Stopping to consider what we get when we give may seem cynical, but in fact it’s a critical component of good giving. If we got nothing back from our giving, we’d soon be in depletion-land, with no more to give and nothing left over for ourselves. Good giving is about giving in the right way, fueling the other person at the same time we’re reaping benefits for ourselves. Think of it as sustainable giving; do it right, and the giving is limitless.
The first must of sustainable giving is to give from your abundance. Many of us feel we should meet every request that comes our way, regardless of whether we’re in a position to do so or not. We might be short on time, money or attention, and yet be scrambling to give those things to others. This is the quickest route to exhausting resources. If you must give, see where you have extra, or when you really have the time. Give then.
Second, when we give from a place of abundance, we tend to give more freely. Free giving inspires the same from others. Ever have someone give you something out of obligation or with strings attached? It feels crummy. You might pay them back when you’re able, but it’ll be a lean and in-kind return, calibrated to settle the “debt.” This skimpy give and get enhances no one’s bottom line.
Lastly, when you give, make sure it’s something of value. There’s a different message communicated about you and them when the gift has value, and again when it doesn’t. “Seeing” others value with our giving ratchets the whole exchange to a new level. If it means you give less often, that’s ok. In creating abundance, less but better outweighs more but worse.Exercise Set:
Good giving is pragmatic. Done right, the energy we create has such great returns it allows us to keep on giving. Many of us have been taught to live outside of this very real energy exchange, with the result that we give on the cheap and get back even less. What if we were to start living by the above three steps? What would we do different, and what results would we begin to experience? Try it. - join the conversation
Here’s a simple prescription that’ll save you a world of bad communication and big pain. When you’re angry, really angry, take a stroll. Don’t try to think it out, talk it out or act it out. The first thing you’ll want to do is put your body in gear and head on out. (helpful hint: tell the other person you’re taking a minute to gather yourself and will be back in x amount of time.)
Here are two reasons that stepping away when you’re super charged will actually help your communication. When you’re angry, you’re not at your smartest or clearest. It’s a brain thing. And because you probably care about being heard and getting your point across, you’ll want to communicate when you’re making the most sense. And trust me, so will the person you’re talking to.
And about the other person; your anger’s not helping them shine either. Your angry face and tone can trigger strong emotional reactions. You might be sounding the alarm, but if not cancelled, their internal alarm system will soon be on the same call. One fire just spread to two, and both of you will be working from a heated, mentally compromised state.
When we choose to walk instead of reacting, we channel the big energy of anger into a neutral activity. Walking also gives us time; time to shift our body into a calmer state, and time to think through what really happened. And never underestimate the power of the senses. Connecting with what we see, hear and smell in a new environment can be the quickest way to restore our sense of balance, and our good communication.Exercise Set:
The next time anger dogs you, try walking to improve your communication (remember the helpful hint above). Take yourself to a whole new setting and focus on what you're seeing, smelling or touching, and not on what was just said. The idea is to reset your brain before any thinking takes place. Periodically check in. Is your body calming? Walk till it does. - join the conversation
By now most of us have heard the “best life” formula. In a nutshell, one’s best life is realized by doing what matters to us most, by 1. doing what makes us feel passionate and inspired, 2. making money doing it and 3. delegating the rest, because now we can afford to.
Makes people bonkers.
Most of us labor good and long to be able to: 1. avoid doing what we hate for a living 2. eke out some time at the end of a long day of kids and work and minimal self care to watch our favorite show, and 3. hire a cleaner once a month. And we’re feeling pretty good about it thank you.
But still, we do marvel over and even envy, on our tired days, those that seem to be living their best life. Makes us feel protective of our little satisfactions, and if we admit it, a bit overwhelmed. So how do we, the working-’cause-we-have-to, get in on the best life game? There are many follow-on steps, but the first, most critical step is knowing what turns you on.
Folks with a lot of life responsibilities – and even those still free of them, but Type A, achievers – have the strongly developed habit of external focus. They take cues from the environment – other people, career and home demands, social trends, etc. to define what they do. That’s how they keep their heads above water. A crucial skill, but what’s gone rusty is their ability to focus inward, to be aware of their own experience of the things they do.
Ask a person like this what they’re passionate about, and they will most often tell you what they don’t like doing, or at best, what they enjoy. They start to struggle when you ask about passions and inspiration, because 1. they aren’t in the habit of reflecting on their experience, and 2. have subsequently forgotten what their passionate and inspired states feel like.
If this is you, start by asking yourself the question: how do I feel about what I’m in the midst of doing right now? Not what I think about it, but how does this activity actually make me feel. This takes no time, but rather a shift in focus. For those who have lost the feeling of a passionate or inspired state, here’s a starter list of its attributes: it’s highly motivating; it’s easy to “lose yourself” while in it; it leaves you feeling empowered and energized, not drained; you seem to find time for the activities that create it; it has lightness and drive to it, and makes you feel strong.
Once you have your passionate focus, there are a ga-million online coaches and schools and courses just waiting to show you how to turn that passion into a viable, and yes, money-making venture. Here’s my current favorite! But even without a pay-for chaperon you can google and youtube your way into just about anything you need to know, and wordpress market it online for free. Financial investment doesn’t have to be a barrier. The biggest barrier will be time, which all of us working-’cause-we-have-to folks have none of. Well almost.
This is what you need to know. You really can start something new one email, one call, and one action item at a time. Meaning starting a project you are passionate about is doable with persistence and a healthy dose of focus.
And here’s the other thing. A new business or career doesn’t have to be at the other end of knowing what you’re passionate about, but for sure, better direction around your wants and needs will be, and maybe even that best life.Exercise Set:
Some of even think we're living our best lives, but are we? Put aside what you think you know. Pay attention to how you're feeling as you go about your life. How much inspiration and passion is there, and can you up your game? - join the conversation
A short story. While in college I spent a semester at a sister school as a visiting student. Just so happens that I arrived on campus to start my semester away a mere week before my birthday. The adventure was exciting, but as my birthday approached I became acutely aware of how anonymous I was feeling, and probably because of how I felt, how important it was to me to be seen and celebrated on my birthday. A little love was in order, but from where, and from whom? As I walked the quiet (it was evening) and rainy (it was March) campus, the solution materialized.
I worked for hours that night making huge Happy Birthday Eva! posters, and plastered them all over campus. I awoke the next morning to well wishes taped to lamp posts, hanging from trees and adorning the walls of the cafeteria (where I overheard students wondering about the popular Eva). It was fun, a total crack-up, and even earned me some notoriety down the road, but the most important part, it made me feel seen and valued.
How dependent are you on external factors, other people, special occasions, to experience the love you deserve?Exercise Set:
We can initiate the love we desire. When's the last time you asked friends to send you a love note, sent one yourself, celebrated an achievement, stopped to recognize your best qualities? What kind of recognition do you most crave, and is there a way to get your own ball rolling? - join the conversation
Welcome to ZeitPsych’s first interview. You can catch Hope live this Saturday at the Royal Room, 7:30pm. Don’t get caught wanting. Advance tickets and dinner reservations available!