Christmas in July? No, not at all. Giving gifts, specifically your gift should be a year round affair. I’m not talking about buying your wife something new and shiny every week (sorry dear) or spoiling your kids with toys whenever they ask for them. The type of gift I’m referring to is more about giving things that no one else can give. Give your gift.
Give your time.
Give your presence. And not just being there physically, being present within your presence. No Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.
Give your love.
Give your smile.
Give your passion.
Give your talent.
No one can replace or imitate these gifts that only you can give. You have your own brand of all of these things. Just as there is not a single person on this planet that is exactly like you, no one else can bless the world with your brand. So give it all away.
Give, give and give some more without the hope of reciprocation.
Seth Godin spends a good amount of time discussing this culture of gift giving in his incredible book Linchpin. Godin suggests giving gifts should be more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically. It should come from within us, rather than from a want and hope of getting something in return. The way the world is in 2016, all the giving is transactional. I give you $50 and you give me a t-shirt. You help me move, and I’m on the hook for when you want to redo your kitchen and need some extra helping (not so handy) hands. Most people give and subconsciously await to receive. It’s not your fault, it’s ingrained in our culture.
But what if we could change all of that? What if we could show up to our jobs and give our work our passion and our coworkers our smile without asking “What’s in it for me?” What if we could do something for our significant other without making a mental tally on the scoreboard? It’s not about keeping score, it’s about making a difference. When you give a gift, you hope to make a positive difference in the person you give that gift to, but also to yourself. When we give our best selves or do the best for others, it makes us feel great. Seems like a win-win situation.
This post was inspired by a guy named Jeremy Scott. He gave a non-transactional gift just before I sat down to begin typing. A few months back, I saw a YouTube video of his (Jeremy Scott Fitness) in which he was wearing a t-shirt that had the number 86,400 on the front. In the video he went on to explain that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and the shirt was a reminder not to waste one second of that time. I sent him an email telling him that I really liked the shirt and it’s meaning and asked where I could find one to buy. In response he asked for my address and told me that he probably had a few spare shirts and he’ll just send me one. A couple months later and it’s on my doorstep. He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve easily directed me to where I could purchase one on his site or ignored the random email all together. He didn’t want anything in return, he just saw that I shared his appreciation for the meaning of his shirt and sent me one free of charge.
Give, give, and give some more people. You won’t regret it.