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Why You Need to Give It Away

Why You Need to Give It Away

    Everyone is looking to make an extra buck these days.

    We all want more clients, a better job offer, a promotion. Nothing wrong with that of course, but why is one of the best strategies to give it away?

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    Well, I’ll give you four good reasons.

    You make connections

    Let’s say you write a free white paper that can help solve a problem, or respond to questions at Answers.com, or give a free health assessment at a train station. You are meeting people and making connections. Granted, most of them will go nowhere, and that’s OK, if you begin to connect with 2 – 3 % of those who accept your offer, you will soon find that you know a whole bunch of people who are interested in you and your talents. You would not have met them if they would have had payed for something, since they didn’t know you and the risk was high. By giving stuff away you reduce their risk to almost nothing and more people will take you up on it.

    You get practice

    One of the best ways to gain experience, especially in a new and untried area, is to give it away. Again, there’s no risk. A company might not be willing to offer you a big salary to come and sell for them, but a church or PTA fundraising committee would be overjoyed if you volunteered to help them. Now you’re gaining experience, getting better at the thing you want to do and creating stories that demonstrate your success to people who will now consider taking a risk.

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    When I was still getting certified as a coach, I began volunteering at the Career Transition Center of Chicago, with a little training, a lot of raw talent, and a willingness to work for free. 200+ clients later, it has been a wonderful use of my time, and it has led to paying gigs.

    It feels good

    Don’t underestimate this. It feels great to do something you really enjoy and have people appreciate it, even if you’re not getting paid. You’re doing “Your Thing,” that will make you feel strong (if it doesn’t, it might not be “Your Thing”), Important point here; don’t just do something because you have to and do it begrudgingly. Do something you love to do, and your joy and passion will attract attention. If you like to write, write a white paper or a blog. If you hate writing, do something else, like create websites or read to sick kids or talk about a favorite topic at a professional association.

    It always comes back to you

    You are investing in the “Good Karma Market”, which always pays out in the long run when something is offered with joy and love. It doesn’t always pay out the way you expect, or on the schedule you would like, but it never fails. That’s not to say you should give in order to get. You should give and trust that you will get what matters. It’s a subtle distinction, yet crucial.

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    To sum up, give because you:

    • Make connections
    • You get practice
    • It feels good
    • It always comes back to you

    Conclusion

    I heard a story (I wish I could remember where) that most people stand in front of the fireplace and say to the fire, “I’ll give you more wood when you start giving off more warmth.” We laugh, but that is the approach many of us take to our careers and lives. Some people, on finding the fire burning hotter by sheer luck, don’t even put more wood in at that point, yet we find ourselves surprised when our career is nothing but ash.

    Don’t be this person. If you put in more wood first, the fire will give off more warmth. Give and give. You will surely receive.

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    (Photo credit: The open hands of woman via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Dave Kaiser

    An Executive Coach who helps people make better use of their time, from productivity to living their life's mission.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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