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With rare exception, the most successful people I know are also among the most generous people I know. I don’t think this is a result of the obvious conclusion that successful people have more to give. I think it’s, rather, a reciprocal mindset.
Abundance and Giving
People who are generous are more likely to succeed. While we can all cite exceptions, they are just that: exceptions. People with a “giving” tendency encourage others to give back. Some free coaching brings a referral. The offer of a complimentary experience creates positive word-of-mouth and evangelism.
Generosity is directly connected to an abundance mentality. The traits associated with such a mentality are those of forgiveness, lack of guilt, open-mindedness, and support, for example. Simply writing a check may not actually be generous, especially when one can easily afford the amount and it is done out of a sense of obligation.
I was trying to coach an entrepreneur at one time out of what was clearly a selfish mentality. He wanted to sue people doing him no harm because they were using some of his ideas from his books. He consistently disappointed colleagues by acting as if the rules didn’t apply to him. When I confronted him about his lack of generosity, he yelled, “I AM generous! Look what I’ve done for my family!” (And even that he had actually done for himself.) We soon parted ways.
The Roads to Generosity
James Carville, the Democratic political strategist, told me once that the most impressive thing about former President Bill Clinton was that when he walked into a roomful of people, he immediately went to the most junior person, or the shyest, or the one who felt most awkward. He would then strike up a conversation and put them at ease.
I was very impressed by that story and try to practice it myself when I can. Generosity is about how we spend our time, allocate our attention, and provide our support, both tangibly and intangibly.
And I think that creates success for the “giver.” As George Merck, the founder of the US firm Merck Pharmaceuticals, said, “Do good and good will follow.” And part of that good is business and personal success.
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