First Receive, Then Give

Karen AppleThere is a presupposition about giving that I’ve noticed is quite popular. It is the mindset that we are to give more than we receive.

I disagree. Actually, I believe the opposite.

For you to truly give – you must give from what you already have.

How can I possibly give what I have not?

Therefore, receive first – then give.

Does that sound selfish? Not at all.

From what I have been given; from what I have received; from what I have experienced for myself – from that place I will give generously to you.

When I need help with my golf game, to whom do I turn? I turn to my friends that are scratch golfers, or I make an appointment with my golf coach. What they are able to give me is a surplus of information and experience. It is effortless for them to share golf tips with me that will improve my game. They are giving from what they have. They are giving from what they’ve also received that helps them play well.

KAREN: I am going to give you a dozen apples.

INVISIBLE CYBER VOICE: Do you have a dozen apples?

KT: Well, no.

ICV: How many do you have?

KT: I have one apple.

ICV: Then why would you tell me you’ll give me a dozen apples when you don’t have a dozen? Why don’t you just give me a portion of the apple you have?

KT: Oooo, good idea. A win/win.

You can’t pretend to give a dozen apples. The receiver will figure out soon enough that you don’t have a dozen apples to give!

Why would other forms of giving be any different? Why do we treat giving of ourselves as a sacrifice? The whole point of giving is generosity.

What does generosity mean? The quality or fact of being plentiful! Give from a place of plentifulness; a place of abundance. Give from what we have. What I have, I will give.

“Karen, what if I don’t have anything to give?”

Impossible.

There is always something to give. BUT only give what you have! Whatever you are able to give is precious. Stand in a pitch-black room where no light can penetrate. I’m talking the kind of darkness where you will not be able to see your own hand if you put it in front of your face.

Now, strike a match. What happens is extraordinary!

That little flame illuminates the entire darkened room.

Whether your “giving” is a single flame from a single match or the grandeur of a lighthouse beaming across the stormy ocean waves – light is light. Translate it now to generosity. Regardless of the quantity of giving, generosity is still generosity.

I may not have much, but what I have I will share. I like that mindset.

Never underestimate the power of your giving. It is far better to give from what you have than to give from a place of deficit.

KT: I do not have a dozen apples. But I do have one apple. Would you like to share it with me?

ICV: That is so generous of you KT. I would love to share it with you.

KT: I wish I could give you a dozen apples. But I only have one.

ICV: The fact that you’d be willing to share the only apple you have with me, means more to me than a thousand apples. Thank you.

Do you understand what I’m saying? Do you get my point?

“Karen, I am giving from a place of deficit. What do I do?”

Be honest. Stop sacrificing. Generosity was never meant to be equated with sacrifice. The whole point of generosity is giving from a place of abundance. If you ain’t got it – don’t give it! Simple enough.

I am adamant about this.

Trust me, you will experience more joy and pleasure in giving when you only give what you have. Whether that is a physical resource, your time, your heart, your soul, your energy, your mind, your talent, your wisdom, etc. Give from a place of abundance.

Only give what you have. Share only what you have. Stop giving from an empty tank – please fill it back up.When you invest in nurturing your well-being, you will give abundantly. Do not measure the amount of your giving, measure the generosity of your giving. Keep it simple.

If I give from an empty place, then I’m going through the motions of giving – giving has now become a duty – and I convince myself it’s the right thing to do.Giving from a place of surplus, however small the gesture, will have the greatest impact.

How do you know when and how much to give? What is your mindset around giving? Is it…

I really, really want to! – OR –  I must.

I am so happy that I’m able to give. – OR –  It’s the right thing to do.

It’s not much, but I want to share it with you. – OR – They really need my help.

Yes, there will be times in our lives we will sacrifice. However, remember what true sacrifice is. In those moments of sacrifice, there is great joy because we want to. Sacrifice is done as an expression of generosity; not hardship.

“Karen, what about at work? The demands are exhausting me. I keep piling work on my desk.”

  1.  How urgent is it? How much time do you have to get the work done?
  2. What other areas of work are they willing for you to neglect while you focus on the newest task?
  3. Communicate honestly what you have to give. Your colleagues and superiors understand. They know what it’s like to have a heavy workload. They will negotiate the completion date with you.
  4. Ask for help. Teamwork rocks!

When John Fluevog (the person I report directly to) approaches me with ideas, projects or research – I ask him one simple question: “When do you need this by?” This will help me gauge if I can put the time into my work to complete the task. More so than not, it has a flexible timeline. And the few times it’s immediate, I call my colleague and let him know that I’ll be distracted for the next couple of days and I ask for his help to keep the ship on course.

I have a favor to ask of you… please practice receiving. It is a remarkable resource for giving. Ohhhh, that from a place of surplus you may give lavishly, extravagantly, wholeheartedly, effortlessly and generously.

– Karen Thrall

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