Gimme, gimme, gimme

Rosanna Machado | November 30, 2021


One of my favourite books is ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant. I love the idea that you can be a giver in life and still be successful in business, dispelling the old myth of needing to be hard-nosed and aggressive to make your way to the top. Adam Grant says “In healthy relationships, both people give and receive with no strings attached”. I’m also interested in the role that balance plays in this “If you’re a giver, remember to learn your limits – because takers don’t have any.”

The concept of giving with no strings attached is a lovely one – you do it because of the joy in helping someone develop or making a difference to someone’s life. But how often do we give when subconsciously we are expecting something in return and therefore when it is not reciprocated, we feel affronted. I recall a few years ago when I was growing my business, I got into the habit of giving advice or doing some small bits of work for free on the basis that I thought it would lead to paid work. I soon learnt that there were some takers who would get as much out of me as they could with no intention of paid work following. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with a reciprocal relationship – it’s more a case of knowing that is what you are expecting or wanting and communicating it. So why not have a think about the following:

  • Be aware of the kind of relationship you are entering
  • Find an authentic way to communicate what you’d like in return
  • Remember that everyone is different so what they bring to a relationship may be different to what you offer – don’t expect everyone to contribute in the same way
  • When you can give without strings attached, ensure there are no strings attached and don’t hold it against that person for evermore when they don’t reciprocate
  • When you are on the receiving end, find a way to show your appreciation
  • Ensure that the relationships that you cultivate are giving you the energy and balance that is right for you

I have in the past neglected my own mental health by giving too much. I’m now more aware of what I need to feel mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually at my best so sometimes the giving is to myself.