It is in Receiving that We Give…

When I speak to groups or individuals about networking, I am often met with questions from my audience centered around the themes of “Why would someone, who does not know me, want to help me?” and “I feel like I am taking and taking but don’t have anything to offer my networking contacts in return.” I first penned some thoughts on these topics back in June 2012: You Have Something To Offer Your Contacts, where I highlight ways one can return the offer of assistance.

Today, I take a slightly different approach in that I propose the simple act of asking for help can benefit the one who provides assistance.  Although the Bible will state otherwise (Acts 20:35), I want career seekers to think about how their receiving of help is a gift to those who provide the assistance.  Sounds strange?  Consider what Henri Nouwen wrote for the April 3rd entry of his collection entitled “Bread for the Journey“, paraphrased below:

The Importance of Receiving 

Receiving is often harder than giving.  Giving is very important: giving insight, giving hope, giving advice, and most of all, giving ourselves.

But receiving is just as important, because by receiving we reveal to the givers that they have gifts to offer.  When we say, “Thank you, you gave me hope; thank you, you allowed me to realize my dream,” we make givers aware of their unique and precious gifts. Sometimes it is only in the eyes of the receivers that givers discover their gifts.

When I read this, it made sense.  When I have helped others, I often feel a level of satisfaction or fulfillment from the effort.  This internal gratification is felt when one knows he/she did a good thing for someone else.  By allowing others to help you, you are allowing them to experience this inner reward.

For those who are hesitant to embrace networking out of concern of being seen as only taking and not reciprocating the help, consider that you could be helping others by allowing them to help you.

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About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
This entry was posted in Job Search, Networking, Thank You and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to It is in Receiving that We Give…

  1. Nick Abrams says:

    I love this insight. Reminds me of John 13:

    After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
    6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
    7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
    8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
    Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
    9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

    Peter didn’t feel worthy to receive this blessing from Jesus. But Jesus made it clear how important it was to receive…. God wants us to receive what he has for us, which sometimes, is so much harder than giving.

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