Several years ago, I heard a story of a successful entrepreneur. I don’t recall the person or the company she started, but the story she told has stuck with me since.
She had been raised as a person of faith and had been taught about the importance of generosity. Somewhere around the 2008 economic crisis, she lost her full-time job and struggled to find a replacement job. During this time, she decided that due to the economic issues she was facing, she was going to stop being generous and would withhold giving until her family got back on their feet.
Eventually, she decided to start her own company to stay busy and earn some income. However, starting a company was not the easy pathway to success she was hoping for. One evening she was praying for God’s help and she stated that His Spirit spoke clearly to her that evening. She heard, “how can I fill your hands when they are closed tight holding on to the little you have? Open your hands and I will fill them.” She proclaims that once she opened her hands with generosity, her business took off.
What I love about “Generosity” is that it’s a principle supported by the faith community as well as the business community. (not always driven by a faith perspective)
One of the most famous quotes of Zig Ziglar is “you can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” He means, give first and you will receive back.
Perform a Google search on generosity and its’ impact on success and a multitude of articles will come up from the most elite business trade publications. The Go-Giver, a best-selling book written by Bob Burg and John David Mann is based on showing how generosity breeds success.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Whether faith is an anchor for you or not, generosity is a concept that is agreed upon by all. Of course, generosity can encompass your time, talents, and treasure. How much? Well, that is up to you, but most supporting data suggests you get back (plus more) of what you give. I guess the real answer to that question is another question. How much do you want?
Over the last 6 months or so, a recurring conversation with my 16-year-old son has been on the topic of generosity. He struggles with the idea based on how I teach him. I make a practice of giving 10% of my earnings. Most believe that it will be easier to give when they have more, but I would argue that it is harder to give when you earn more. If you base giving off percentages then you can be writing some sizeable checks. He recently said, “dad, if someone makes a million dollars, they will give $100 thousand based on that model. Do you know what you could buy with 100 grand?” All I could do was nod and understand where he was coming from.
Fast forward to today, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. I have lost a good amount of money in my 401K and other stock investments and luckily have seen much of it return. Many people have lost jobs and their financial security. Too many people face great uncertainty with each waking day. After losing much earlier this year, I realized the importance of generosity.
When you have open hands, you realize money can come and it can go. In fact, it will. You just place your trust in the source. Somehow the practice of generosity has allowed me to place my trust in non-financial anchors as well as the source of time, energy, and money. This trust gives me confidence that it will all be ok during and after this crisis. I am human. I might get anxious from time to time.
But, as Pete the Cat says, “it’s all good!”
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