Today I want to focus on something that is a huge part of the Christmas season – Giving.
There is no time of year that we consider the concept of giving more than this time of year. You will give and receive physical gifts this holiday season.
But the greatest gifts of all are not physical. They are gifts of the heart, soul, and spirit. They are gifts that we willingly give others with no ulterior motive other than the joy that the giving of the gift will bring.
One of the greatest gifts we give is the gift of giving something of ourselves to others. We give of ourselves to others by being there for them in any way they need us at any given time.
Most of the time, the people we are giving these gifts to are loved ones. They are family members, spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances. These are people who we are grateful for having in our lives.
And so, we give ourselves to them because we want them to feel better, and we want to show them how much we appreciate them.
For coaches, teachers, and leaders, while we, too, give ourselves to our family and friends, we have other people to whom we need to give ourselves, as well. Those would be our players, students, and the people we lead.
These people make our professional lives what they are. They are critical to the experience and our success.
We must make sure that we are giving ourselves to the people we lead. We need to do everything possible to give all that we can to make their experience the best it can be.
There are a lot of things that we can give to help them accomplish that, and they are of varying degrees of importance and impact. Just a few of the things we can give to our team members are love, respect, caring, time, and attention.
The beauty of each one of these gifts is that we can all give them. They require no special currency, no large amount of money to be able to purchase them. They just require us to decide we want to give them and then start doing so.
If you are already giving these to your team members, thank you. I’m sure they are grateful to you that you would think of them in such a way that you felt it important to give of yourself in this way to them.
When we receive gifts like love, respect, and caring from others, we feel loved, respected, and cared for. We then see the importance of these things, and we often turn around and give them to others, too.
This is one of the greatest element of these gifts – the contagious nature that they have and that they create in others. The more we receive them, the more we want of them, but also the more we want to give them away. The more we give them away, the better off the people are to whom we give them. But also, as they in turn give those gifts away, too, the better off many others are as well.
There is an old Seinfeld episode that brought into our vernacular the term “re-gifting.” It dealt with the concept of people receiving a gift that they don’t like, so they turn around and give it away to someone else. While the episode was very funny, the idea of re-gifting in that show carried with it a negative connotation.
However, when it comes to the gifts of love, respect, caring, time, and attention, re-gifting is one of the most positive things you can do.
When you receive the gift of love from someone, it brightens your life. It makes every day that much better.
The best thing you can do is to give that gift back to the person who gave it to you and then turn around and give it to someone else, or better yet, many other people.
These are the gifts we need to be giving to our athletes, students, and those we lead in any endeavor.
The more we give them our love and respect, the better our relationships will be. As we give them these gifts, hopefully, they will see the power and the impact of those gifts on them and want to turn around and give them to their teammates as well.
Imagine a team filled with this kind of giving spirit. This spirit can cause incredible growth and positive impact on all who feel it. This spirit can carry a team to new heights of bonding, camaraderie, and success.
The more teammates know that they are each loved and cared for by one another, the more they will trust one another. The more trust a team develops, the better chance is it has to become the best it is capable of becoming.
Be a Catalyst
This type of giving spirit doesn’t just happen, though. It starts with a catalyst, an agent of change that brings that spirit to the team.
If you are a coach, that catalyst should be you. Your players are taking their cues from you as to how this team is supposed to be, how it is supposed to act.
If you give of yourself to your team, you offer them a chance to feed off of your giving spirit and start giving of themselves, too. This is when you can really create the atmosphere and culture that you seek.
Can it be done without you? Absolutely.
The beauty of a giving spirit is that anyone can have it, anyone can start it, and anyone can take up the cause. Great spirits of giving can happen simply by having the constituents in a group develop it on their own and start spreading it around their team.
But it is so much better when the spirit of giving comes from the leadership of the team.
It is so much better when those who lead are the ones demonstrating the importance of giving of themselves to their team members.
It is so much better when team members see their leaders not as people above them presiding over everything and not wanting to work side-by-side with them, but as members of the team willing to give everything they have to others and to the endeavor.
These are the best examples of a giving spirit on teams—when leaders and team members come together in the spirit of giving and give all they have to help everyone on the team succeed and have a better experience.
It is in this spirit when teams really start to become the best they can be.
Make sure you are giving all that you can to your teams, not just at this time of year, but throughout the year.
Don’t wait for a holiday or for someone else to start the giving spirit on your team. Be the leader who gives the most and watch your people return the favor by giving of themselves to everyone involved in the endeavor.
May the spirit of this holiday season give you the gifts you desire, and may it help you to give those same types of gifts to all of the people in your lives who mean so much to you.
Merry Christmas and have a great holiday season!