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The Misunderstood Truth about “Giving”

giving

One night a little boy noticed his mother paying bills at the kitchen table.

He curiously inquired, “mom, what are you doing?”

She replied, “Oh, I’m just paying the bills.”

“What are bills?” he followed up.

“Bills are when you give someone money in exchange for them doing work for you in return.”

The little boy had been wanting a new toy and so later that night, he came up with a plan…

He took out the trash.

Then he put away all the dishes.

Then he cleaned his room.

The next morning his mom woke up and saw a piece of paper slid under her door that said “BILL” in big letters across the top.

And it was marked as follows:

Took out the trash – $5

Put away dishes – $10

Cleaned bedroom – $5

Total Amount Owed – $20.

And later that day, the boy found $20 laying on his pillow.

But the next morning the boy woke up and under his door he found a piece of paper that had been slid underneath.

In large letters across the top it said “BILL.”

Then it had listed:

Buying every piece of clothing you have – $5000

Cooking every meal that you’ve ever eaten – $3500

Cleaning up after you every day of your entire life – $2000

But then at the bottom it said…

Total Amount Owed – $0.

Paid In Full by the love you give me each and every day.

That is the story I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones tell during his philanthropic lifetime achievement award acceptance speech at The National Speakers Association just a few years before he died.

But what Charlie said right after that though is what I remember the most…

He said, “I’m honored to be recognized for what I have given. The truth is however that I have given nothing. None of us really give. All we do, is simply pay back a little bit of all that we owe.”

The Gift Great Leaders Give

Gift

People don’t need help being realistic.

We’re all already negative enough.

Our typical default is towards why things won’t work and why they’re not possible.

Most of us do just fine on our own coming up with reasons, excuses, and justifications for why our dreams won’t come true.

And we don’t usually need much assistance thinking about the worst case scenario or knowing what the ultimate failure might look like.

No, most of us do that just fine all by ourselves.

What we need help with is believing.

What we need assistance with is dreaming.

What we need affirmation with is what could be possible.

Which is why a part of leadership has to be helping people believe in a bigger future.

We have to help people see what could be possible for their own lives.

We have to show people a plan for how something magnificent could actually come true.

And we have to do the work to take people with us on the path as we embark towards the new.

Because there is no shortage of naysayers in the world who will tell them it can’t be done.

There is no lack of critics who will point out every reason it won’t work.

And there is no absence of realism that will remind us that we’ve never accomplished anything like this before.

But naysayers never advance the world.

Critics don’t create change.

And realism always betrays a person of their chance to reach their full potential.

Which is why we need to lead.

We need to help people believe.

We need to convince them that it’s possible.

And we need to put in the work to show them how.

If you can do that…

If you can show someone a plan for how the impossible can be achieved…

If you can convince someone that their dream can come true…

If you can demonstrate the kind of work it takes to break belief barriers and explode limiting beliefs…

Then you have changed everything for them.

You have led them.

And you have redefined realistic for them.

And that is a great is a great service.

A tremendous gift.

And perhaps a once in a lifetime blessing.

Because people don’t need help being realistic; they need help believing in the bold.

5 Meaningful Gifts You Can Give That Don’t Cost Money

gifts

Christmas is here!

Honestly, I have to say that Christmas hasn’t historically been my favorite time of the year. But as I’ve gotten older it’s become more and more something that I look forward to.

One reason I have grown to love it is because it is such an intentional reminder to be focused on other people and giving and serving.

I need reminders of that as much as possible in my life because my unfortunate default is to participate in the world and process it only through the lens of how it affects me. 

But giving gifts is one of the best exercises you can do to develop a servant’s heart. It helps you develop the muscle of being more and more focused on others. 

We often think of giving gifts only as it relates to spending money, however it doesn’t have to be that way – not at all.

Here are 5 meaningful gifts that can be some of the best you ever give that don’t cost you a dollar:

Knowledge – To me knowledge is one of the best and most valuable gifts that one can ever be given. In fact, I sometimes think of myself as a “connoisseur of knowledge” giving away things I know and have learned in exchange for acquiring new key pieces of information that will open up the next step for me and Southwestern Consulting. What knowledge do you have that could really change someone’s life? Find someone and share that with them.

Appreciation – Great leaders know that verbal affirmation is a form of currency. It costs you nothing to recognize someone, praise them, compliment them, and tell them how valuable or important they are to you. Yet people hardly ever do it. Why not? Either because they are too lazy (they don’t want to), too self-centered (they don’t think to), or too proud (they think it minimizes their own contribution).

Opportunity – What is more valuable than money? Easy. An opportunity. A vision. The possibility of creating something great and of doing something meaningful. Find ways to create opportunities for those around you. Learn about their dreams and their passions and see how you can creatively coordinate them with things you have going on in your life. Or just give someone the opportunity to work with you and learn from you. Or connect them with someone you know who might be able to help them. 

Time – Nothing says “I care about you” and “you matter to me” quite like spending time with someone. Granted time is limited, and precious so you can’t give it to everyone. And time is money, so in that sense it costs you a great deal. Still, perhaps there is a family member or friend you need to catch up with, or a young team member or potential recruit you want to invest into. This is a very precious gift to give so give it wisely but it is still something you have at your disposal that won’t take money out of your pocket.

Grace – One of the greatest gifts of all is the gift of grace. Maybe there is someone you need to forgive? Maybe there is someone whom you need to ask for forgiveness from? Or maybe this is a time of year where you have a chance to tell someone about the Grace that is freely and permanently made available to them by way of Jesus. The special irony about the gift of grace is that it’s one gift that you give to someone else that ends up really being a gift to yourself.

Whatever gifts you have to give this holiday season, our entire staff and team at Southwestern Consulting would like to wish you a very very Merry Christmas!

P.S. We will have a podcast episode to share next Wednesday but other than that we are off this next week being with our families so we’ll see you amped up and ready to go in 2017!  

Giftology and Strategic Generosity with John Ruhlin – Episode 173 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

generosity

John Ruhlin is the founder and CEO of the Ruhlin Group, a North Canton, Ohio-based firm that specializes in high-level gifting plans to build relationships and acquire new clients. John is a sought-after speaker on the topics of C-level selling, relationship development and strategic gifting. He is also the co-author of the book Cutting Edge Sales.

Show Highlights:

  • If you take care of the inner circle, everything else takes care of itself. @ruhlin
  • When it comes to gratitude, there is an incongruence between what we say and do. @ruhlin
  •  If relationships are your most important asset, how you show them that you care really matters. @ruhlin
  • When you show gratitude well, you stand head and shoulders of everyone you’re competing against. @ruhlin
  • We teach people to give gifts ‘just because.’ @ruhlin
  • A gift, by its very nature, should be about the recipient not about you. @ruhlin
  • Instead of sending two hundred of something, send twenty to your top clients and personalize it. @ruhlin
  • An unexpected gift at an unexpected time. @ruhlin
  • A lot of times you can spend less money but just doing something differently. @ruhlin
  • If you’re not giving gifts strategically but only as warm fuzzy feelings, you’re wasting money. @ruhlin
  • If you’re not willing to invest even 5% back into someone, your heart is not in the right place. @rory_vaden
  • Most people walk around with a deficit when it comes to gratitude and appreciation. @ruhlin
  • Gift giving with strings attached causes problems. @ruhlin
  • Generosity is a secret weapon of influencers. @rory_vaden
  • There is power in reinvesting in relationships. @rory_vaden
  • Give with the hope they might help you without expectation that they will. @rory_vaden
  • A gift with strings attached is no gift at all. @rory_vaden
  • Abundance isn’t afraid of uncertain terms; scarcity requires tracking payoff. @rory_vaden
  • Abundance allows for a focus on others; scarcity restricts us to focus on ourselves. @rory_vaden
  • The strategy is to care about making people feel cared for. @rory_vaden

You can find more about John Ruhlin at Ruhlingroup.com or grab your copy of Giftology at Giftologybook.com.

Interested in the list of 100 gifts not to give to clients mentioned by John in this interview? Go to Giftologybook.com/Rory to check it out!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

7 Transformations of a Servant Heart

servant heart

In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shifts our perspective by talking through 7 transformations he has learned about a servant heart and shares a big announcement!

Show Highlights:

  • These transformations are moments that I have served and been served and from them experienced tremendous growth. @rory_vaden
  • Fear is your creativity working in the wrong direction. @rory_vaden
  • It’s hard to be nervous when your heart is on service. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant’s heart you develop persistence. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant’s heart you stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the person you’re helping.  @rory_vaden
  • When you think about yourself fear and self-doubt set it and you slow down. @rory_vaden
  • When you think about others, you persist. @rory_vaden
  • What if you treated your colleagues the way you treat your customers? @rory_vaden
  • Partnership is a byproduct of servant’s heart. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant heart, the focus shifts from you to others. @rory_vaden
  • Find the people who need you more than you need them. @rory_vaden
  • We want people to work for us who are here for the purpose not for the money. @rory_vaden
  • When you’re serving someone, you have all the power. @rory_vaden
  • Happiness comes from lifting up other people around you. @rory_vaden
  • Instead of trying to find something to make you happy, spend time find a way to make someone else happy and your happiness will increase. @rory_vaden
  • Lifting up the people around you will create positivity. @rory_vaden
  • If you don’t have a servant heart you reach a place of complacency. @rory_vaden
  • Legacy does not come from accomplishments, legacy comes from serving people. @rory_vaden
  • If you’re doing anything in service of others, any work can have purpose. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Greed, Giving, and Making Money Matter with Cole Hatter – Episode 159 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

greed

Cole is an entrepreneur, investor, award-winning speaker and founder of Thrive. Cole started his career investing in real estate and has progressed to investing in large funds, start-ups, and angel investing. He has been on stage speaking to audiences about investing/entrepreneurship around the world collectively for over 2,000 hours. Cole’s vision behind creating Thrive: Make Money Matter is to change the way businesses are run forever, creating a new breed of “For-Purpose Entrepreneurs” directing profitable businesses that focus on a local or global initiative.

Show Highlights:

  • What you convince yourself to be true about money will largely guide your relationship with money.  @rory_vaden
  • What you think about money will affect your ability to acquire it and manage it properly.  @rory_vaden
  • Greed is largely the result of thinking that you will find security and peace from having money. @rory_vaden
  • Greed is the rooted in the belief that money comes from taking from other people. @rory_vaden
  • Find all the bible verses Rory shares that that have to do with greed, generosity and money here.
  • Generosity is powered by abundance and by thinking generously about money.  @rory_vaden
  • Ferraris are great but feeding hungry kids is better.  @colehatter
  • I decided to make what I can do for others the purpose of business, not what I can do for myself. @colehatter
  • It’s no secret that some of the wealthiest people are infatuated with giving back because it is in our DNA to want to care for others. @colehatter
  • If you make your money matter you will find more reward personally than from anything else you could spend your money on. @colehatter
  • Giving isn’t so much about what you have or don’t have but a demonstration of your power over money. @rory_vaden

Thrive: Make Money Matter is the conference for entrepreneurs and business professionals who want to discover practical income-growing business strategies, create a positive impact in the world and leave a lasting legacy. Click here to get your ticket!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!