I can hear him and picture him, as if he were in the room with me, “You’ve gotta give, give, give before you get, get, get!”
I can’t help but smile when I think of Gary Rifkin. My whole person lights up. Gary embodies these words, borrowed from Joe Charbonneau. They are words he lives by. He models them.
I was lucky enough to have Gary as a mentor a year before I started OnStage Leadership and his generosity is likely a large reason I get to do what I do. He bridged my confidence in what was possible. He gave of his time, his expertise, and invested emotional energy in me – gifts for which I am eternally grateful. And now his gifts are being channeled through his work with Core Clarity, making a difference to facilitators all over North America, which in turn impacts the lives of hundreds of people at a time. Giving compounded.
Several years ago I had a guilty pleasure…I was obsessed with the Restaurant Story game on my iPhone. My son had started playing Restaurant Story on my phone (when he was six) and since I was taking my phone with me on a business trip, he asked me to take care of his restaurant. Need I tell you that this was a request he regretted? Long after Jeremy got bored with the game, I coudn’t put it down. Every morning at 6:15am, when I could be doing much more productive things, I would sit with my tea and tend to my (yes, it became mine) restaurant. (I know this was a terribly sad waste of time – don’t judge me.) Anyway, the thing about Restaurant Story is that in order to get a 4 star rating (which is the highest), you have to have to go around tipping others. The more you tip, the more others come to your restaurant and tip you – but the tips come back 10-fold – more than you could ever put out there on your own. As soon as you stop tipping as much, your rating starts to drop. Once you’ve dropped it, takes 10-times the energy to get it back up (don’t ask how I know this). Restaurant Story is built on reciprocity! The only way you can succeed is to give, give, give!
I think the truth is, life is built on reciprocity. My kiddo and I talk about karma all the time. I tell him that if you put good things out in the world, good things come back to you. He doesn’t understand why that’s not always in the form of a Lego set.
I think many of us are kind of the same way. We load our “give” up with expectations, which then takes the power out of the equation. If we give only to get, then it’s not with a free heart. Then the give isn’t truly a give, it’s commerce. Commerce doesn’t come back to you 10-fold, it’s simply an exchange in value. Which is better?
From a leadership perspective, which makes more sense? An exchange in value or having your investment come back to you 10-fold? Focusing on the impact you want to have outside yourself – on your Super Objective (if we put it in OnStage terms) – puts you on that giving path. The more you do it, the more that comes back to you. What are you giving to your direct reports, to your colleagues, to your community, to your family? If you’re not getting back what you’d like, perhaps you’re not giving enough.
Giving is reciprocity compounded.
Because Gary gave to me, I have been able to give to many others – and they’ve done the same in turn. 10-fold. Reciprocity compounded – just think of the ripple effect! Thanks, my friend!
How can you compound your giving today?
(p.s. You will be happy to know that I have since recovered from my Restaurant Story obsession – but only after I reached the highest level there is and the app could no longer support my voracious appetite. I have since moved on to more uplifting obsessions, like Facebook… It’s built on reciprocity too!)
©OnStage Leadership, 2014 (revised from the post originally posted in July, 2013) If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share. It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too. My sincere thanks. Kimberly