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Passionate about Givers Gain - the mindset, not the trade-off

Many a word is written on the 'Givers-Gain' principle - I'm guilty of it myself

Doing it: by Givers Gain Principle, posted 14.01.2007
Hard Facts and 'givers gain', posted 01.02.2007
My blogging metaphor: BNI, posted  30.05.07
Cuisine ala Givers Gain, posted 21.04.08

BNI (Business Network International) has it as 'motto': by giving business to others, you will get business in return.
That however is somehow distorting the true value of Givers-Gain. It's almost a trade-off: I give so I must gain, I give so you have to give back.

True value of Givers-Gain is a mindset where the 'gain' is
a) not for you
b) an afterthought mostly experienced through the eyes of others.

The giving part is being generous, being so passionate about something you can't help but give it away - tips on how a product or service can help another person, advice on which product is the best for your client's circumstances, pointing someone to a better, simpler, quicker software  program that will help him/her best. Writing down your expertise for everyone to have access to freely.
Give, give, give to make others gain. It's a mindset born out of generosity, but more so from passion.

Let me explain why I've been contemplating on the Givers-Gain mindset this weekend. My good friend and business consultant Richard Calderwood has almost drilled the 'be passionate about and in everything you do and the world is your oyster' principle in to me; marketing genius Paul Gorman hammers it home constantly as the most important asset you have to have to succeed in business.

Both lead by example:

GivinghandsPaul Gorman, together with Ed Rivis (another great follower of the principle - he gave his book on which he laboured for 3 years away for free!) is giving away his secrets on copy-writing through the Copy-Writers Gang.
(Side-note: go over to Paul's LeaveThemInTheDust site, subscribe to his announcement list and receive 12 valuable Business Success Advisories from the genius for free!)

Richard Calderwood is in the process of compiling over 100 business building advisories, tips and ideas that anyone can understand and use - and all for free too! Subscribe to his blog-alert to receive the news of this launch the minute this happens on his bizRichard website.

Both, no sorry, all three are passionate about helping other businesses grow in a profitable and sustainable way. All three are experts and authorities, passionate about their own profession - copy-writing, web-marketing and building businesses.

They give, give, give passionately so we gain. That's the true Givers-Gain mindset.


Robert Hruzek

You hit it right on the head, Karin, and by the way also identified why "takers" never quite "get it": because this principle is about the heart, not the head!

When we give away for the sake of giving, we tend to gain far more than any physical or monetary reward; it's an emotional and spiritual gain that can't be calculated. Ironically, the ones who give away the most, tend to be the happiest people on the planet, too. Interesting connection, don't you think?

Karin H.

Hi Robert

Absolutely. Think also that 'giving away for the sake of giving' is even done without thoughts, more an automagical 'reflex'?

And givers for the sake of trying to get the true givers-gain rewards - IMHO a different kind of 'takers' - don't 'get-it' either. It doesn't work like that, it never does. You know deep down when something is being given to you this way there's an underlying 'request' for pay-back' - no free lunch feeling behind it.

Karin H.

Karin H.

Forgot to add something to the above reply, something I think is as important as true givers-gain:
when the receiver decides to give back to this generosity this is mostly done out of unconditional gratitude, not because you can't leave a 'debt' unpaid.

Wow, bit heavy for a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon, but so essential to live life to the fullest ;-)

Karin H

Steve Roesler


You are spot on when you note: "That however is somehow distorting the true value of Givers-Gain."

When one genuinely gives, it is offered as a gift. There are no strings attached. What we find in life is that by offering ourselves in unselfish ways, people sense that there is not an ulterior motive. The satisfaction comes from the act of giving.

Those who propose that we "give SO we can get" are changing the heart of the equation; those who act on that misrepresented principle will find that their "returns" will fall short of their expectations. Why?

Because those who receive their "gifts" will soon recognize them for what they really are: a bribe.

Karin H.

Hi Steve

Well I know some people who fall for a bribe of a beach holiday or a lunch with a glass of wine - but I won't spill the beans on who they are ;-)

But seriously, as a former member of BNI - which I truly loved and where I've met many special people and true believers in the Givers-Gain principle - I know how easy their motto is perceived as 'expecting' big returns. Or worse: start taking first without giving.

Thanks for dropping by here again and your - as always - wise words.

Karin H.

Richard Calderwood

Morning Karin

This one's got off to a good start - because it is pivotal to so much of our attitude in business - and indeed life too!

And Steve Roesler is spot on in identifing the 'bribe' for what it is - a conditonal gift. It doesn't work.

True 'Giving' must be from the heart, unconditional, and wholly for the benefit of those that receive.

Karin H.

Cheers Richard

Pivotal to attitude in business and life - a true word. Free advice, free tips, free guidance - the minute you attach an 'obligation' to it, no matter how small, the receiver knows: there's indeed no such thing a a free lunch.

Some say it's a grey-area: do you really give freely without expecting anything back, don't you honestly really expect - due to the famous reciprocation 'rule' - the receiver will come back to buy or - worse thought - take advantage of your gifts?

The minute you have to think about it, the true givers-gain principle disappears and all you're left with is disappointment - giver and receiver alike.

True givers have never disappointed me and I hope vice-versa.

Karin H.

Jamie O'Connell

Hi Karin,

You are spot on, but, the "givers gain" prnciple of BNI effectively serves as a good "discipline". It serves as a reminder that members need to make sure that they "GIVE" in some way shape or form each week.

The BNI principle of "givers gain" is true and I feel that this irrespective of whether or not you have given "sincerely" or "insincerely". Like yourself, I gain immense pleasure from giving and when I do give I do not attach any obligations on the receiver. I belive that If you treat people honestly and fairly they will want to use you again in the future. This doesn't always work though. There will always be "users" out there who are out for what they can get. I am also a firm believer in the rpinciple of "what goes around, comes around" so the "users" out ther should beware. If they continue to "use people they will not prosper

Great article Karin.

Kind Regards,

Jamie O "Making Your Cash Flow"

Karin H.

Hi Jamie

Great addition you've put in here: "what goes around, comes around". And don't we both know it ;-)

I'm with you - the principle of the BNI principle is true givers-gain, just sadly, as in all other human/business interactions, there will always be those who come only for the gain (be it profit or 'power') and then start to wonder after a very short while why the giving source has dried up.
"what goes around, comes around"

Karin H.

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