“Stop keeping score. What people call win-win is really just a disguised way of keeping track. Making sure we all come out even, that nobody gets the advantage. When you base your relationships on who owes who what, that’s not being a friend, that’s being a creditor”
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea – Bob Burg & John David Mann.
This very powerful quote is for me the foundation of every good relationship, personal and professional. I call it the “Art of Giving”: giving to others not because you must, not because you want something in return, but just because it’s your way of life.
As I told in a previous article, I was scared that I would have to put my values aside in the corporate world, but nothing could be less true. The book “The Go-Giver” was an eye-opener for me. Not only the content, but also the supporting community behind it showed me how many corporate people there are willing to give, just because it’s in their nature.
I decided to dedicate my tenth article to this very powerful book, and to highlight three of its most powerful messages.
Money shouldn’t be your focus, even if it’s your target
“You see? You can’t go in two directions at once. Trying to be successful with making money as our goal is like trying to travel a superhighway at seventy miles an hour with your eyes glued to the rear-view mirror.”
Even if every entrepreneur’s dream is to be successful – and for the majority this means making a lot of money with their business-, the book explains that this target cannot be reached when focussing only on the money part. You should keep a global view on your business and strive to reach success by focussing more on giving to others. It’s by working on your relationships, by building a community around you and by being true to yourself that you can reach your targets.
Be true to yourself, be authentic
“The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself”
This is so true, and yet so scarce in our society. We lack authentic persons, persons that have values and norms and stick to them, regardless of the difficulty of the situation . Be authentic, and people will respect you for who you are.
To be authentic, however, you should first define your own values and norms. And in my opinion, being transparent and avoiding gossiping is one of the most important core values. A person’s authenticity and trustworthiness is for me deeply damaged when hearing him talking behind someone’s back.
Be open to receiving
“Every giving can happen only because it is also a receiving”
This is the most powerful advice I got from the book. The art of RECEIVING.
I always love to give, but when receiving, I feel embarrassed. For example, I do like to give compliments but if someone pays me a compliment, I deny it by replying“oh it’s nothing” or immediately trying to minimise what I did. This also count for my private life: I prefer to do something for someone, in the opposite case I feel guilty.
But this is a wrong mindset. And it hit me, thankfully, when reading the passage in the book when the main character (Joe) and his mentor Pindar were having a discussion. Not quoting this part would be denying you – in my opinion – the most important thought of the whole book.
It’s not better to give than to receive. It’s insane to try to give and not receive. Trying not to receive is not only foolish, it’s arrogant. When someone gives you a gift, what gives you the right to refuse it – to deny their right to give?
Receiving is the natural result of giving. If you give and then try to stop the receiving that comes back, you’re like King Canute watching the tide roll out and commanding it not to come back in. It has to come back in, just as your heart has to contract after relaxing.
I can’t deny it, I’m still struggling with this “law”. Really, It was a slap in my face, especially the sentence: “Trying not to receive is not only foolish, it’s arrogant”. I never looked at it that way and I’m incredible thankful to “Pindar” for teaching me this lesson which I try to apply every day.
The main take away message of this article is that “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea” is a must read book (and fortunately also a short one). It teaches you to appreciate the value of giving and staying true to yourself. And for those who are already familiar with the latter mentality, the book makes you realise that receiving is as important as giving: one can’t fully be perceived without the other.