Friday, November 26, 2004

Season of Giving

Here in the States, the Christmas season has officially started. Today, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is "the biggest shopping day of the year"... and from here on out it will be wreaths, bows and candy canes all the way.

Everyone is in the mood to give and to share, and this time of year is filled with lots of smiles and surprises. People show their appreciation openly with hugs and even gifts in return.

This is a special time - and one I'm sure we all truly enjoy - but it really makes me think about "giving" and the other 11 months out of the year... In fact, this has been heavy on my mind for a while now, well before the holiday season began.

Giving is usually always mutually beneficial. The "giver" generally gets something out of the transaction, whether it be as simple as self-gratification in having done something 'good'... or a situation where there is give and take on both ends.

When a transaction is not well-balanced, it generally isnt repeated... or the situation doesnt last very long. Right? Relationships are a good example, as are business partnerships.

In business - and especially here on the internet - it's very easy to get caught up in giving too much of yourself. Your time, your resources, etc. Now don't get me wrong, giving is not all bad. In fact, in a lot of ways it's very, very good.

But - How much do you help someone before you feel like giving up because they arent willing to help themselves?

How much do you give, before it starts taking away from you to the point that it's no fun to give anymore?

These are questions I've been asking myself lately. I'm really looking closely at 'unbalanced relationships' in my life - and specifically in my business. We all know that time is a very valuable commodity, and it has become even more valuable to me lately than ever.

After all, this is my LIFE, not just my business.

So yes, I think I'll be making some changes. Gradual, of course, and probably not until after the first of the year. I say changes because, well - quite frankly, I'm not very balanced in this matter, myself.

You've got givers, and you've got takers - each on opposite ends of the scale. Those that give, give and give to their own demise. And those that stand around to take, take, take everything they can get their hands on.

But the more balanced types are the ones that engage in mutually beneficial transactions - in everything that they do. And this is the way we should all be.

I'm very guilty of being over on the giving end. I've learned over the years that this doesnt work with my two children, and have adopted the "if, then" strategy: "If you clean your room, then we'll go to the park". It's worked very well for us.

So... it's time for me to adopt a similar strategy in business. For starters, to say "No" to things I really dont want to do, or dont have time to do... and then to also work on balancing out those relationships that are not resulting in a fair trade - of time, attention, money... you name it.

This certainly wasnt meant to seem 'harsh'... and if you're reading this and thinking that I may be referring to you, you're probably wrong. The few people I've gone out of my way to work with, that havent seemed interested in helping themselves (or working, it seems) - are not keeping up with my blog, or reading along to pick up tips - - if they even know I have a blog at all ;)

I've slowly been making changes over the past year to this effect... dropping clients that call on a Sunday morning or during dinner hours - repetitively, with no respect for my work schedule. Putting less time in with people who continuously email for advice on different business strategies, but never implement them... and then move on to another idea they would like feedback on.

But at the same time - putting in more time with those who are genuinely using what I give them to move towards their goals and to build on their business. Honestly, there is nothing better than helping someone succeed - it's an awesome feeling!

So, really - just some 'thinking out loud' here as I make these observations and determine the best course of action. Again, this is my LIFE... not just my business.