Giving Without Expectations

At 7:25 a.m. on February 2, 2018, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil the groundhog left his burrow only to see his shadow. Yep, according to the lore, that means we Americans get 6 more weeks of winter. This winter has been especially difficult for many, with a Winter Bomb Cyclone hitting the East coast in January, record-setting snowfall in Erie, PA., and snow far into the deep South, just to name a few of the crazy happenings. So why, Phil, would this be the year for you to see your shadow? Quite simply, Phil gives without any expectations.

The ramifications of Phil's Groundhog Day observation of his shadow or not are immaterial to Phil. He gives not to drive a certain result from those affected by his giving, but rather because it's just what he does - it's his purpose for waking from his slumber in early February. He either gives 6 more weeks of winter, or he gives us all an early reprieve of winter's grip, or least that's the fun story.

If only it were so easy to give without forethought to the effect. Often times we find (in retrospect at times) that our giving of something was not made without some kind of expectation. This is especially true during the Holiday season when, despite our intentions, we give a gift or we offer something tangible in exchange for something to be given by the other person. In family and office gatherings, we even call them gift exchanges.

What if we were to approach every giving situation by expecting absolutely nothing in return? It sounds simple, right? But really step back and assess your giving practices. I think most of us, if we're being honest, don't give in that way. If we do, it has to be a very overt thought process to devoid our minds of the expectation of something in return. That's hard! Even still, putting your mind to work to think of giving differently is a great first step to enacting this rewarding manner of engagement.

In that spirit, 12five made Giving without Expectations it's focus this December. In particular, we did two things: 1) We adopted a local family in Chicago to provide holiday gifts. We did this as a company, splitting the wish list amongst our team members to pick, purchase, and deliver these gifts. 2) Our sales team made giving their focus for a team competition. Normally sales contests are driven by most leads, most closed new deals, largest volume of new business, etc. While those are good measures, giving referrals with no expectations of a referral back really turns the idea of a referral relationship on it's head.

Now to the cool part: When you give without expectations, the rewards are profound! Just this week the family that received our gifts sent us the most amazing card to say thank you. The card was filled, front, back, and middle, with an impassioned message of deep gratitude and love from our giving. One part of the card read, "You inspired my children and gave us hope". Another part read simply, "Blessed are those who choose to give."

The 12five family makes giving without expecting a priority. There are simple ways to give that aren't necessarily top of mind. One great example as a lender is for us to tell a client that we believe in their potential. Another could be to put our phone in your pocket, close our computer or tablet, and give the person we're talking to our full attention. A final great example as a lender, is to forgive someone who's done us wrong. There are many other great ways to give, but it has to start with a mindset shift.

So today, we thank Punxsutawney Phil for giving us an answer. We may not like his answer from year to year, but he is giving it to us freely. From there we can accept his gift and look to extend the gift of giving, without expectations, to all those we encounter.

Liz WhittenComment