Star was nuzzling her guardian’s knee. She could see the stress in his eyes as he pulled out his laptop ready to start work. Her tail was wagging like a windsock in a hurricane. She was cajoling, vocalizing (not whining), and sending positive energy to her guardian, reminding him of all the great reasons why he decided to care for her in the first place. Her eyes were expressive, clearly saying, “You are the best human being in the world and there is none like you!” It made him feel happy, wanted, and playful at the same time. He suddenly remembered how much joy he gets spending time on walks with her. Momentarily, he had forgotten the pressures from work and was reminded that life is made up of joy too. He said, “You are right, beautiful! It’s too good a day to be doing work. Thank you for reminding me. Let’s go for a walk. We both need it!”
Star wanted to go for a walk. She provided value first to her guardian by allowing him to see what was important. In doing so, she got what she wanted, a walk! Can you relate? Does your dog do that?
Often in life, we have goals we strive for, things that we want, and situations we like to see happen. It could be in a business where you want more customers and more revenue or in your relationship where you want your partner to be more loving and sensitive. Perhaps, you desire your employees (or your boss) to be more understanding. Maybe you would like your friends to be more accommodating or generous.
Many people think of taking first before giving. Their thought process goes like this, “If you give me this much, I will then give you that much” or “I am not going to give you more than what you give me. If I do so, I may lose out”. If you are in a relationship, you may feel like you are not able to give more than you are receiving. If you do, it is not fair and you lose out. If you are in business, you may feel that if you do anything extra for your customers, you may lose out on profits and lose money. With your friends, you may feel that if you are too generous and/or understanding, you may be taken advantage of.
These are limited ways of thinking, adopting scarcity when the world is actually made of abundance. In all aspects of life, to ensure you get the most of it, you have to give before you take. You have to be more sensitive before you will be treated more sensitively. You have to be more generous before others will treat you with generosity. In business, you have to provide value first before you are compensated. In your relationship, you have to be the better lover before your partner can respond in kind. It simply isn’t the case of taking first then giving back later nor is it the case of giving back exactly what you felt was ‘fair’ or ‘equal’ to the other party so no one loses. It is about providing value first and providing more value than the other party expects. When you do so, magic happens.
This is not referring to allowing yourself to continuously be taken advantage of (please don’t!). You need to read the feedback as well. In business, if you are constantly losing money by ‘providing too much value’, you are either providing the wrong value or providing it to the wrong customer. In your relationship with your partner or friends, if you are constantly being taken advantage of (it may feel like bullying for some), similarly, you are either in the wrong company or with someone who shares different values to you. Please do listen to the feedback your world is giving you!
When you provide value first, on a macro picture, the universe will return the value to you whether in monetary gains, the quality of your relationships, or other means. Life is energy. It cannot be created or destroyed. The energy that your value provides will be transformed back to you somehow. On a micro-level, when you adopt the habit of providing value first, you naturally embrace the abundance of your world as you do not have the feeling of ‘What if I lose out by providing value first?’ You will live happier, more contented, and even fulfilled. Scarcity is pain where abundance is pleasure.
Before you start to adopt the thinking of providing value first, it is important to define what that value is. In business, it is usually the value perceived by your customer, not you. For example, in veterinary medicine, it may be perceived that nutritional education is of value when to a particular pet guardian, it is just the peace of mind of being to speak freely without prejudice is of the most value. So if the vet were to spend his time talking about nutrition, thinking that is of value, the time may be better spent on understanding the concerns of the pet guardian more so she is more likely to discuss issues troubling her, improving communication. In relationships, it is also important to ascertain what your partner/friends define as value. Usually, it would tie in with your personal values as well. If not, it may be harder to provide values that you disagree with.
Please remember that you cannot give what you do not have. You have to balance this idea with ‘providing value first’. Be sure to take care of yourself and keep your emotional tank full!
Either way, imagine living a life where you and the people in your life provided value first. No questions asked, no ‘I’ll only do this if you do that’ or ‘What’s in it for me?’. Just simply Provide Value First. How would it look like? Would your life be better? Would you feel more abundant? Remember, to have a world like that, it starts with you.
Star provided value first to her guardian and got what she wanted. What is holding you back from providing value first?
‘The person that gives the value first has the leverage.’ – Gary Vaynerchuk