The Law of Reciprocity 2.0: Better Sharing

People ask me about technology all the time but more and more I find myself reiterating the idea that behind every piece of technology there is a person, a human, a user, or as we call them in business a customer. We use technology to improve the relationship we have with that person, user or customer. We use the technology to show them that we know them better than others, that we can serve and support them better. That we will help them grow. We help others and by doing so we engage in that age old law of reciprocity where that person or customer will do something for us in return. Perhaps they will provide us with an endorsement, or cash payment for services rendered. As entrepreneurs we come up with creative ways to keep the law of reciprocity going strong and benefitting us to help us achieve our goals. We generally call that our “business model”. Something about me though never quite fit that mold. I simply am not aroused by the money or the fame. What can I say, “fast cars and bitches just don’t excite me”. What gives me chills however is seeing others turn “on”. Watching the lightbulb alight over the mind of a would be inventor. Watching someone initiate a journey leading to their passion. It’s the greatest high I can afford, and best of all, it’s free! It’s so wonderful in fact I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how I can get more of it. How does one get more of what money can’t buy?

I’ve always liked helping people, even since I was a kid. To add nuance to that I deplore the sinking feeling of letting others down, or potentially harming someone (even if just their feelings). I realize now that it was an early sign of my innate desire to engage people’s passions in a positive way. I’m not a techie (well I am, but I am not), I’m an enabler. Always have been. Got a problem? I want to help you solve it. I want to enable YOU to solve it. I want you to feel the empowerment and excitement of moving forward. I love growth and progress. It excites me. It’s the process of self actualization being activated that entices me. This experience is part of what makes facebook, twitter and pinterest so fun. The instant gratification you get from knowing you contributed to someone’s enjoyment as indicated by their “like”, “favorite” or “re-pin” etc. You engaged someone’s passion albeit in a small way, you engaged it for a moment and it made them feel… something. It made them feel something powerful enough to take action (even if just to click like).

I’ll share a secret with you. I feel uncomfortable when people thank me. I am starting to understand why. I see others thanking me as them buying into some idea that they owe me something. To that effect I am probably the least entitled person with a sense of entitlement you’ll ever meet. If I did something for you it was not with the intent of getting anything in return, I am not waiting for the thank you. I am waiting to see you succeed. I am waiting to see what you will do as a result of my investment in you. That is my reward! Did I enable you or not? What did I enable you to do? How did it contribute to your success? You are my reward. My reward is your success. But I am starting to realize that I ought to desire more than that… I ought to desire some reciprocity. But what kind?

Reciprocity Took

For the last year I’ve been very focused on the element of community building, culture transformation and engaging people to do powerful things. My experiences with mentoring have given me great satisfaction, excitement, and I am anticipating in those I’ve mentored not only their success, but also the success that they will foster in others. That is when I began to realize that my “thank you” truly lies in the “Law of Reciprocity 2.0″. It’s not just give and take for me, it’s giving the gift that keeps giving. It’s the creation of the domino effect. If I help you and you pay it forward (and it helps someone else as a result) it is greater than any “thank you”. This article got me thinking today about not only ‘why you shouldn’t say “you’re welcome”‘, but also why I don’t want to hear “thank you”. It wasn’t me who helped you, if “I” helped you it was really the hundreds of hands who helped shape me who helped you. You should thank them. The only way you can thank them is by following “The Law of Reciprocity 2.0″ to pay it forward. Help someone else. That’s what family, community and humanity is all about. It’s the best way to say “thank you”.

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