Why it Pays to be a Go-Giver, Not a Go-Getter

Last week, I was meeting with a few of my networking contacts, discussing the way in which we all like to network and what we are looking to get out of it. I told them, “I love to learn about the new, exciting things other are doing and seeing if I can help them out in any way. I genuinely like to help others and make great ideas succeed.” One person pointed out after I elaborated more on this point that I’m a go-giver, not a go-getter.

A light *sparked* in my mind.

People always tell you to be a go-getter. You never really hear the term go-giver. However, I stopped and thought about this – and continued thinking about it all the way home. If you’re like me, you would rather see others happy and successful than seeking out that happiness and success for yourself first. You thoroughly enjoy asking people, “How can I help you?” (and not in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-up line manner).

gift givingI’ve started realizing through my proceeding conversations and actions that being a go-giver is a respected, endearing and selfless thing you can do that can benefit both parties if done right.

Especially in the Boston start-up scene, there are many, many hard-working people spending their days and nights and last few dollars trying to grow their startup. When they are asked if they need help, this is like spotting gold. Entrepreneurs are full of ideas and spark, but they need more minds and man hours to make the idea happen.

While I know I’ve told many more people I’d love to help them than what’s been reciprocated back to me, I’m actually quite content with that. To date, I am an advisor for four awesome startups in the Boston area, contribute blog posts weekly to BostInnovation and am about to start a non-profit website to help homeless animals. Not in any one of these circumstances am I ask for anything in return. I am genuinely interested in helping these ideas grow for the pure sake of seeing them succeed.

To revert back to my original conversation of a go-getter vs. a go-giver, I was also reminded that go-getters may still become extremely successful and wealthy, but all they have done is helped themselves. They probably have said “no” to many people who asked for their help or advice for the pure reason that they were devoting 110% of their time on their own endeavors. While there is nothing ethically wrong with this, I find it good business to help and then be helped.

This is why I truly enjoy helping and giving – and this will never stop.

The reason I felt the need to write about this is because I want each and every person who reads this to stop for a second and identify which one, a go-getter or go-giver, you are, and if you are content with that.

Have you asked to help another out in the past month? Have you given selflessly to a cause without pay or proper reward? Do you seek experience helping others for the sake of even just learning, if not monetary gain?

I ask you to try being a go-giver for a week. Attend networking events, identify one or two people who have great ideas you are passionate about and see where you can be of assistance – even if all they need is access to you to bounce ideas off of. How about contribute an expert guest blog post to a start up that could use your help? Why not stay a few hours extra at work just because you truly care and want to get things done? You may find that it’s even more rewarding than money. I do.

Enough from me – I’d love to hear your stories. Are you a go-giver? If so, what are some things you’ve done selflessly to help others and had a successful outcome? If you are not a go-giver, what are some things that would inspire you to become one? And also, I always encourage others to counteract my ideas if you feel strongly otherwise.