NOBODY’S PERFECT!!

Perfection. Wouldn’t it be nice? We have all heard of it and many of us desire it, but what are the consequences of embarking on a pursuit for perfection?

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between adaptive (helpful) and maladaptive (unhelpful) perfectionism. We have all heard the words, “yeah they’re a total perfectionist”. Maybe this was in reference to a school assignment being handed in the day before it was due or perhaps a night out with the fellas was missed in order to get a good night’s rest for an early start the next morning. These are examples of adaptive perfectionism, which reflect motivation, forward planning and self-belief. In contrast, maladaptive perfectionism involves self-criticism and unrelenting standards that can significantly impact ones performance, professional attainment and social and emotional well being.

Let’s think about Jack, who is in Year 11 and trying to start his English essay due next week. Each time Jack sits down to start his essay he feels his stomach sink and muscles tense. His hands start to tingle and he notices his heart beating in his chest. Jack’s mind starts racing and he finally says to himself, “I can’t do this”, and slides his books off the table. We can see that Jack’s essay has triggered a strong emotional reaction, which may suggest unhelpful perfectionism characterized by several common negative thinking patterns:

Crystal-balling: Jack predicts what will happen next, that is that the work won’t get done.

Generalizing: Jack attributes his present difficulties to reflect poorly on his global capabilities.

Catastrophising: Jack believes that he may get dropped a class, receive a detention or never achieve admission into TAFE or University.

Black/white: Jack thinks that his assignment will either come together easily and he will “succeed”, or he will fail miserably.

Emotional reasoning: Because Jack feels anxious, it must be a disaster!

Ultimately, in this moment Jack has forgotten the times when he handled similar situations and his ability to engage in work now has been impaired by worry about what may happen later.

Perfection may be characterized by:

  • A tendency to put off important things, even when this causes distress;
  • Avoidance of unfamiliar or challenging situations where performance may be evaluated;
  • A sensitivity to feedback and evaluation;
  • Becoming upset, irritable and anxious about making mistakes; and
  • Giving up on tasks easily or getting delayed by a tendency to start things over.

Now, we can ALL relate to the above examples from time to time, however when unhelpful perfectionism becomes a problem one may experience:

  • Heightened stress, anxiety and low mood;
  • Decrease motivation;
  • Procrastination and avoidance;
  • Guilt for putting things off;
  • Poor time-management and disorganisation;
  • Needing frequent reassurance from others;
  • Reduced immune system and more frequent illness;
  • Reduced productivity and goal attainment.

So how may we reduce unhelpful perfectionism?

  • Be mindful of your ‘self-talk’. Particularly when under stress, don’t hesitate to take out your metaphorical magnifying glass if you need to challenge the evidence and helpfulness of your thoughts;
  • Never forget the many shades of grey in life. Keep perspective and acknowledge that failure is a healthy and necessary part of life;
  • Celebrate success, but regularly praise and reward your efforts;
  • List the benefits and consequences of your perfectionism;
  • Set SMARTY goals, (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Framed and Yours!)

A note on reducing perfectionistic thinking and behaviour in children:

  • Encourage perseverance and reward effort. This enables children to push themselves beyond their comfort zone by reducing the perceived consequence of “failure”, therefore fostering emotional resilience and helping a young person to keep some much needed perspective;
  • Discourage competitiveness and foster individuality. For example, bolster personal strengths and interests;
  • Promote balance between social, academic, physical health and recreational activities;
  • Teach systematic problem solving, planning and organizational skills; and
  • Be mindful of what you are modelling through your direct and indirect communication, because children are extremely observant!

And remember…..

“YOUR ONLY COMPETITION IS YOURSELF YESTERDAY”

Greatness can only develop by successfully responding to adversity. Our role models teach us that risk is necessary for learning and thus, failure partner’s success. It takes courage to step into the unknown, perseverance to stay there and humility to graciously accept defeat with self-kindness. So how will you celebrate the achievement of your next ‘failure’ and look upon this as undisputed evidence of your own pursuit for excellence?

Mathew Pfeiffer, Registered Psychologist at The Resilience Centre

 

Five tips for increasing your productivity

By Ruth Fordyce
Psychologist, The Resilience Centre

Would you say that you are a productive person? Are you aware of all the current jobs needing your attention, and are you making good progress on them? Note that I am NOT asking whether you have ticked off everything on your to-do list, because for most people this will never happen. Most of us have more things to do, than time to do them in!
But if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, forgetting things frequently, or unable to complete even your most important tasks, here are some ideas to consider.

Do a ‘brain dump’
Your brain is not designed to retain endless amounts of information in your current attention span. When you are feeling overwhelmed it’s really important to capture all the things you need to do. Get the list out of your head and down on paper or into your phone or computer. David Allen lists this as the first step in his highly popular “Getting Things Done” model. The key is to choose a place that you will regularly refer back to. I use an app in my phone called Errands. It’s always with me so whenever something pops into my head I can make a note of it, and set a date to complete it as well. I check my Errands list every day and re-work it often. Instead of worrying, “What am I forgetting?” or “What should I be doing?” I can trust that my list will remind me!
Learn more – David Allen’s book and website Getting Things Done

Invoke the ‘one minute rule’
Are there any tasks on your list that would actually take only a minute or two? (for example, calling to make an appointment). If so, do it right now. This gives you an immediate sense of achieving something! In the future, before adding something like this to your to-do list, consider just doing it straight away. That way, you are not wasting time writing it on a list and then possibly procrastinating about it.
Learn more – Gretchen Rubin on the ‘one minute rule’

Break large tasks into chunks
In contrast to these easy-to-complete tasks, there might be others on your list that will take many steps and repeated effort over weeks to complete. If you write a task that is too large on your list, you are even more likely to do nothing about it or procrastinate about it. Instead, think about what the steps would be to complete the task and write the first step as an item on your to-do list.
I used this tip with this very blog post. The idea of “I have a blog post to write” feels overwhelming and therefore I tend to put it off. However, breaking this into chunks works for me. The first chunk might be brainstorming ideas and writing them down for 15 minutes. The pressure is off because I don’t need to complete the post, or for the ideas to be fabulous at this stage. The idea is just to get started. Most people find once a task is started, it becomes much easier to complete.

Prioritise
I find this point is ALWAYS listed in any article about productivity! And for good reason. To feel truly productive, just ‘getting things done’ isn’t enough. We need to be getting the things done that actually matter. In my experience, prioritizing well is a skill that takes a long time to learn. Each day, as new tasks emerge and new challenges need to be addressed, we have to adjust priorities accordingly. I find it is always worth my while to take a few minutes each day to stop and evaluate all the things I’d like to get done, and then consider, “If I got nothing else done today, what is the one thing that is most important to complete?”. Doing that one thing, as early as possible in the day, makes a huge difference! This has also helped me redefine ‘productivity’ in my parenting role. One some days, the ‘one thing’ I need to do is care for a sick child. All the other jobs fall by the wayside, which is frustrating, but it helps to remind myself that I really am doing the most important work for that day!

Use the power of habits
Are there tasks that you need to get done repeatedly? Do you find yourself procrastinating on some of these tasks because you lack the willpower or motivation to get them done? Exercise fits into this category for a lot of people, but so do a lot of administrative tasks like filing or opening and sorting the mail.
It might be helpful to learn how to build a habit in order to get this task done more repeatedly. Habits are behaviours that we tend to do automatically in response to certain triggers. For example, most of us don’t need much ‘motivation’ to brush our teeth before going to bed. It’s something we do with barely any thought because it’s so strongly associated with cues like putting on pyjamas or thinking about bedtime.
Students can set up habits such as getting home from school, getting some afternoon tea and then immediately sitting down to do homework. A further step might be starting with a particular subject each time – for example, maths if this is the subject that needs most practice, followed by working on any assignments that are due soon, and so on. If this routine is consistently followed, it becomes easier and less effort and thought is required each time to follow through. Instead of wasting mental energy thinking, “shall I start my homework now or later? … which subject should I do first?” and so on, the habit reduces the amount of decision making and motivation required.
Another habit might be that each time you check the mail, you immediately open it and throw away any junk, then sort bills and schedule payments for these, or place them in a specified place to deal with later. Set aside a time in your week to deal with the bills, then reward yourself with something pleasant afterwards – another sure way to make habits stick!
Learn more – James Clear has a fantastic website devoted to the science of creating good habits.

ONE LAST BONUS TIP! … Pick one of these five and work on it this week!
You may have come across some of these points before or perhaps they seem quite simple and obvious – but how well are you actually using them? These strategies only make a difference when implemented with consistent effort over time.

So which tip would be most helpful to you at present? Get started today and take note of how it affects your productivity in the coming weeks. Good luck!

Ruth Fordyce is a Registered Psychologist at The Resilience Centre in Sydney. Find out more about Ruth by clicking here.

Thinking there is perfection is your first imperfection (the first of many)

i-can-t-keep-calm-i-m-a-perfectionistHi, my name is Alison and I am a perfectionist. Actually, let me rephrase that. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Take it from me, the road to recovery from perfectionism is a long and difficult one. Why is perfectionism such a problem that warrants recovery and repair? Does this not mean that I’m a high achiever on the healthy pursuit of excellence, destined for greatness?

Well my friends I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but perfectionism does not in any way resemble the healthy pursuit of anything. It is not healthy. Fullstop. It is actually quite harmful. Perfectionism can seem like a positive trait. It can make you seem smarter, more switched on or driven to succeed in life. Yes, often the perfectionist can present this way. But there is another side to perfectionism that is far less enticing, less rewarding and far more damaging.

Let me take you behind the scenes on some of the core beliefs behind this insidious trait. As a perfectionist:
1. You are motivated by the fear of failure or a sense of duty.
2. You feel driven to be number one, but your accomplishments, however great, never really satisfy you.
3. You feel you must earn your self-esteem. You think you must be very ‘special’ or intelligent or successful to be loved and accepted by others.
4. You are TERRIFIED by failure. If you do not achieve an important goal, you feel like a failure as a human being.
5. You think you must always be strong and in control of your emotions. You are reluctant to share vulnerable feelings like sadness, insecurity or anger with others. You believe they would think less of you.

Basically, perfectionism hampers success. It can lead you on a path towards depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis (defined as all the opportunities you have missed out on due to fear of putting anything out there that is imperfect).

These beliefs are incredibly negative and self-deprecating in nature and are inherently different to a healthy mental structure for screening and perceiving information. On the opposite end of the spectrum to perfectionism is the healthy pursuit of excellence, and this is where:
1. You are motivated by enthusiasm and you find the creative process exhilarating.
2. Your efforts give you feelings of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, even if you aren’t always ‘the greatest’.
3. You enjoy a sense of unconditional self-esteem. You do not feel you have to earn love and friendship by impressing people with your intelligence or your success.
4. You are not afraid to fail because you realise that no one can be successful all the time. Although failure is disappointing, you see it as an opportunity for growth and learning.
5. You’re not afraid of being vulnerable or sharing your feelings with people you care about. This makes you feel closer to them.

Brene Brown, a well known author of the bestseller, The Gifts of Imperfection, states that the journey towards letting go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embracing who you are starts with learning how to live a wholehearted life. Courage, compassion and connection, as the ‘gifts’ of imperfection, help you embrace your beautifully imperfect world and help you start to embrace worthiness. But don’t be fooled by these seemingly lofty ideas. The training in the use of these concepts involves practice. The art of repetition many times every single day. Not when you’ve gotten through your to-do list or when you have a spare few minutes (because let’s face it, you’re a perfectionist with a to-do list longer than you’re life span allows), but as a priority.

Here are some examples of how and what to practice.

1. Strive for a healthy outlook on life. Start and end each day with reading, watching or listening to something that inspires you.
2. Practice warmth and kindness towards yourself when you feel inadequate. Remember, imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders we are all in this together.
3. Tell yourself you are good enough just as you are. For example, at the start of your day say to yourself ‘Today, I’m going to believe that showing up is enough”.
4. Focus on forgiveness rather than bitterness. Be the ‘benefit’ finder rather than the ‘fault’ finder.
5. Work on stillness using mindfulness strategies at times when you feel vulnerable or fearful. By practicing mindfulness you will learn to roll with negative feelings so they stop having control over you. Your aim is not to be anxiety free, but to be anxiety aware.
6. Rather than being defensive, work on being open to suggestions. Embrace your flaws and learn to laugh at yourself by making your mistakes humorous and light-hearted.
7. When problems arise, focus on your sphere of influence. What is in your control to change? Move away from chronic worry that circles around in your head for days. Move into problem solving mode as quickly as you can.
8. Realise you can do one thing ‘perfect’ or many things well. Make a choice to let things go in order to increase your growth and learning.

It’s amazing how implementing such basic changes to your thinking and outlook can move you closer towards excellence from perfectionism. And if your perfectionistic brain thinks it’s not going to work so why bother, then I challenge you to challenge this faulty logic that keeps you stuck in ‘black and white’ or rigid thinking. For the richest, most beautiful and pleasing colour in the world my friends is ‘shades of grey’. That’s right. Shades of grey that go between the black and the white. This resembles flexibility and adaptability. By embracing flexibility, you have a chance to enjoy your life for what it is, in all its imperfect glory. In the words of Albert Einstein:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

So, I will keep going on my journey and I wish you all the best of luck on yours. Remember, we cannot cross the sea merely by staring at the water. Positive change is no accident. It comes from hard work, perseverance and a little bit of love.

References:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. 2010.

The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns. 1989.

The Pursuit of Perfect- How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life by T. Ben-Shahar, 2009.

By: Alison Lenehan, Psychologist.

The development of “self”

Lyn Worsley Resilience Doughnut 06 By Lyn Worsley, Clinical Psychologist

Over the past weeks I have been reflecting on how we develop our potential and what defines us as unique individuals.

The Self in psychology refers to the knowledge and sense of who we are as a unique person. It is how we feel comfortable with ourselves and the development of self is how we find our identity. In developing our sense of self, we experiment with copying others, modeling others behaviour, setting standards we want to achieve and discovering what we can do to reach our unique strengths and our unique ways of thinking. We do that with others and they reflect back to us what is good and not so good and we change to accommodate others and ourselves. It is an interactional thing. A relationship with others helps us to become who we are. But the psychological study of self is very interesting because there is a distinction made between who we want to be and who we really are. So those who set too higher standards or very low standards, on themselves can actually hinder their own development or their own potential.

I recently read a great article by Irem Gunay from the Turkish positive psychology association. In the article it discusses how positive psychology puts a great emphasis on encouraging people to realize their potential and be their best. Although this sounds nice and exciting, as one digs deeper it can become difficult to decipher what being your best self exactly means. Setting high goals? Being competent? Achieving outstanding performance? Meeting expectations? Being really good at the things that you do? In all of these cases, excellence is measured with some sort of a reference value, and there lies the danger.

Being our “best selves” does not have to be about setting very high standards for ourselves and criticizing ourselves each time we fall short of the kind of person we think we should be. Nor does it have to be about pretending to be more than who we are and feeling like a fake.

Being our “best selves” incorporates a process of self-discovery, a heightened awareness of the self that makes us realize that we are actually much more than what we normally think we are. But given the ambiguity surrounding the definition of the term, being our best selves can mean different things to different people, and some of these conceptions can be maladaptive

The difference between “the best self” and “the ideal self”, or the person we think we “ought” to be.

According to Tory Higgins, a professor at Columbia University, people have different personal standards or self-guides against which they evaluate themselves. The fundamental purpose of having self-guides is to control and direct one’s behavior. Self-guides are a catalyst for change. They have an important self-regulatory function. They motivate people’s actions, and thereby can help people to develop and expand their capabilities, skills, and capacities.

Although such self-regulatory behavior is typically aimed at self-improvement, we cannot measure up to our internal standards and often fail to attain goals. Therefore the discrepancy between who we think we actually are and our personally relevant self-guides can have important consequences for our emotional well-being. The more we are self-focused, the greater the emotional impact is expected to be.

People often evaluate themselves against an internal “ideal” and “ought” standards. The outcome of these comparisons is what then motivates us to do things.

From the standpoint of the self, the ideal self is a representation of the attributes that we would ideally like to possess. It refers to our wishes, hopes, and aspirations. For instance, one person’s ideal self might involve being more outgoing. It might be being perfect and never making a mistake, or it might be a different body shape, or level of fitness, etc.

From the standpoint of the self, the ought self is a representation of the attributes that we believe we should or ought to possess. It refers to our duties, obligations, and responsibilities. For instance, one person’s ought self might involve being better at meeting deadlines. It might be that we do things to please others and keep them happy, ticking all the boxes.

The significance we attach to each of these self-guides can have important and often negative emotional consequences. Research by Higgins and colleagues suggests that the discrepancy between a person’s current self and ideal self may produce feelings of disappointment, sadness, and dejection. Where as the discrepancy between a person’s current self and ought self may produce feelings of anxiety and agitation.

It is of course bleak to think that we can never attain our ideal and ought selves, and thus we are doomed to feel agitated and depressed. Rather, the danger here lies in holding ourselves to superhuman standards that are almost impossible to attain.

The research on ideal and ought selves has important implications for positive psychology. If we perceive our best selves in terms of ideal and ought standards, our sense of emotional well-being will be contingent upon our success in upholding those standards. Thus when ideal and ought standards play a predominant role in shaping our perceptions of our best selves, trying to be our best selves has the potential to be maladaptive. A more adaptive approach is to distinguish our best selves from how we would ideally like to be and how we feel we ought to be.

Practical ways to find our best selves.

Savoring might be one good way to overcome our tendency to compare ourselves to some sort of a standard, either internal or external, as we define our best selves. Savoring involves being conscious of, and paying attention to our positive experiences through our own volition.

Savoring is not just about enjoying positive events as they occur in the present; it can also incorporate the past and the future. That is, people can feel good by anticipating future positive experiences or by reminiscing about past positive experiences. Basically, savoring is about appreciating and enjoying each and every positive moment of our lives.

Appreciating the best in each moment can also ease the way to appreciating the best in us in each of those moments. In this scheme, our best selves are not future or past versions of us. They do not involve a time frame or a reference value of some kind. We possess them right here and right now.

If we want to realize our potential, we should definitely seek out new possibilities that will help us to develop and expand our capabilities, skills, and capacities. But in doing so we should also be wary about the danger of becoming obsessed with improvement and perfection. Savoring each moment with a self-compassionate attitude is also an important part of realizing our potential since it heightens our inner awareness of all the strengths and virtues we already possess.

Thus, the uncertainty surrounding the definition of best self can do harm and do good, depending on how we understand the concept. Being our best selves does not mean being perfect according to some standard.  Being our best is being more like who we are and feeling our own potential. Understanding this is the gateway to finding a real sense of peace, and Joy.

 References

Bryant, F. B. (1989). A Four‐Factor Model of Perceived Control: Avoiding, Coping, Obtaining, and Savoring. Journal of Personality, 57(4), 773-797.

Bryant, F. (2003). Savoring Beliefs Inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savoring. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), 175-196.

Higgins, E. T., Shah, J., & Friedman, R. (1997). Emotional responses to goal attainment: Strength of regulatory focus as moderator. Journal of personality and social psychology, 72, 515-525.

Strauman, T. J., & Higgins, E. T. (1988). Self‐Discrepancies as Predictors of Vulnerability to Distinct Syndromes of Chronic Emotional Distress. Journal of Personality, 56(4), 685-707.

The Givers and Takers in our lives:

The Givers and Takers. Are they different types of people, and are the outcomes in business the same?

By

Lyn Worsley,Clinical Psychologist

What is the differences for those who are successful?

What are the differences for those who are successful?

Researchers have recently discovered that there are three different types of people according to how they give or take from others. This is particularly evident in the business world and transferable to all parts of our lives.

Adam Grant (2013) researched a number of large companies and assessed the culture of people’s giving and taking styles.  He found three styles of giving and taking. He also assessed their success in business as well as in their personal lives.

Firstly he found there were the givers who give more than they take and feel guilty if someone returns a favour. Then there were the takers who were very good at networking with people in order to gain. Thirdly there are those who are the matchers who match what they give by expecting a return or they match what they take by giving back the same amount.

 Givers and takers choices:

Grant’s research revealed that in every successful person there are choices they make when they approach other people. The choices involve thinking about whether they should claim as much value as they can, or whether they contribute value to that person or whether they work out how much is owed for the service that is given. What was interesting is that Grant discovered there was a difference in how successful givers and takers were.  He found that the most successful people in business were the givers and the least successful people were also the givers, leaving the takers and matchers in the middle.

 Differences between successful givers and non-successful givers:

From the results of his first analysis Grant went to work out the differences between the successful givers and the not so successful givers and he found some very interesting results. There was a difference in how the successful givers gave. The successful givers had a style that genuinely sought the benefit of others. They were outward focussed, were excited about another’s success, and did not attribute the success to them-selves. Those who were the unsuccessful givers also looked outward however they gave because they felt obligated. They “should do this” etc. and they gave compulsively. This compulsive giving actually meant that they often gave inappropriately, or gave when it was not really all that helpful. So in essence the successful givers were more appropriate givers.

 Differences with Takers in business.

Grant discovered takers appeared to like to get more than they gave as they enjoyed a bargain. Takers also put their own interest ahead of others needs. Takers appeared to believe the world was a competitive, dog-eat-dog place and felt that to succeed they needed to be better than others. To prove their competence, takers self promote and made sure they got plenty of credit for their efforts. Takers were not cruel or cutthroat, but they were cautious and over protective. The dominant thought was “if I don’t look out for myself first, others will take advantage of me, and no one else will look out for me.”

A number of years ago, I remember distinctly talking to a businessman who said we can be nice and caring in our personal lives, but business is business. He told me that if you want to succeed you have to play the game. At the time it didn’t sit right with me but he appeared to be a very successful businessman, so I assumed that I must be wrong. He certainly told people he was successful and drove a nice car, and lived in a nice house.  A number of years later he poached staff from a reputable service company, rendering them insolvent. He had networked with the staff and led them to believe they would be a better off with him, rather than staying in the service company. Unfortunately a number of staff left their stable jobs, to find they were overworked and underpaid resulting in the severe burnout with two of the staff only 6 months later.

The costs of taking and giving:

If you are a taker, you help others strategically when the benefits to you outweigh the personal costs. If you are a giver, you might use a different cost benefit analysis, you help when ever the benefits to others exceeds the personal cost.   Alternatively you may help others without the thought of personal costs at all. Furthermore if you are a giver at work you simply strive to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills ideas and connections with other people who can benefit from them.

The difference in business and personal lives:

According to a Yale Psychologist Margaret Clark, most people act like givers in close relationships. She notes that in marriage and friendships, we contribute whenever we can without keeping score but in the workplace, give and take becomes more complicated. Professionally, few of us act purely like givers or takers adopting a third style of relating. Matchers operate on the principal or fairness. When they help others they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you are a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your business relationships are governed by even exchanges of favours.

You might find that you shift from one reciprocity style to another as you change your work roles. You can act like a taker when you negotiate your salary, a giver when you mentor someone with less experience, and a matcher when you share with a colleague. But the research shows that at work, people develop a primary reciprocity style, which captures how they approach most people most of the time. What is interesting is that this style of relating can play as much a role in the success in business as hard work, talent and luck.

Studies of success:

Grant studied medical students, and found that those with the lowest grades and the highest grades were the givers.  He also researched sales people finding that the least productive salespeople had 25 percent higher giver scores, but so did the most productive salespeople who averaged 50 percent more annual revenue than the takers and matchers. His studies with engineers showed those who were least successful were the givers as they were more concerned about making sure they could help other which prevented them from completing their work on time, completing drawings and missing deadlines.  However, those engineers who were successful had the highest giving scores and were known for their quantity and quality in their work. These conflicting results demanded further analysis and Grant continued to investigate the personalities and motivations behind the givers and takers.

Grant found that there was a myth around givers, that they are nice and altruistic people. He noted that the givers at the top of the success ladder had goals for their own achievement, and they were as ambitious as the takers and matchers however they had a different way of pursuing the goals.

The differences are clearer when the successful giver wins, or achieves success. When takers win, there is usually someone else who loses. Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch. So you often see someone who is going well in business for a while and then they collapse. It is likely they are a matcher or a taker rather than a giver in business. These differences are very subtle.

In contrast when successful givers win, people tend to cheer on and support them. Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them. The differences lie in how the giver success creates value instead of just claiming it.  It was also found in the research that those who were successful givers had taken longer to achieve the success than those who were takers, and when they achieved the success they maintained it because they had the supporters with them. So being a giver is not good for the 100 meter dash, but is valuable in a marathon.

Changes in our society of giving and taking:

Grant, as an organisational psychologist noted a number of changes that have occurred in the process of doing his research. He noted that in the 1980’s the percentage of people working in jobs that provided services to others was 50%, and that today, 80% of people are providing service sector work. He surmised that this would cause a shift in the expectations of the people you provide a service too. That is, since they are paying for more services they would expect a greater service (ie. if they are takers, they want more than they pay for and if they are matchers they will want a quality service)

This shift means that to succeed in business you will need to exceed the expectation of the general public.   So for a successful business, you want to have people working for you with a giver style of relating, can see the best interest of others and see the benefit for others outweighs their personal effort. Basically he notes that if we want to do well in business we need to employ people who are givers. However to employ successful givers we too, need to be givers and not takers.  The simple truth of this is that your business needs to work for the clients and serve the clients, and the measure of success for the business should be the gain for the client not the financial turnover.

 It comes all back to you:It is up to us

If you give first, and people are out there seeing the value of your work and come away with feelings of satisfaction and value added, they will hold onto that feeling and either pay it forward or let others know.

If you give in both your work and your personal lives, the success will be slow but will be evident in your life through the close connections you have and the readiness of others to learn from you. After all, when our lives have a positive impact on others, we see our significance and purpose in this world.

References:

Grant, A (2013).  Give and Take: A revolutionary approach to success. Weidenfeld             and Nicolson,  London UK

Clark, M.S. Mills, J. (1993).  The Difference between communal and exchange             relationships: What it is and is not. Personality and Social Psychology             Bulletin 19: (pp 684-691)