Not too long ago I used to think that to be generous meant buying gifts for people whose efforts deserved to get recognised. And while it is true that those who contribute to us should get noticed, the idea of how generosity showed up to me proved to be limiting. I’ve been discovering that to be generous can be far deeper and enriching than giving presents.
How I Learnt To Be Generous
I had a breakthrough when I was dealing with my clients for consulting. I discovered that I would get very upset, frustrated, and angry in certain situations. Such as when they were not sure whether they should or should not continue working on their project (and with me!). Or, they constantly re-scheduled our meetings. However, the way I behaved was making things worse. I would be irritated or get resigned about their progress. It seemed to me that they did not care enough while the truth was I was the one who stopped caring about them.
In the process, I discovered that there were a few things missing in my behaviour and service. The one thing that was popping the most was simply being generous. As of listening to their concerns and what was happening in their lives that was stopping them to make real progress in what we consulted during our meetings.
The results have been miraculous. Not only have my clients renewed my services, most importantly, they reached better results in their online businesses and our relationship has deepened and grown. Since then, I’ve seen that being generous can have many different forms. Let me introduce you to a few of them.
The Gift Of Giving Your Time
A good friend of mine has been facing significant health problems. Easy and obvious tasks like shopping or cooking suddenly became difficult. Despite I’ve been super-busy during the Christmas season, I made sure he got the right support. I made the time to take care of some basic things he needed but also spend some time with him to cheer him up and let him talk about what he was going through. Giving your time is certainly generous when you give it to someone in need.
Listening When You’re Angry
I never thought of myself as tempered but I do get angry when someone points out about me something I’m not particularly proud of. Once a manager at work told me that I “come across as a little bit blunt”. I blinked and raised my eyebrows when I heard that and a burst of anger came through me. I didn’t know what to do. But there wasn’t really much else than to listen to what the manager had to say. I got her concern when she said she wanted to build a team of people who communicate well. Listening opened up a new space for our relationship, too. Instead of taking it personally and accusing the manager of calling me a certain way, I took it as something to work on and value her opinion.
Noticing Even When You Don’t Care
It may sound harsh but I have days when I couldn’t care less about others. My husband comes to me with something he needs to talk about but I refuse to pay attention to him. I’m too tired and I had a tough day, too, so why doesn’t he notice that? What really makes a difference is simple: noticing him and what’s going on for him. Doing that makes him feel instantly more important. After all, if not my husband, who is more important then him?
Acknowledging Small Yet Meaningful Contribution
Living abroad has made me value people around me a lot more. When I stopped being dependent on my family, I started to acknowledge anyone who contributed to me. A neighbour who picked up pots of flowers that the wind turned over. A barista who always gets the coffee right for me. Or a cashier in a shop who tells me about an offer when he really wouldn’t need to. From time to time, I buy a chocolate bar for those people, making sure they know I value their contribution because honestly, I day would be dull without them.
Giving When You Think They Should Be Giving You
I suppose I’m a selfish and arrogant person. Once in a while when I work with someone and I’m the one who pays for their work, I automatically think they should be thankful and honoured to have worked with me. Luckily, I’ve learnt that dropping any expectations of them makes wonders… Quite the contrary, showing my appreciation beyond making a bank transfer is far more fulfilling than getting one. A thank you note or a birthday card is a cherry on the cake of saying you really value and appreciate someone.
What is your way of being generous? Have you discovered a way of being generous beyond buying presents?