Have you ever thought about what successful people do that makes them stand out from the crowd? Can you think of people who have made a difference in your life by helping you?
As it turns out, givers are at the top of the success ladder. People who find success in life engage in particular behaviors that push them ahead. Because of their generous natures, others want to see them succeed and help them along the way too.
As I continued my journey in search of happiness, success and good habits, I began to think about my own giving habits. Do I try to help people on a regular basis? This question led me to dig deeper into the habits of givers for a better understanding.
Adam Grant, the world-renowned and youngest tenured professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, recently wrote about this concept in Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. In the book, which I highly recommend, Grant identifies givers, takers and matchers, those who try to give and take in equal amounts.
Do you think you’re a giver? A taker? Maybe you’re even a matcher. Grant has developed some free online tools to help you track your giving habits. If you are interested, take a few minutes and assess yourself.
Since, of the three, givers find the most success, let’s take a look at some of their habits:
1. Engage in Helping Others
Interestingly enough, not all givers find themselves at the top of the heap. Only givers who were highly motivated, concerned with the greater good, and engaged in smart giving found success.
Focusing on others, within specific boundaries, keeps the giver inspired, does not interfere with productivity and provides help for people who will pay it forward.
2. Volunteers 100 Hours Each Year
Successful givers find a way to fit volunteering into their busy schedules. Most of the time, their volunteer hours are directly related to their jobs or goals in life.
Studies have shown over and over that helping others makes the giver happy. If you are in a slump, go volunteer — you’ll feel better for it.
Successful people volunteer in ways that motivate them. They are excited about helping others. Volunteering at least 2 hours a week provides the optimal benefit for a giver to stay motivated.
3. Do Things That Interest You
As you think about volunteering or helping others, try to think of things that you are passionate about or that you wish you had the opportunity to do.
Recently, I’ve been trying to think of how I would like to help others. As somewhat of a math nerd, I love the idea of helping students who are struggling with their math skills as they prepare for college testing. This is a very different arena for me: Most of my math teaching experience has only been with middle and elementary students.
4. Set Limits
Successful givers place boundaries around their giving. They keep their own goals and ambitions in minds as they help others.
Giving with no boundaries or guardrails in place is not going to benefit the giver in the long run. This type of giving takes away from the giver’s time and ability to be productive in their own life and profession.
5. Ask for Advice
Givers understand that they do not have all the answers and seek they advice and help from others.
6. Expect Nothing In Return
The best way to say thank you to a successful giver is by paying the good deed forward. That is all they expect in return for their help. That is a win-win for everyone.
7. Use Powerless Communication
As counterintuitive as it sounds, givers use powerless communication. Instead of talking confidently and authoritatively, they speaking tentatively and find it a more powerful way to communicate while earning trust, respect and status.
Tentative communication involves using hesitations like “well” and “um,” hedges such as “kind of” and “maybe,” disclaimers, intensifiers and tag questions. All of these styles of speech reveal our imperfections, vulnerabilities and show an openness to others.
Powerless communication is a habit that can be cultivated. Try making a point of shifting toward asking more questions rather than giving answers. This habit will naturally help you make the transition to listening more.
8. Give Credit Away
Instead of seeking all of the attention and recognition for themselves, successful givers defer to others. They prefer to stay out of the spotlight, allowing others to take credit.
9. Be Competent
If you are trying your best and doing your job, people want to know that you are human. That’s where the openness and vulnerability come into play. It’s OK to be yourself and show the less-than-perfect person. Only when you underperform will this backfire on you.
Giving to get will not lead to success. Givers who succeed see the best in others and have genuine desire to help them.
They often begin with the question “What are you working on?”. When this question is answered, the giver then knows how to help or how to make meaningful connections.
All of these habits of successful givers are researched-based and proven to help people find happiness and success in life.
“The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.“
– Adam Grant
Question: Do you believe in the power of giving?
I’d love to hear your comments!