Fast Company

Think WE for Relationship Success

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things.  1) Get to know yourself.  Use this self knowledge to help you better understand and communicate with others.  2) Build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with lots of people.  3) Resolve conflict in a manner that leads to creative solutions to disagreements and strengthens your relationships.

I have been asked to contribute three chapters to the forthcoming book 42 Rules for Creating WE by members of the Creating WE Institute of which I am a founding member.  One of my chapters is entitled, “There is No Quid Pro Quo in WE.”  In this chapter, I focus on how to build solid relationships by giving with no expectation of return.

Take a look…

WE is built on relationships; the idea that we are all connected, and that through a WE-centric, rather than a traditional I-centric approach, our collective wisdom grows and evolves.  This kind of thinking creates stronger organizations and societies.  It fosters mutual shared respect for the unique contribution every person is capable of making.  Solid, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are at the core of WE.  Giving with no expectation of return is a great way to create these types of relationships.

This is a quid pro quo world: you do for me and I’ll do for you.  While there is nothing wrong in reciprocating a good deed or a favor, there is a fundamental problem with quid pro quo.  It is reactive not proactive. 

Too many people wait for others to go first.  They adopt the attitude, “When and if you do for me, I’ll do for you.”  This scarcity mentality is not conducive to creating WE.  When you come from a scarcity mentality, you focus on holding on to what you already have.  This can prevent you from receiving what you might possibly get.

On the other hand, giving with no expectation of return comes from a proactive abundance mentality.  When you give with no expectation of return, you are acknowledging the abundance of the universe.  You are demonstrating faith that the good you do will benefit others close to you and the world at large – and that good things will come back to you.

Giving with no expectation of return is ironic.  I have found that the more I give, the more I receive; often from unlikely sources.  But that’s not my reason for giving -- and I hope it is not yours.  The best reason for giving is the basic joy of making a difference in other people’s lives and in creating a WE-centric world.

I love the Liberty Mutual Insurance “responsibility” ads.  They are a very visual demonstration of the ideas behind creating WE – especially giving with no expectation of return.  You’ve probably seen them.  They begin with someone going a little out of his or her way to do something that benefits others; picking up a piece of trash, opening a door for another person who’s hands are full.  Another person observes this and goes out of his or her way for someone else.  The cycle repeats several times during the ad.  The message is clear.  We are all better off when we help each other.

Giving without expectation of return helps you build strong relationships.  Larry Agresto is a WE-centric guy.  He says, “Truly successful people never compete, they network and leverage their relationships by providing value and giving more than they receive.”

In the end, giving with no expectation of return comes down to your mentality – scarcity or abundance.  If you come from a scarcity mentality, you will live by quid pro quo, and perpetuate the I-centric status quo.  If you come from an abundance mentality, you will give with no expectation of return and begin to create a WE-centric world.

I choose abundance and to take an active part in creating a WE-centric paradigm in my circle of influence.  I agree with Winston Churchill who once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”  When you give with no expectation of return you will get a good life.  You’ll also get a better world; one in which we all look out for one another.

This is merely a sample of the kind of advice you will find in 42 Rules for Creating WE.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  Interpersonally competent people build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.  Giving with no expectation of return is a great way to build relationships.  When you give with no expectation of return you are living a life based on an abundance mentality, not a scarcity mentality based on the idea of quid pro quo.  Giving with no expectation of return means that you are trusting that the good you do, and the help you provide others will be returned to you.  I have found this to be true – often in very strange and unexpected ways.

That’s my take on building relationships by giving with no expectation of return.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thank you for reading.

Bud

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