We get what we give

We Get What We Give

“We get what we give” is the ultimate distillation of the timeless maxim that our rewards in life are always in direct proportion to our contributions.

You can instantly spot the people who will get where they want to go. They know what they want. They have a plan. And they work the plan every day.

In a world where selfishness has become a common character trait, those who understand that we get what we give have a powerful competitive advantage. They approach interactions with others with my two favorite questions in mind:

Where does it hurt? And how can I help?

There’s an odd corollary to we get what we give. The payback on that investment can be exponential when we give without expectations of getting something in return.

In every employment relationship, we negotiate compensation at the outset. The wise among us rebracket expectations every few years by exploring other opportunities. I always took a headhunter trip from time to time, even if it was just to reaffirm that I was happy with my current situation and the trajectory of opportunity there. But once I agreed on the money, I forgot about it. Kaizen, the Japanese word for “continuous improvement” was the main focus. “How can I add more value tomorrow than I am adding today?” was the key question.

The friendships we value most are those where we feel the other person cares as much about us as we do about them. They work because we purposely nurture them. We give to those we care about without expectation. Those who return the love rise to the top of our minds. Those who become energy suckers, ultimately leave our inner circle.

Teams that understand the power of we get what we give rise to best in class. Individuals who incorporate the concept into daily life can reap rewards that compound exponentially. And they ultimately discover another of life’s most important lessons:

Giving is more fun than receiving.