Thursday, October 08, 2009

Do Not Kill The Golden Goose

A small percentage of people have the "givers gene" - that little something in their soul where they always take the necessary action to help other people whenever they can... even when there is no direct pay off for them (maybe especially when they have nothing to gain!).

I think only about 5% of the people you meet will move mountains to help others achieve (not scientific... just an estimation).

This is not saying that the other 95% at "takers". In fact, real selfish SOB's are rare. I am hoping less than 5% of people we will encounter are really so self-focused that they despise seeing others discover their dreams. These people think that someone else winning is somehow a loss in their world.

The majority, the 90%, are all good people who want to see others do well. They are inspired by those who accomplish great things. They admire them. Inside their hearts they are happy when they know of another person having a victory. But they do not go out of their way to contribute.

This silent majority have good intentions, they just never take action.

Most of these people desire to be "givers". Often they think they regularly are givers, but only follow through on occasion. Some even talk about it a lot, but just get too busy with their own stuff. With their jobs, their family obligations, the economy, and other pressures, they just cannot find the time to make other people a priority.

But there rare souls who pick up the phone and make introductions, referrals, give useful advice, and are the catalyst for others success.

We all long to be one of those people who impact other people. It can be done in large or small ways, but it feels good to know that you contributed to a victory, even when you are behind the scenes. (This is not to say that you will be able to help everyone, as no single person has the power to be the central contact for good to every person they encounter!).

It is important that you identify the people in your circle of influence who are always taking action to facilitate success for others (especially, but not only if, they help you directly) and then treat them well. Recognize that they are unique, and try to find ways to help them in return.

Do not kill the golden goose. Too often I find people who do not properly appreciate the people who impact their life, and they allow those relationships to drift away. Even those with the "givers gene" need people to give to them. While you may not have the ability to impact their career or deliver them a business connection that will change their world, a simple "thank you" goes a long way.

The mistake that people make is thinking that "networking" and serving others has to be an equal give and take. There is no way that we can always be equal in the world of human interaction. If you try to keep score of who gave what to whom, somebody will always come up short. Instead you need to acknowledge those who help you (the gratitude is in itself a form of payment!!) and then "Pay It Forward" (when one person helps you through their ability, you go on to help someone else in a way that you can, and so on, and so on, etc...).

What do you think? Is my 5% assumption too high? Too low? Who have you witnessed giving to others (not just to you)? Do you cherish the relationship with givers? Have you ever "killed the golden goose" by accident?

Have A Great Day



Scott Ingram said...


I think you're absolutely correct, and believe your numbers to be within the statistical margin of error for common stats (those 92.6% that are made up on the spot).

It would be interesting to put forward some more made up numbers on how the middle 90% breaks down. I expect that a health percentage of those just don't know any better. They don't know that part of the networking equation is to ask others how you can help, and then to actually do those things when they're possible.

Happy Networking!


JP said...

Thom -
Thanks for this post. I have always been one of those with a giver's gene and was frustrated that others didn;t share my philosophy. The percent seems about right - and yes, we need to find the others in that 5% (which I am always trying to do) and find ways to leverage our message.

Juli Monroe said...

I agree with you, and I think your number is probably close.

But I'd like to add that asking the giver what they would like as a thank you is important. Too many people I talk to worry that they can't give back. So they do nothing. But often when you ask what the other person would like "in return" you get surprising answers. Like "just take really good care of my referrals" or "Keep me in the loop about what happens." We assume people want referrals or introductions back. And of course that's always nice, but thank yous can take many forms.

Eugene said...

I've always been impressed by your proactive helping Thom. thanks for being a giver.