The world can be a cold, hard and lonely place for a man, so it’s natural to sometimes feel as if you are alone. It seems as though you’ve literally had to fight for every position, every opportunity and every ounce of success you’ve had. Over time you’ve become respected as a man, as a professional and as a great friend to many. Sometimes when we climb mountains we get so high up that we forget about the people down below who have been cheering us on the entire time. You may think you’ve gotten to where you are on your own, but there is always someone that deserves credit for helping you along the way. Giving back and paying forward are great ways to share some of your wealth of love, knowledge and resources to others.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to my birthday because I knew that my Uncle Kermit would send me a birthday card with some cash in it. My birthday is on December 18th, exactly one week before Christmas, so I didn’t expect too much from my parents on my birthday. When the cash came rolling in my brothers would hover over to see how much was inside. It was normally somewhere around $10 which seemed like an awful lot of money at the time. I was torn because I wanted to keep the money all to myself, but I knew I would want some of their birthday money when the time came.
My brother Shane’s birthday was on January 6th so I knew I’d be paying him a visit VERY soon. My younger brother Joshua’s birthday had just passed on November 17th and he’d be fine simply with a piece of candy. My older brother Travis’ birthday was ALL the way in July and he would always claim that he’s “saving” his money when his cash came. He was a few years older than I was so he would always get a little bit more cash. At the end of the day, they would remind me “Ok, I’m going to remember this when my birthday comes around” and I would reluctantly fork over a dollar.
Now, I’m all about sharing, really I am, it was my brothers that I was concerned about. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :p I wanted them to be just as willing to part with some of their birthday money as I was with mine. After all, my world would be a much better place if I could arrange residual income on their birthday money. lol To this day we are still learning how to share our time, energy, efforts and resources.
It’s funny because sharing is something that most parents emphasize when they bring their children around other children. We want so badly to have everything to ourselves, not realizing the relationships we will build through sharing. It’s a good thing we have our parents or some sort of guidance to show us a better way than what we know. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck in our “Mine Mine Mine” phase, but worst of all stuck there alone. No one wants to build with a selfish person because it will cost them too much and gain them too little.
Life is about building relationships and leaving behind legacies, and the more you share your resources with others, the greater the relationship will be and the greater legacy you’ll have. I always tell people that if you’re good at something, always do it for free until enough people respect and acknowledge that you’re good at it. That’s what networking is all about, figuring out a way to work together, save each other time, energy, effort and money and propel the relationship. Through combining your resources, you’ll be able to maximize your profitability.
Not everything is always about numbers. Years ago when I first started out with photography, I was interested in mastering my craft before asking for a price. I would look at my competitors work and try to figure out how they were able to create such masterful images. Some were kind of enough to reveal some of their secrets while others were reluctant to do so, if they even responded at all. For the ones who shared their wisdom, we were able to start the beginning of a long-lasting professional relationship.
Through consulting with my fellow photographer friends, I discovered that I could improve my images if I used better lighting, a better camera, better models, a make-up and hair stylist and post-production. I thought to myself, “No wonder… all this time it was just me, my camera, the model, whatever light was available, and that’s it”. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to produce great images with what I had, but what they’ve shared with me was advice that would help me get better. It would require me to outsource and bring in more people and resources to help me achieve my goals. Ultimately, this would allow me to increase my knowledge of new lighting, new camera equipment, as well as meet new people.
What’s was great about this experience was that there were models, make-up artists, hair stylists and even photo editors who were facing similar issues. They too wanted to enhance their portfolios; while what they already had was good, but they wanted to make it better. For the model, having a professional make-up artist, hair stylist, photographer and photo editor would mean more bookings. For the make-up artist and hair stylist, the opportunity to work with an industry standard model, photographer and photo editor would enhance their portfolios and also increase booking. And the same for the photo editor and myself, we were all able to benefit from our combined resources. All we had to do was be willing to give our time, and if need be combine our resources to rent a studio.
We did more for each other than create beautiful images, we built a relationship. As individuals, we struggled with creating a masterpiece, but together we each added our own much needed pieces to the puzzle. We’ve created a circle of trust, a network, a family of resources that we could invite others to be a part of. At any point, we could diversify our portfolios simply by swapping out one photographer, one model, one make-up artist/hair stylist, or one photo editor for another. The idea was to share what we brought to the table and encourage other people to do the same.
When you think of the most successful companies int he world, (i.e. Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, etc) you will find that they didn’t make it to the top on their own. That would be exhausting, to come up with all the ideas, all the money and all of the ways to make it happen. Instead they build partnerships and include other people, other companies and other brands to help propel them into the position that they want the company to be in. Could you imagine me trying to do the photography, the hair, the make-up, the set-design and the post production all by myself? That would leave me little to no time to do the actual photo shoot.
By sharing your knowledge, time and resources with others you will put yourself in a much better position to advance. In fact, whenever you’re looking to build a relationship with someone, the first thing you should try to figure out is “How can I help”. If you go into a situation offering to help, people will be more likely to ask you “What are your strengths”. You can get into almost any and every door simply by offering to be of service, yet many people miss this opportunity because of selfish reasons. Once you’re in the door, you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your skills, and since you’re not being paid for it, there will be less pressure on you to not mess up.
You don’t get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression, and by offering your services, you’ve just left a mark that says you are charitable as you are resourceful. These are great qualities to start a relationship off with and they will never be forgotten. In today’s times, many people are so reluctant to announce their skills, or showcase their talents because they’re afraid that someone might ask them to be of service. Offering to share your expertise is simply another way for you to practice. If you’re truly as good as you think or say you are, the people you’ve shared your gifts with will gladly refer you.
In order for you to truly benefit about sharing your time, gifts, talents and resources with others, you must first change your attitude towards it. You must change your attitude towards people and think of the change you’ll inspire in others. Sometimes other people won’t take a step forward until you do. Some people have some of the most amazing talents and they bury them because they haven’t experienced the power of giving. Sharing isn’t solely about what you give, it’s also about how you give it.
In a relationship, the success will depend on your ability to give because it’s a partnership. When you’re single, you’re independent, but in a relationship you’re interdependent. That means you no longer have to do everything on your own, you have a partner who is there to help, but that part is also looking for reciprocity. Share your time, share your resources, share your thoughts, share your feelings, share anything that will bring you closer together. If you’re not ready to share all of these these with someone, simply spare them by remaining single.
A partnership is about more than one force coming together to improve their quality of life. If you’re able to do great things on your own, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll be able to do together. The more you know about yourself, the more value you’ll be able to add to others. If you see something that is missing from someone’s life that you are able to provide, that’s your opportunity to fill that void. Keeping everything you know, everything you own, and everything desire to yourself will only leave you by yourself. Be selfless!
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Life & Relationship Expert