The Rewards of Giving Freely

Feb 8, 2024

While it may initially seem counterintuitive to invest your time and expertise without getting something in return, by giving freely you are sowing the seeds for your own future success. Helping others solidifies your position in your network as a trusted person, positively impacts your reputation, fosters reciprocity and even makes you luckier.

That’s already a lot of upside without mentioning the warm and fuzzy feelings you get when you know you’ve done a good deed.

Let’s dive into how this all works.

Helping Others Establishes Trust

Trust in relationships is the confidence and belief that the other person is dependable, honest, and has your best interests at heart. It’s a fundamental component of social capital as it establishes a sense of reliability and dependability among individuals and it leads to more cooperative and mutually beneficial interactions.

Giving freely establishes a bond of trust with the person you help which also spreads to your broader network. There are three main reasons behind this:

  1. By demonstrating a willingness to invest time and effort for someone else's benefit, you become a reliable and dependable ally.

  2. When giving, you are often displaying your expertise, contributing to your perceived credibility around the topics you care about.

  3. Acts of assistance demonstrate empathy and an understanding for others, thereby forging a stronger emotional connection.

Whether with a new acquaintance or a long-time friend, extending a helping hand creates an instant layer of trust, a foundational element for both initiating new relationships and nurturing existing ones.

It Contributes to Your Positive Reputation

The impact of trust-building extends beyond individual relationships. As you continue to build trust with one person, you create a chain of trust. Those you assist are more likely to vouch for your reliability and recommend you to others, thereby unlocking doors to new opportunities, referrals, and insights across a broader network, consequently enhancing your reputation.

The foundations of reputation lies in your actions and the perceptions others hold of you. Genuine acts of kindness contribute significantly to building a positive and lasting reputation. This positive reputation can even translate into tangible benefits for your organization, fostering increased customer loyalty and providing competitive advantages.

It Leads to Virtuous Cycles of Cooperation

When you help others, there is often an implicit or explicit expectation of reciprocity.

Wayne Baker's research suggests that people are inherently motivated to help without expecting immediate returns. Those you assist will be more willing to help you as well as pay it forward by assisting others in the future, thus creating a chain of trust with far-reaching ripple effects. This motivation is driven by an understanding that it all balances out over time.

Baker's findings reveal a threefold impact:

  • Those you assist become more willing to reciprocate when you require help in the future.

  • Their heightened gratitude increases the likelihood of them "paying it forward" and assisting others.

  • Your acts of assistance become noticed by others, boosting their own helping behavior. This is called “rewarding reputation”.

Helping others is contagious and eventually leads to a virtuous cycle of cooperation that benefits everyone involved.

You’ll Increase Your Chances of Luck

Helping others makes you luckier! Every person you assist becomes a unique entry point to diverse experiences, perspectives, and potential opportunities. Luck even increases with more surface area—you meet more people, make more connections between new ideas, learn patterns, all increasing your odds of success. Luck can be an abstract concept - just trust that through giving freely you are building a stronger network that might just bring lucky opportunities in the future.

So go out there and give first. Help where you can, where you are uniquely positioned to do so. Observe how trust solidifies within your network, witness your elevated reputation, and notice how others are inspired by your acts of kindness. Even though there might not be a direct reward, it will make a difference - in someone else’s life and your own.

Next to giving freely, an important skill to master is making thoughtful requests to articulate your needs. In a forthcoming article, we will delve into the importance of asking for help and provide insights on how to navigate this crucial aspect of human interaction. Join our waitlist now and start networking the right way soon.

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