PERFECT PROFESSIONAL: GIVE AND TAKE.
One of the skills I have is being able to read vibes- of people, places, experiences, motives, babies, the list goes on. My emotional intelligence is something I have worked on throughout my career but it wasn't until this past weekend when I serendipitously discovered Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" that I felt so many of my instincts had names and were backed by research!!!!! Big win for me!!
I'm not going to turn this post into a book report on the book, but if you are my friend and have talked to me in the last four days I apologize for talking non-stop about this book, (Claire, Caitlin, Andie, Nancy, Jessica, Jan- I am talking to you). Poor Jesse got the worst of it because he had to listen to me talk about it in the car all the way to and from the Bay Club in Redwood Shores. At one point he turned me and said, "I can't keep up with all of these epiphanies you are having!!" And it was true; I literally was having insight, affirmations, breakthroughs, and inspiration every five minutes.
So, let me share the magic of this book. It came out in 2013 and I somehow missed it-- which is funny because I needed it then more than ever. I am only a third of the way through the book but essentially, it explores the groundbreaking psychology studies on how people differ drastically in their preferences for reciprocity- their desired mix of taking and giving. Adam Grant goes to explain two types of people: Givers and Takers.
"Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor putting their own interests ahead of others' needs. They feel that to succeed, they need to be better than others. To prove their competence, they self-promote and make sure they get plenty of credit for their efforts."
"Givers in the worplace are a rare breed. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. Whereas takers tend to be self-focused, evaluating what other people can offer them, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them"
WOWZA!! While this may seem obvious, and now that I have read more of the book it is obvious, it was so reaffirming to discover these principles over the weekend. By these definitions, I am a giver. Nothing about me is a taker. It might seem untrue since I have this lifestyle blog that appears to be self-promoting and all about me, but if you dig deeper you will see that I am a giver.
I kept saying to Jesse how validated and vindicated I feel when reading this book!!! I feel like I have been criticized by coworkers for being too giving, not thinking things through, or operating without considering everything. This book shares that giving more will actually lead you to being successful. Everything my parents have taught me and what my heart knows to be true is correct. After years of professional turmoil, it feels incredible to know what I am doing is right!!
I have always seen this blog as a place to help share the stories of others. If I had my dream it would be that each one of my siblings would post one day a week and the five of us would post Monday through Friday. My favorite posts are the ones where I highlight other people's stories, companies, and work. I would much rather share what other people are doing!!!
While I write the entire blog and it's mostly become an outlet for my emotions and reflections, I have still found ways to give on here. If you've ever seen a random partnership or collaboration on here and thought what the heck, it's because a girl from my high schools' younger brother started a new company and wanted me to write about it. Or, I really connected with the PR young professional and wanted to help her get a big win at work. I am just trying to help people! I say yes to things that others say no to because "it isn't on brand" or "it doesn't look good in my feed". Yes, those are true things I have heard. I have to laugh because my brand is giving. That's why my feed and blog is all over the place!!!
I love having a blog and I love the opportunities I have had because of it and I love meeting new people through it but the worst part about the blogging world is that it can feel like takers succeed. It's why I don't use affiliate links-- trying to make money off of people I know is the least appealing thing to me ever.
I have always loved the jobs I have been able to work at. The people on the other hand have always been a different story. I guess I always knew it but could never label it-- I have had the extreme unfortunate of having a few "takers" as colleagues at all of my jobs. The worst part about takers is they are relentless when it comes to a Giver like me. You wouldn't believe some of the feedback I have received to my face, via email, on reviews from takers.
There is a NY Times article going around FB about how our lives are not really like the Instagram lives we portray. I don't think that's true in my case- I just try and document what we are doing. But if there is one thing that I haven't blasted on social media (for fear of retaliation) is how challenging my professional relationships have been. They've caused me stress and heartache.
I could go on and on, and trust me, I will. There is so much more to the book. But the best part is that all of the research shows that in terms of success Givers are at the top and the bottom, with Takers landing in the middle. Takers are good at getting ahead but it is actually the Givers who end up being the most successful because people want to work with them. The Givers who end up on the bottom are the ones who give endlessly without thinking of their own needs.
So what does this mean for me? It means that I have been fortunate to have Givers in my life-- everyone in my family is a Giver. Pretty much everyone in my life is a Giver. I gravitate towards Givers and try and avoid Takers at all costs. My parents-- the ultimate Givers. I can't tell you how many times my dad has split commission checks with agents, even when we deserved the entire thing. He's like the king of co-listing houses and it's all because he is a Giver. Or how many things my mom has done for students, families, and friends with no strings attached.
Givers are not motivated by money. They feel joy in the process of giving. This is me in a nutshell. I have respect for money and understand it's needed but what gets me out of bed in the morning is helping others. My favorite thing to do is consult with female entrepreneurs. My second favorite thing to do is not charge them money-- it takes the joy out of it for me. I thought I would open my own consulting business but after reading this book I realized I would go out of business because I wouldn't charge anyone!! Ha!!
So what does this mean for you? You need to get the book and read it asap. You need to read about the two types of Givers and the third type of person, Matchers. They do things for others but with the expectation that they will get something back.
So many friends and friends of friends are feeling like they want to make a professional change. They want to follow their passions and do something meaningful. I think that reading this book is the first step to learning more about yourself and discovering what you want and who you want to work with.
My goal in starting this blog was to help others-- with their fashion, pregnancy, parenting, marriage, life, and whatever else I decide to write about next!! I always say that if I can help just one reader feel great about themselves that would make me so happy!!!! If you need help with anything, please reach out to me Caroline.Perfect10SF@gmail.com.
I want to dedicate this post to the Givers I have in my life-- they have made me incredibly happy, grateful, and inspired. The list of people is so long because I pretty much only let Givers into my life-- but every Convent friend, family friend, some coworkers, new mom friends-- the list goes on. Thank you!!