This is a guest post by Alicia Candelora, a wedding photographer based in Connecticut.
I was raised in a family where we were taught from a young age that you should give and share with others as much as humanly possible. As the eldest of three, that principle is not always something I liked following. After all, what kid enjoys sharing things with their younger siblings? My parents not only consistently taught us to do so through their words, but also through their actions. They have spent their lives helping others and giving to others. I remember many times where we had young mothers, or families in need come live with us. We always hosted dinners for people.
When I was 15 I decided to go on my first missions/relief trip to Guatemala. I did not know anybody else who was on the team, but I was excited to be the first in my family to leave the USA! During that trip, my eyes were opened to a world that I never dreamed was possible. I witnessed children living in the most primitive of conditions, many of them not knowing where their next meal would come from. I met people who had never seen a flushing toilet, a car, or a computer – things that we “can’t” live without here in the USA. My world was rocked. My life was changed. From that point on, I realized that I could no longer live my life just for ME. I had to have more purpose than just fulfilling my own hopes and dreams, because there was a world out there of people who are starving, dying, and without hope.
At the age of 18 I went to school to study bible and theology, while still staying very active in relief work in third world countries. After 3 and a half years of studying, I had an opportunity to move to Copenhagen, Denmark to teach leadership classes and to lead teams into third world countries doing relief work of various sorts. This was, and continues to be my heart and my passion.
About a year ago I decided to move back to the USA, after living in Denmark for 4.5 years, to pursue photography while still staying active with relief work. When I opened my business, I wanted to base the business model on the theory that “giving is better than receiving.” I had a lot of people tell me that I should not start a business that way, as I would quickly end up in debt. Most of us are taught that in order to “make it” in the business world, we have to adopt a In a dog-eat-dog mentality. From a young age we are urged to be a better “go-getter.” I want to challenge you for a few moments tonight to open your mind to the possibility of, instead, becoming a go-GIVER.
Recently I stumbled across a book written by John Mann and Bob Burg called The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. This book has since become my business bible, as it clearly and practically outlines the principles that I had already been living by and running my business by. Through a compelling narrative, the author outlines the “Five laws of stratospheric success” as follows:
The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
The Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself
The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving
Alright, so some of you might be thinking “This all sounds good in theory, but how does this apply to ME?” Well I am glad you asked! I have compiled a list of what it looks like on a practical level to be a go-giver.
Ten ways to spot a go-giver:
1. A Go-Giver does you a favor and is not looking for compensation.
2. A Go-Giver helps you just because they want to and is not keeping score.
3. A Go-Giver listens carefully to how your day was, or how a project is going.
4. A Go-Giver helps you without caring whether your status is high or low in life.
5. A Go-Giver makes connections for you because they believe in you.
6. A Go-Giver over-delivers on a job because they want you to be happy (and tell your friends).
7. A Go-Giver recommends a competitor if they are a better fit.
8. A Go-Giver is someone that others spontaneously and enthusiastically rave about.
9. A Go-Giver goes out of their way to help others.
10. A Go-Giver always seem to be connecting with the right people to make good things happen.
In conclusion, I have to ask myself – what would it be like if we adopted the mindset of being a go-giver? What would happen to our businesses, our careers, our marriages, and our relationships in general? My challenge for you is this: Become a go-giver and watch it drastically revolutionize your business and your life.
As always, your comments are welcome. Tell us about how you give back. You may be featured in our sister blog, OpenShade, if you are currently pursuing a community project or a cause that is near and dear to your heart.