Of all our core values, generosity is the one I most enjoy incorporating into work and life. Giving is fun. When I give, I can immediately notice the benefit I am bringing to the person receiving the gift. More than that, what I receive in return is often far more valuable to me than whatever I have given away.
As I seek to model generosity so my team can join me in incorporating this important core value, here’s what I focus on.
We give encouragement. While it requires thoughtfulness and slowing down to think about another person’s worth and contributions, I want our team to be generous in sharing specific, positive feedback with each other, with partners, with collaborators, with clients, with anyone we encounter. Consider the smile that comes when you hear someone express appreciation for who you are — then imagine the cumulative effect over time that your kind words can create.
We share expertise. Whenever possible, if I know something that you may benefit from knowing, I will share it with you, but not without permission. As our client Nate Regier writes in his blog post on Non-Consensual Helping, asking before sharing unwanted advice preserves people’s free choice, dignity, and self-determination. I tried this today with a potential client of our company. “If it’s okay with you,” I said, “I have some ideas about your next best step in book marketing.” I then shared a few ideas about some actions that author could take over the next few weeks to enhance his effectiveness.
We give more than expected. Whenever possible, I want to deliver more than what our clients expect when they hire us. For this reason, if we are able, we find ways to gift our clients with services beyond their contracts in the spirit of generosity and kindness. Sometimes we do this by not charging for an extra service someone requests. Other times we do it by providing extra time or attention, beyond what we scoped.
We give back. In serving non-profits or causes, we offer discounted pricing, often cutting to our cost to deliver the work, and other times doing work pro bono. I love that being a business owner means I can choose to give when the opportunity arises. Two of my most meaningful experiences as a business owner involved volunteering my time on campaigns to raise money for people in my network who faced great need.
Generosity is an attitude in action. While I want to cultivate a spirit of generosity among my team, expressed to the people with whom we interact, generosity is most clearly seen in what we do. It’s a daily decision to give what we have, as freely as we can, to whomever we meet. When I do, it is something I never regret.
How have you seen generosity modeled at your work or in your community?