In the book Give And Take, Adam Grant outlines the three types of interactions we have with people and demonstrates why, contrary to common thought, being a giver is the best approach to achieve success in business and life. We all have examples of people who fit into one of the three groups. There are those who are consumed with ensuring that they receive their fair share, thosewho want everyone to have their fair portion, and those who, of course, lead with charity. Surprisingly, Adam Grant finds that the very last group, the donor, is predestined to succeed — even in the cutthroat world of business.
You tailor your giving style to the people and situations you're dealing with. It's changeable. You give and take at times, and you negotiate at others. While we all have a strong style that identifies us as a giver, taker, or matcher, we adjust our conduct in different settings and with different people. Aside from peer pressure, our ability to relate to others has an impact on how giving we are. If you're a Manchester United fan and see an injured runner on the pavement wearing one of the club's jerseys, you're three times more likely to assist him than if he's wearing a simple t-shirt. Our approach to giving isn't set in stone. It's changeable. We shape and change it all the time, even if we aren't aware of it. So, regardless of which type you lean toward, it's never too late to change your mind.
To seek help when you need it, practice powerless communication. Most of the time, we're told to be self-assured, to speak up, and to establish ourselves, and this is true in some cases. But, according to Adam, nothing is more persuasive than relinquishing authority. You don't focus on what's in it for you when you communicate powerlessly. You focus on the other person and ask questions and seek guidance in true provider mode. It produces little opposition in the other person because it places them in a position of power, thus many individuals will naturally opt to assist you. In impotent communication, there is no force, no game, and no sweet talk. It's just honest, natural, and human, and that's what makes it so effective.
As long as you see the impact you make, you can't burn out as a provider. You will succeed if you continue to give. You may not be able to do so today or tomorrow, but you will be able to do so someday. Even the most generous giver, though, can become burned out and fatigued at times. Givers don't have to work fewer hours, but they do have to see more of the influence they have while assisting others, as Grant has discovered. Burnout is for the irrational. Find a means to see your effect as often as possible, and you'll be able to give for as long as you need to.