by Pam Farone
What if I were to tell you there is one, mind-blowing shift you can make in your career that will change – pretty much – everything. I know, it sounds like I am selling snake oil or some miracle wrinkle-cure cream, but really, what I am about to share is life changing. However, I must say, while simple it isn’t easy.
This one shift is going to help you whether you are looking for a new job, trying to advance in your current career, building a business or even trying to discover what it is you want to do with your life. I’ll share this simple secret and then give you the tools you need to implement it. Like I said, it is easy to understand but hard to implement.
Ready? Here it is:
Shift from “Getting” to “Giving”
Simple, right? Well, maybe not so easy. This is a core shift in perception. As humans we are wired for survival. Our focus is naturally on ourselves. We want more: more money, more recognition, more meaning and the list goes on.
What do all of these things have in common? They come from a GETTING mindset. Don’t get me wrong- these are GOOD things. Everyone wants to have success on their terms and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if we can shift our awareness from OURSELVES and onto OTHERS, it will produce some amazing results.
This is especially true when it comes to our careers. Many of us feel the whole point of work is compensation (getting). What if we could focus on what we can give at work instead of what we are getting from it? A whole new world could open up.
It could make the difference between dreading your job and actually looking forward to it.
Start By Focusing on Your Gifts
This is a fun exercise. When we start to think about our talents and special abilities, it has the amazing effect of helping us feel MORE CONFIDENT. Having confidence at work does lead to more enjoyment and success. Check out our blogs on this topic: Self-Talk for Career Self-Confidence, How to Increase Your Self-Confidence Today, and the Extraverts Guide to Career Self-Confidence.
If you aren’t sure what your gifts are, ask the people closest to you. I regularly will ask my clients who aren’t sure of their gifts to send an emails to their five closest relatives or friends. The email will look something like this:
I am working with a career coach to discover my special talents and gifts. Would you mind sharing with me what you think my super powers are?
(You will be surprised what your friends have to say. And truthfully, people like doing this for others because we all know that giving makes us feel good. So this exercise offers others the opportunity to give to you.)
If you are still having difficulty figuring out your gifts and talents, you may want to take an assessment like StrengthsFinder®. Working with a coach or career counselor is another way to uncover your talents.
See Your Gifts Everyday
I recommend to my clients to create a neat list, beautiful picture, infographic or vision board that includes their gifts. Displaying this prominently in your room or in a home office, is a great way of calling your gifts to mind regularly. Here’s one I did for one of my clients on Canva– a super fun and free site.
When you look at this list you should instantly feel JOYFUL. If not joyful, at least very pleased. If your list is not doing that for you, you might need to return to the drawing board.
That feeling or awareness you gain by looking at this list is the first step in shifting from GETTING to GIVING. Why is that? I believe it reminds you of who you are. This world does a great job at distracting us in every direction imaginable. Technology, social distractions and the mundane routines of ordinary life often lead us away from the truth of ourselves.
Seeing your gifts staring at you everyday will return you to a sense of purpose as well as excite you to use your gifts and talents.
Remember Gifts Are To Be Shared
So while using our gifts can bring a great deal of self-satisfaction and pleasure, we have to avoid the temptation to keep them to ourselves. What is the nature of a gift? Something that is GIVEN TO someone. So when we think about our gifts, we want to think about how we can GIVE THEM AWAY.
The real pleasure in gift-giving is seeing our gifts in action and how they can impact others. That is a heart-awakening moment that feels good. In this way, giving and receiving are the same. As we give we get, but we keep our focus on giving.
Find Ways To Use Your Gifts
Now that you know what is special and unique about you and the importance of giving, figure out ways that you can use these gifts everyday for the benefit of OTHERS. This is how we begin to shift that stubborn me-me-ME-mindset into a giving mindset.
If you are currently employed, figure out ways to bring your gifts to your current work. Volunteer for projects where you get to give those gifts away. If you are looking for new work, think about what careers could use your gifts and talents. Is there a hobby you could pick up or devote more time to that would allow you to express your talents?
There are probably many ways you are giving right now and not even thinking about it. Take the time to step back and look at how your gifts are benefiting those around you at work. Do you take the time to do that or wait for someone else to tell you? Practice giving that gift to yourself- acknowledging your gifts and feeling grateful for them.
Avoid “What’s In It For Me” Attitude
Have you ever heard of the Cheerful Giver? We are called to share our gifts with a glad heart. If we are giving our gifts to others but feeling stingy, resentful or taken advantage of, we are essentially on the wrong path. Whenever we give of ourselves we have to remember that it is a PRIVILEGE to give.
Imagine a world where people were excited to use their gifts at work. What if you could shift your focus from, “what do I HAVE to DO today at work?” to “what do I GET to GIVE today at work?” That is a small but really profound shift to make.
The act of giving allows us to actually feel grateful. Be grateful you are alive and have these gifts to share. Feel grateful for having a job or having the ability to work.
Be Intentional About Giving
What if you are still having difficulty giving freely and joyfully? Or perhaps you feel used or taken advantage of when you give?
One of the best ways to enjoy giving your gifts away without the pitfalls of feeling used is to decide how and in what ways you want to give. Ask yourself what kind of giving feels the best. For example, if you are a business owner, you may determine you would like to give a free gift but limit it to certain clients or put a time frame on it.
I’ve been inspired seeing people in the workplace share their gifts in many ways. One co-worker of mine was very artistic. Each morning she would come into the office and do an origami project and give it away. These colorful folded paper designs brought a warm sense to our entire team. Another co-worker with a gift of teaching and a love of yoga, taught a lunchtime yoga class. There are so many creative ways to share our gifts at work.
Sharing your gifts with populations in need is another great way to give. It is very difficult to feel anything but joy and gratitude as when we are serving those needing us the most. This is the best and highest of callings. It will open your heart and help you make that shift from getting to giving.
Receive the Rewards of Your Gifts
Receiving, while not the focus, is definitely a crucial piece in the giving exchange. Those who don’t want to receive back for their gifts or feel guilty when others give back to them are missing the point. It is perfectly OK to be compensated, praised and rewarded for your gifts.
You are worthy of enjoying the fruits of your labor. Even just exploring the idea of giving more frequently will allow you to feel more joyful. Opening up your world to giving allows you to live from a more heart-centered place. This is the place of love and joy. What gifts can you give today?