- The critical role of generosity in personal and professional success
- It turns out humans are wired to be kind and giving to each other.
- Generosity as a practice may be cultivated everyday.
The word generous isn’t the first word that comes to mind when someone talks about power or success. Being generous has become a necessary part of my life, but I’ve always thought it was simply about being kind and giving to others.
But over the years, I realized that for every person who overcame personal struggles, nurtured long-term relationships, and became the best in their field, the power of generosity seemed to be a common success factor.
Reading the book, Generosity Wins: How And Why This Game-Changing Superpower Drives Our Success by Monte Wood and Nicole F. Roberts, DrPH gave me a better idea about the “formula” for this unassuming trait and super-power.
Through the book’s fictional character, Emily Gardner, the book shows lessons and reflections on how someone might incorporate generosity with their own goals. Emily’s “conversations” with highly esteemed, real-life thought leaders like Jack Pannell, Andy Hill, and Leigh Steinberg reveals habits of success at the executive level and the profound impact that generosity has had on their careers and personal fulfillment.
I think most people have a desire to be generous and to impact other’s lives, but sometimes the impression of generosity as a “soft skill” leads many of us to dismiss it as a trait in business and corporate careers. The paradox about giving that comes back to the giver many times over is undeniable. Generosity Wins is a great guidebook with examples that show when and how to put generosity into practice.
A Key Ingredient for Survival
There’s real science between generosity and human relationships. Brain scans show that dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are a few of the brain chemicals which are stimulated by acts of generosity and kindness. These endorphins are not a mistake in evolution – it’s the reason why human survived as a species and how civilization exists.
The power of generosity causes a ripple effect. Giving with no expectation of return benefits the giver, the receiver, people in the community.
There’s so much we can do to touch the people around us by simply giving our time and presence. This includes being generous with time and presence for ourselves, which is the most important relationship we will ever have.
Keeping yourself healthy, mentally and physically, is being generous.
Taking time to be by yourself in quiet restfulness, is being generous.
Aiming to be the best version of yourself, is being generous.
Putting it into Practice
It’s not just about giving donations to a charitable foundation. Giving and generosity must be an everyday practice that applies to everyone. So how do you cultivate a practice of generosity? Here are some simple suggestions:
- Write an awesome review of a book, article or podcast you enjoyed. The authors and creators often use positive reviews to build credibility and attract a wider audience. If you truly enjoyed the book or program, giving them a sincerely positive review would be an easy, big-impact act of generosity.
- Give away clothing and belongings you no longer need. Whether you go to your community donation center or event or have another organization take them away, make sure your extra clothing finds their way to others might need them.
- Tell someone you believe in them. “You can do this.” A short, powerful statement that could make a difference in someone’s life.
- Tell someone you love having them in your life. “I’m grateful I met you.” Sometimes, being open and vulnerable with someone you care for deeply is the best gift.
- Give someone a compliment about something unexpected that you love about them (or simply give them a sincere compliment whenever you can).
- Hold the door for someone.
- Try to make smiling your default greeting when passing people.
There are many ways to practice generosity. Reflect on which ones come naturally to you. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, you can make a difference in your own way.