“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.”
~Bhagavad Gita

How often do we give gifts – whether personal gifts to friends or family members or “gifts” at work that might include offering our time, attention, information, or resources, or sharing a plum project – and expect nothing in return? Perhaps this quotation will stop you in your tracks, like it stopped me.

I like to think of myself as a giving, caring person. My self-image includes a huge heart and an extremely selfless attitude. But maybe I’m wrong. When I look deep at many of the “gifts” I offer, I have to acknowledge that there is at least a tiny part that is looking for my payback.

I see this pattern played out at work as well. So often I hear clients acknowledge their need to “coach” someone – and by that they usually mean they need to come softly at someone to get them to change their behavior. To become more acceptable. To make the “right” decision. That is not coaching.

Coaching is truly showing up for someone selflessly. It is giving all that you can – from your heart to the right person at the right time in the right place and expecting nothing in return. I suppose it is, or at least can be, a truly pure gift. When I coach is when I am able to be in this space and to expect nothing in return. But it can be hard not to have an agenda, even in coaching. It’s a challenge to truly think only of the other person – to have them be your focus and the sole object of your attention.

I want to challenge myself to give more pure gifts. I want to play with the concept of filling other people’s buckets, which we shared about in Bucket filling as a leadership competency. I want to give totally of myself while expecting nothing, or at least little, in return.

Give of yourself. Focus on someone else. Expect and want nothing in return. Keep trying.

Where are your gifts pure? How can you make them purer?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

To experience someone giving to you and expecting nothing in return, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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