Time, Attention, Patience and Other Gifts

In a recent post, I encouraged everyone to be more generous. Generosity is not just a way to make the world a better place, it’s also the best way to build strong business relationships. Generosity is defined by sharing scarce resources, and almost no resources are more scarce than time and attention.

Jason Harris is the author of Soulful Persuasion: The 11 Habits that will Make Anyone a Master Influencer.  His mission is to help people be more persuasive by being more authentic, generous, and soulful. Because busy-ness is an epidemic, we all tend to value time spent as precious. Harris makes it a priority to give attention when and however he can. “Time one of the most valuable assets I have. And not just any time, but the kind of time that comes with attention and genuine patience. For me, being generous with my time means that whenever someone I know asks for some of it, my default answer is going to be yes… If my presence and attention can help in even the smallest way, I want to be there.”

But being busy is the excuse most people make for not having time to take a call, take a meeting, or take a minute to help. Maybe it’s true for you, too. So maybe some of these other ways to practice generosity will be a better fit.

Be generous with your words. Words of appreciation can be powerful in any relationship, and they cost us nothing. Did you appreciate someone’s post or the article they shared? Let them know. Take the time to congratulate someone on a successful project, new job, or promotion. Let them know what you think. Most of us, especially over the past year, have felt more isolated and less visible. Your words send a powerful signal that you see someone and you value their efforts.

Be generous with your influence. Malcolm Gladwell writes about Connectors is his book The Tipping Point. “Connectors make change happen through people. They galvanize people. They’re natural hubs. That’s just the way they’re oriented to the world. These are people who, every time you ask a question, start flipping a Rolodex in the back of their mind, saying, “Who do I know who knows this? Who do I know who has done this? Who do I know that I need to connect you with?” No matter who you are, you have the power to connect people who can benefit each other. This is a great way to provide value, and one that’s especially important right now.

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