Imagine taking your greatest interpersonal gifts—those talents and attributes that most positively affect the lives of others—and putting them in a special box through which they could be instantly acquired by anyone who received them. Which gifts would you put in the box? Would they have to do with the way you support people, or some area of expertise that you’ve developed, or an attribute such as honesty or loyalty? How might the world be affected if more people acquired your particular gifts and used them to serve others?
Now take a moment to think about the ways in which you could be better served or supported by the people in your life. In your ideal scenario, what might those close to you offer or provide for you with greater effectiveness, or how might they differently treat or acknowledge you?
You may find that some of the gifts you wish to receive in greater measure from others are gifts that you offer rather easily. You might even have placed one of these gifts in that special box. This should come as no surprise, as we have a tendency to become masters at giving to others those things we most wish to receive.
Consider now the possibility of opening your own gift box and receiving the very gifts that you enjoy sharing with others.
I recently found myself having this very experience. For a couple years now I’ve been leading a kind of intentional learning community. I created an environment in which people from diverse backgrounds could come together to connect in a deep and authentic way, all the while supporting one another’s learning and growth. Each month we explored a different chapter from my two User’s Guide books—The Art and Science of Self and The Art and Science of Connection. These are among the gifts that I most enjoy sharing with others.
This month, the members of my facilitator training ensemble decided to teach their first User’s Guide module to a new generation of participants. I am one of the new participants, which is to say that I now have the privilege of being supported by these facilitators in the same way that I had worked to support them. I am directly receiving one of those gifts that I most enjoy giving.
In this wonderful experience, I have learned a valuable lesson: don’t be too proud or shy to ask for and receive the very gifts that you relish in sharing with others.