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Give Without Giving In

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Maria Ploumaki
SHARING ECONOMY © crazydiva via Getty Images SHARING ECONOMY

Last week I attended an event of the Oxford and Cambridge Club of Zurich where Guy Spier, head of the Aquamarine Fund, gave a talk at Bloomberg.
Guy is an investor, fellow Oxford graduate and author of the book "The Education of a Value Investor". I expected him to give a talk about finance; instead he talked about investing in social capital.
Compounding goodwill by giving.
This insight reminded me of a lecture I attended at Oxford University by Professor Timothy Morris about the Reputation J Curve. He discussed that reputation is asymmetric and that more reputation brings more reputation. The curve is in essence a parabola.
"It's not whom you know, but who knows you"; the more you give, the more you spread your goodwill.
Every time you give other people something, they create a positive connotation about you in their mind. Giving can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes: Knowledge, care, compassion, interest, a gift, an article, a song, justice, joy, inspiration, laughter, you name it.
When you give, people get to know you. And they know you for what you give to them. So make sure you select your gifts carefully. Usually what you give, you get back. #GiveNotGiveIn
My dear friend Sunnie J. Groeneveld is a great example of someone who always manages to give people a spark of inspiration. Sometimes it's the small things, like a positive thought, a heartfelt compliment or just a big smile. In my case it's been all of that and more. When she recently asked me to join her company's Inspire925 advisory board, I gave back, and felt honoured to do so. When she later asked me to feature my corporate charity initiative in her new book "Inspired at Work" as one of the 15 cases for business engagement and innovation, I said yes again. Giving is reciprocal. And judging from Sunnie's example, giving inspiration to others means eventually getting it back with a multiplier.
Another beautiful gift is time, and as the saying goes, time is money. Giving away time, therefore means you are indirectly giving away wealth. As Guy reminded me in his talk, however, giving away wealth means you are compounding goodwill, which in turn means, we accumulate social capital.
Time is also part of just about every meaningful gift. I.e. it takes time to give, to make an introduction, to give feedback on an article, to support a friend on a difficult moment, to draft a business strategy together, to spend Sunday mornings at an orphanage, to talk on Skype with your brother.
When you give your time, there is a remarkable process, where better things come back to you that generate more value in your life.
With giving you get more value, both on a monetary and non-monetary basis. The value you get is always associated with what you value in life, so don't give up your values and don't give in to circumstances.
Giving is not an action, it's not a choice, it is not a process.
Giving is an attitude; it is heart, mind, and soul.
In giving, as in negotiations, it is all about people; that should not be misunderstood.
Today and any other day, give without giving in.
This article was originally published at LinkedIn for Giving Tuesday.

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