Norton: In the spirit of the season
Here we are in another season of giving and receiving. The truth is that we are always in a season of giving and receiving, this time of year just amplifies the spirit of both. And we have all heard that it is far better to give than it is to receive. This may be true, but there are times when it is equally awesome to receive.
Giving comes in many ways. We can give in the form of money, resources, and time. We can give gifts and presents. We can give back to a cause or community, or maybe we can give back to a person or family who had helped us out when we needed it. We can give through charities and organizations. Many companies, houses of worship, and other organizations have “giving trees” where we can choose to help people and families in need. And we can do all our giving, no matter what it may be, silently and anonymously.
What’s it like to be on the receiving end of gifting? For many of us, no matter where we find ourselves today, we have been in a position of need. We may have had a difficult season of life. We may have endured a tragedy or hardship. There may have been a time when unexpectedly we found ourselves out of work. Or we may have had an illness or injury that left us unable to care for ourselves or a loved one. Many of us who can relate to any of these situations, when someone stepped up to help, knows just how humbling receiving can feel.
Think of the greatest gift that we have ever received. Maybe it’s the nicest and most expensive, but something tells me it’s not. More than likely, if we give it some deeper thought, we will remember the time our in-laws loaned us a few dollars to cover our mortgage. Or our neighbors stepped up and purchased our groceries. Maybe it was a time when each friend cooked a meal for us as we balanced being with our spouse in the hospital and taking care of our children. The gift could have been an introduction to an executive who had a job opening at a time when we needed work. The gift could have simply been a hug, a night out with a close friend, some overdue laughs over coffee or a beer.
Being on the receiving end of a gift is humbling. Sometimes, if we let it, it could be embarrassing. This is where I hope to change our thinking about that as there is no shame in accepting any form of help. You see, in the last paragraph where I listed the types of gifts we could receive, each one of those is an example of a gift I have received in my own life. A gift that came at just the right time. Some came from family, some came from friends, and some came from strangers. And all were received with humble gratitude.
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This holiday season, I encourage us to give the gift of giving and receiving. There are so many opportunities right in front of us to give of our money, resources, time and talents. And should we find ourselves in the need of a hand up, or a little or a lot of help, let us receive it gratefully and humbly, without reservation or shame. Let’s receive it all in the spirit of love in which it is being given.
As a way of giving back, each year I offer free keynote speeches on the topics I cover in this column throughout the year: winning words; hope and encouragement; motivation and inspiration. If your organization or company would benefit from such a talk, please let me know. And if you would like to gift one of my talks to an organization or company, let me know that too at email@example.com. And when we allow the spirit of giving and receiving to enter our lives, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.