the experience. Simply send me a DM or email and I’ll send you a link to schedule a call with me. 

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