I know I have ‘arrived’… someplace at any rate because I have been able to start ‘giving back’.
Contrary to popular belief, ‘giving back’ does not necessarily mean you have to go out looking for ways to do it, as though you ‘should’ give back.
You give back when you have something to give back.
As a coach I know says, ‘you can’t give from emptiness or wanting. You give from excess.’
You can’t ‘give back’ to get anything in return. Be clear about your intentions. If on any level you’re giving back’ as a strategy to get something for free that you could pay for, then by definition, you’re still wanting. In that instance, you should really be bartering.
The form ‘giving back’ has taken for me is that young coaches are coming out of the woodwork now, asking me for advice. I make a point of saying yes to them because I remember how helpful and important that kind of advice was to me.
I also make a point of having boundaries around giving back.
If you value your time, you are not blind to the cost of giving it to someone else. You are cognizant of budgeting. This is not stinginess. This is what allows you to keep giving back.
It is my policy to council a young coach who may approach me to ‘pick my brain’ for up to 45 minutes, once. After that they have to pay me a consulting fee, unless they’re willing to become a client.
I believe that mentorship can fall under the category of coaching. It is not pure coaching, but can be part of the coaching relationship if what someone approaches me specifically for is knowledge that I have attained through my experience.
It feels wrong not to give back when you can. Infact, I believe withholding under conditions of excess is a sign of unhappiness. If you’re not sure what the case is for you, that is a perfect topic for coaching. At the very least, you may need a sounding board to hear whether you’re being honest with yourself in terms of you motive and capacity to give back.
For example, you are ready to give back if you are rich in spare time, but be aware whether that ‘spare time’ is not simply avoidance of something. Or if money to survive is not an issue for you. (It should be obvious that if you’re often in the position of having to decide between paying for one necessity over another, then money is still an issue. In this instance, giving back becomes an exercise in martyrdom.)
You may be great at delivering meals, making donations, talking to people who’ve been where you are. You may have the capacity to listen, and bear witness to someone else’s pain. Often that is the greatest gift there is.
In summary, if you’d like to give back, I suggest you figure out what you have more than enough of, in what area you may have reached a state of prosperity and expertise, and then figure out a give-back-budget that won’t tap you out.