Are you an energy giver?
I recently reconnected with an old friend. He and I both "did time" on staff at the same church years ago. We have lots of mutual friends and he knew my whole family. We spent about 2 hours over coffee catching up and telling war-stories of the "good old days." Toward the end of our conversation he said, "Andy, there are two kinds of people in this world, energy giver and energy takers." He went on to tell me that whenever he interacted with my parents or my in-laws they were always "energy givers."
I thought the comment was interesting. I was encouraged and I thanked him. As I drove away from that meeting, I began to think more about those words. He was absolutely right. There are two kinds of people - energy givers and energy takers. There are certain people that just lift our spirits and make life better when we are around them. While others seem to suck the life right out of us. You can probably name individuals in both categories without much thinking.
So, here's the question, "Are you and energy giver or and energy taker?" I've outlined 3 traits of an energy giver that MUST be present in your life to be considered and "energy giver."
1. You must smile. It sounds silly but we all know the power of facial expression and body language. When you walk around with a scowl on your face you send a message that you are sad or angry or depressed and people generally see a burden coming. Simply smiling a lot sends a signal to people that you have something to offer them. Smiling looks encouraging and everyone wants encouragement. By the way, this is especially true in marriage and with your children. Give your family your biggest and most genuine smiles!
2. You must believe the best first. Believing the best is how we import hope into relationships. Nobody is perfect and we all know it. When someone believes the best about us, they communicate that we are better than our failures and shortcomings. It communicates that we are valuable even though we aren't perfect. Believing the best also disarms unnecessary tension. If you start the conversation by saying, "how could you have been so stupid…" don't expect a great outcome! Consider saying, "talk me through the decision so I can understand…" It's easy to be critical first, however it is rarely productive. Who knows if you believe the best first you may actually discover the best along the way.
3. You must lift more burden than you leave. Relationships are always an energy exchange. Every person you meet will either leave a burden or lift a burden or some combination of the two. If you want to be an energy giver, lift more burden than you leave. Sometimes we are simply not in a state of being where this is possible. This happens when we face major hardships or tragedies. We end up being unable to lift any burden. This is understandable as the exception in life, however if leaving burdens on people is the daily pattern of your life something is terribly wrong. Energy givers seek to lift more burden than they leave. This happens through encouraging words, thoughtful gestures and proactive solutions.
Your spouse, children, friends and co-workers will be truly blessed if you practice these three simple traits of an energy giver. Give it a try and share these principles with a friend!