Why it’s so important to know the difference?
When I met Marcus Lemonis at the Inc Magazine conference in DC I knew on the flight down there was only one question I had to ask. I had no idea if I would even get the opportunity to ask a question, however the stars aligned and there I was at the mic eye to eye with this person I put on a lofty pedestal. So I asked.. “I’m a giver, and I feel like my extreme giver nature is holding my business back, what advice can you give me to honor my giver-ness yet keep my business moving forward?” The answer I got sent me down a path that not only helped my business life but my personal relationship choices as well. It’s something I am still working on.
He told me two things - #1 read the book Give and Take by Adam Grant. #2 if you believe in the person asking for your help and want to give, find a way to barter that satisfies you both. I received further amazing advice from Bert Jacobs the founder and owner of the company Life is Good. Bert was in the audience, heard my question and tracked me down because he wanted to help. It was a GREAT moment. I’ll share that story in another post.
Needless to say I absorbed the Give and Take book in a weekend. What I found was eye opening and one of my catalysts for wanting to start OnaLife. Here’s the gist in my words – people tend to fall into 3 categories, they are givers, takers, or matchers. You can either fall entirely into one bucket or you can flip in and out. Anyone reading this will likely say obviously being a giver is the best. Who wants to admit they are a taker? A matcher is someone who matches at the level the other person is at. If that person is a taker, they take what they can get. If they are a giver then they will give. If it’s another matcher both will come to the table and give or take what they feel is right and even. Like a balanced see-saw.
Here’s the eye opening lesson I learned. There are two types of givers. The champions and the chumps.
Champions are the strongest of givers, as they grow they give more. They have learned how to set boundaries, they know when to give, when to match, and when to walk away. They have learned to not let their giver nature burn them out in the effort to please everyone while neglecting themselves. They respect their time and they decide who they want to give to vs it being forced upon them by takers. Champions have learned how to distinguish whom they are interacting with and they adjust themselves on the fly. If they are dealing with a taker, they decide if they want to simply disengage or switch into matcher mode and only give what is appropriate but no more. If they are with another giver, both givers rise up to a higher level. If they are with a matcher, they match to the extent that feels appropriate but no more.
The chumps are the givers that give to everyone at all times even to one’s own detriment. This was me. Still is me, but I’m working on it. I certainly don’t want to consider myself a chump! Chumps always get burnt out and they never become their highest and best selves. They don’t take care of themselves because they are too busy taking care of others. In the end our own giving nature becomes our downfall and we end up in a place where we can’t help anyone. Life becomes a never ending struggle.
I personally don’t think it’s possible to change a giver nature completely, nor should we.
Let's be frank, Takers suck. They drain you, take what they can, and move on to the next. They never realize that their very existence is maintained by GIVERS.
Life may seem to be in favor of takers but how truly enriched is the life of a taker? And pretty soon there will be no one left around that matters. I do think it’s paramount to move from a chump to a champion. As well as developing an immediate sense of whom you are dealing with and how best you should conduct yourself. Don’t give everything you have to a taker. If it’s a matcher, you’ll know. You’ll know they are in this for what they can get. If they have something to bring to the table that’s helpful for you go ahead and match. Just know if you give you’re everything they may not reciprocate if their needs are not that high. Understanding this can save you a lot of hurt. Another giver.. have at it! If you sense some chump tendencies in your fellow giver, I’d recommend helping them see its ok to honor themselves too.
I knew when I asked my question and the crowd went from silent to a buzz that this hit home for a lot of people. This isn’t just for business relationships; it’s our families and friends too. Really think about whom you are and where you fall, you might want to make some changes, I know I did. Look at those around you; it can be shocking when you have this new perspective. It can also make you appreciate some people more and make you give more of yourself to them. Don’t lose them because they are treasures and shouldn’t be given less because you are letting a taker drain you.