When I reflect over the year that has been, I feel proud and blessed to do the work I love with people I like. Everything I’ve done and the choices I have made have led me to where I am now.
- Coaching and mentoring
- Running hundreds of workshop programs around leadership, communication and motivational mapping
- Publishing for various publications, and
- Speaking at a range of amazing events.
All of these things have required a sacrifice, time and commitment and I wouldn’t change a thing except for the fact I could have valued my time more.
Something I have been guilty of that I have to consciously control, is giving too much. What I mean by this is I love to give and make a difference and in the last 5 years in particular I have had to be mindful of my time even more, in order to look after myself and my clients. Self-care takes constant work and focus and the benefits far outweigh the cost!
We all like to make a difference in some way, whether it be through our profession, role in the family, in society or simply by just being who we are?
Let’s look at where you sit as far as giving and taking and what this means for you…..
We are coming into the Christmas season where for many of life’s givers, this can be a challenging time. We all give and take but I am sure you can think of someone, maybe even yourself who leans more to one side of this equation.
Are you the one over the festive season who is forever cooking, entertaining, loading the dishwasher, shopping and basically facilitating other people’s pleasures throughout this time? You may take pride in doing this but at this time or other times in the year there can be a huge personal cost of being drained physically, emotionally and sometimes even financially.
Compulsive givers console themselves with the belief that this selfless behaviour is a positive trait. Takers, on the other hand are usually unlikely to notice the effort – they view standout meals and so on as a natural part of the festive season.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t give or receive for that matter, but it should all be about balance.
Emotional or Material
The giving and taking relationship is present in all relationships and the exchange can be emotional or material.
Extreme givers offer up their time and energy and also their emotional support as well. Takers on the other hand tend to focus on their own needs and enjoy each “gift” meanwhile the giver is always on the look-out to improve and add value to the lives of others.
Often, I see that people who like to give will gravitate towards those people who are very comfortable with receiving. It is not a surprise that giving (not always) is a female trait and this can come from early in life where we are taught and see things that we instill into our behaviour as we grow older.
Giving is a good thing and as long as you are not an extreme giver, it obviously has a positive side. It has been researched, on a biological level, giving to others has stimulates rewards in the pleasure centres of the brain. This has even been linked to prolong life expectancy.
When you give to your family you are ultimately protecting your own genes, this is known as “kin altruism”.
When you give to friends this is known as “reciprocal altruism”. It’s like a sort of social karma “whereby you do something for another on the understanding that one day they’ll do something back for you”.
Emotional reasons and your personal beliefs and values can also be linked to how you act.
So, are you more of a giver or taker?
When in balance you will be doing this in a way that is resourceful and you will feel empowered as you will be on both ends of the spectrum.
If you feel unbalanced in this area here are a few techniques to balance your giver or taker role:
Be aware of your reflex actions
- Be aware: if you are an overly giving or receiving person this will present itself a number of times of a day. The trick is to be aware of it.
- A simple way to check this out is to pass around a plate of food or a box of tissues and see what happens. Some people will offer this on to others, some will thrust it upon the next person and others will grab what they want themselves. I’ve seen this in meetings when sharing the load, interesting to observe.
- Watch your behaviour over 12 hrs and be aware of your actions!
Understand your emotions
- How do you feel when giving a receiving? Keep a record of this for a few days
- Write down when you gave or received something emotionally or materially –this could be a your time, a present or even a compliment.
- Each day summarise how you felt, how intense it was and how often you felt that way.
Identify the root of your behaviour
- Giving or taking – ask yourself why?
- Was there something lacking in your past, were you given too much? Do you feel that “you” aren’t enough and you need to add to this?
- Spend a full day giving and receiving at every opportunity, think about how this makes you feel.
All you then need to do is introduce some of your new actions and emotions into your life. This will give you a more balanced approach to things and will allow you to be an even better person, for you.
It all starts with you and a great way to enter into 2020!