The Coach's Corner

Giving or receiving?

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #28

On the ride home from school this week, my 10 year old grandson wanted to know,

Nana, do you like giving or receiving better?

When I attempted an answer that used a ‘both-and’ approach – he stopped me.

No! You have to choose. Giving or receiving?

In that moment, under pressure and knowing he and his sister were looking forward to opening their holiday gifts from us early, I went into nana mode.

Giving, I believe I do enjoy giving more,

I replied.

Right answer,

he told me.

From there we talked about why I like giving. We realized we like how you are thinking about the other person when you are selecting a gift, we know what it feels like to experience the physical joy one gets from giving and we also went to the next level – the ripple effect of knowing that someone feels they are special as they receive the gift.

My grandson added,

Especially if you get them what they really want, instead of what you want to give them.

We wound up having an incredible evening eating dinner and opening presents – made all the more meaningful because of our interaction in the car.

It just so happens this played out for me at work. One of my clients experienced an incredible shift when she stopped waiting to get recognition and validation from her team, and instead made a choice to give.


Giving without expectation and receiving with thanks

Coaching with Emma is very enlightening. She is very transparent and shares work dilemmas with a great deal of energy – consistently looking for ways to connect in better ways with her team. We’ve explored how her personal transformation is a big part of how she now relates with her colleagues, and this week she had an insight that confirmed her fresh direction.

As the holiday season approached, she wondered what she might do to make her ‘more human’ with her colleagues. Emma is so efficient that she gets through projects at lightning speed and realizes she pays very little attention to what’s happening in the lives of those she works with day in and day out.

She arrived at the session beaming in a way that was so contagious – I found myself smiling and laughing with her, and then I became curious.

I’m exhausted! I stayed up until 2 in the morning baking Snickerdoodles. I wrapped the cookies, packaged them and put notes on the containers. Then this morning I put the cookies on the desks of my team. It was the most exhilarating feeling to drop them off and see their reaction.

Emma’s act of Snickerdoodle kindness was the second big ‘gift’ she gave her team to build more connection.

Last week, I set up one on one coffees/lunches and even a virtual lunch with members of my team – and just asked them about their lives and what they’re looking forward to this year. I learned so much! Everyone accepted my invitation – and they were so thankful that we had this time together, away from the office.

Because she didn’t expect anything in return, when someone thanked her profusely, Emma was surprised. She kept saying over and over again,

How can it be this easy to gain my team’s trust? What an amazing experience!

Emma’s encounter with giving – and the receiver’s response of gratitude – is setting her up for a year with fresh ways of building relationships with her team.


Marie’s giving tool

My aunt Marie takes giving and receiving to a new level. If you’re a doctor, banker, car repair person, delivery driver or dentist who has worked with her you have most likely been gifted with baklava, cookies, a bottle of wine, gift card – no wonder people want to help her!

So how does she know what to do? She lives by some intentional practices.

Credit to my aunt Marie

My takeaway

That final element is critical – receive the gift that’s given to you. If you discover something is a bad fit, you really don’t care for it, or you can’t eat the stuff – you most likely have a way to ‘fix’ the issue without blurting out, “no thanks, I don’t need/like/want that.”

Using kindness in accepting a gift that’s offered is an amazing way to be gracious and to recognize what the giver intended, to celebrate you. If you get caught up in the “what’s the motivation behind this gift” mentality, it’s hard to be thankful in the moment.

This giving and receiving plays out in the workplace everywhere. Giving a well-deserved nod of recognition to a colleague can make the difference in how a team member perceives their work is gaining traction. Accepting a box of cookies with gratitude for the thought that went into offering that gift means so much to the person who chose to place those cookies on your desk.

What I wasn’t able to share with my 10-year old grandson is this: giving AND receiving are what makes you whole and enriches your relationships. At work and in life you have opportunities to be on both ends on a regular basis. How you respond strengthens who you are and encourages your colleagues.

Giving and receiving are different expressions of the same flow of energy in the universe.

Deepak Chopra

May this holiday season be a special time to give and to receive.

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