Close

October 23, 1994

Give, Take, Trade

Share With Friends

In recent years, I’ve asked several very successful friends this question: “How important are your relationships with people to the flourishing of your personal life and the success of your business.” They always respond with one word: vital. Not surprisingly, then, the folks I know who are the most successful in life are also very rich in relationships. These men and women invest not only their time, but they invest their energy into the projects of other people. They invest their resources in order to help others succeed, and they put their money where their relationships are by investing hard-earned dollars into others. Is this true of you and your relationships?
Where do you invest your energy?
Where do you invest your experience and skills?
Where do you invest your money?
The answers to these questions help me determine how deeply I’m investing in my relationships. In short, they reveal my relational heart. Do I have the heart of a Giver, a Taker, or a Trader?
We all know what a relational Taker is. No one wants to be one, and no one wants to work with one. Takers aren’t flourishers. Instead, a Taker is always keeping accounts. He is always asking, “What do people owe me?” or “How can I get a leg up?”
A Trader, on the other hand, is a person who is always trading one thing for another—always bartering, always giving, but also always taking. A Trader is sly; they do things in business and in relationships for the sake of the transactions, in order to make a trade. They always hold a little something back, so that in the future they can use it, by trading it, for a little bit of that.
As a young man my mother helped me learn how to not keep score with people. It is insulting to be with relational takers and it is exhausting to be with relational traders; Someone who lives with a running ledger that defines and throttles the level of depth and authenticity of your relationship.
Givers, however, always trump Takers and Traders in the flourishing hierarchy. They give freely, and they give often. They give their time, their talents and their resources, and when they do this, their flourishing bank account gets big. In contrast, our flourishing bank account suffers when we’re focused on calling accounts due and bent on trading this for that. Trading turns a relationship dirty. If I’m doing this for you, so that you can do that for me, then the waters of our relationships are muddied.
When you find a Giver, you find someone who wants to pour into the agendas and passions of others. You find someone who has energy for other people, not just when or if it benefits them, but because they care about the person and desire to help them.
Become a relational Giver!

Share With Friends