I grew up with two siblings, and being the oldest, I learned early on that I was expected to share things with them. Sharing wasn’t something I ever thought much about, and it was something I just did. Fast forward to being an adult, and at some point, I realized that not everyone was on board with the same concept of sharing that I was used to.
My first awareness of the fact that not everyone was in the spirit of sharing, occurred when I really needed the person to share some information with me. I asked without considering that the answer could be no, and when I heard the word no, I was surprised. Actually, a bit shocked. I asked the person why they were not willing to share the information with me, and their answer wasn’t what I expected to hear. Their response was that they didn’t feel like sharing the information.
Of course, this person could have shared the information I was asking about, but they deliberately withheld it from me. After this happened, I thought about what would make someone do this? Was it out of spite, jealously or was it a control thing? It turns out it was a control thing, and I did eventually get the person to share the information with me, but this was a good lesson for me.
The best lesson I learned from this experience was that there wasn’t a good reason for the person to withhold the information from me, other than that they could do so. I also realized they may not have had the same experience I had growing up, and which when I shared with others, I felt really great doing so. I can’t tell you that this person felt great or any different when they finally did share the information with me, but I’ll never really know the answer. However, a small part of me is hopeful that the experience of the person releasing the information to me made them feel better.
I can’t speak for others, but for me personally, I always feel a sense of pride and joy when I can share information with others. The expression that it is better to give than to receive resonates with me, and perhaps you have had this same experience?
As business executive, I came up with a system for determining which people within the organization would be willing to share and help me and others. It was a relatively simple system, and it was always uncanny how accurate it was. My system involved asking a person to share something with me, whether it was advice, experience or perhaps a physical item. If they were willing to share with me, I knew that they would be open to doing so again. If there was any reluctance or hesitation in doing so, I knew the person fell into one of two categories.
The first category was that if someone was willing to share, they were a confident person, and didn’t feel that they would be negatively impacted by the experience. The second category consisted of people who were reluctant or who didn’t share, and I categorized them as someone who thought that their “power” or influence would be diminished if they shared something. Typically, information in this case. The people who didn’t share came across as being less confident, and over time I noticed a pattern with both of the two categories.
The pattern was that the people who were comfortable with sharing progressed much faster and to higher levels in any measurable scenario. Meanwhile, the people who were not categorized as “sharers”, were typically stalling out in their careers, and were also less satisfied in the role they were in. Of course, there were exceptions to the pattern I was seeing, but there was a very strong correlation of this one factor of being a “sharing” person which positively influenced their career and the opportunities they encountered.
Worth noting is that when you begin to study leaders, you will often find that the common thread between them is their willingness to help others. This typically means they are willing to share their experience, network, time and information. They also often do this without hesitation. Have you encountered this type of leader or sports coach?
If you are not someone who currently falls into the category of being a “sharing” type of person, here are some suggestions for you to consider “test driving” to help you lean towards being in this category if you aspire to do so.
- Without being asked, offer to share something you value with a person that wouldn’t expect you to do so. It could be a physical item or something intangible, but that would be perceived as being valuable to the person you are going to share it with.
- If you are not accustomed to sharing, you will need to begin slowly, as it will feel very awkward and potentially intimidating for you to do so. Beginning slowly might involve donating your time to a charity to help them with something they are working on.
- Set a goal for yourself of sharing one thing every day for two weeks, and keep track of what you are sharing. At the end of the two weeks, look back on what you have shared, and think about how it feels to have shared what you have with others.
- The concept of sharing can take practice, and it does get much easier to share with others, and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t have to take a long time to reach a comfort level you can’t imagine being at currently.
- Many of us have too much “stuff”. Instead of sharing it with someone, take it to the next level and give it to someone who could benefit from having it more than you can.
- Every one of us encountered a teacher, and I’m sure that you could name your favorite one. What was it about your favorite teach that you could mimic and teach someone else by borrowing the attribute about them that you admired?
As the year ends, I am thinking about how amazing our world would be if everyone was able to share with others, or at a different level than they are presently at. Please accept my challenge today of sharing something with another person today, and I’ll look forward to hearing about what you shared, and the outcome of the sharing experience.
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