Be Generous

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

Interpersonally competent people build and nurture strong relationships with the people in their lives.  I have often said that one way of building and nurturing strong relationships is to give with no expectation of return.  Yesterday, I got a nice reminder of how this works.

My new book “Straight Talk for Success” is out.  I am planning a big launch campaign for April 22.  I am hoping to entice enough people to buy “Straight Talk” on that one day to drive it to the top of the best seller list.  I hope that you’ll help me out by purchasing a copy on April 22.  I’ll remind you when the time comes.

A few months ago, I settled on April 22 as my launch date; mostly because the timing was right.  When I turned the page on my calendar on Tuesday, I saw that April 22 happens to be Earth Day.  I can remember participating in teach ins at Penn State on the very first Earth Day in 1970.

I decided that there was some karma involved here.  Since I had chosen April 22 a few months ago without knowing it was Earth Day, it would be nice for me to make a symbolic gesture and donate 10% of my net proceeds from book sales that day to an organization who supports the environment.  I knew the perfect one.

I am a member of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, an apolitical environmental organization.  Their mission is to “motivate and enable citizens to be active stewards of Colorado’s public lands, thereby creating enthusiastic and beneficial stewardship of Colorado’s natural and cultural resources.”   They are my favorite environment related non profit.  They do great work.  I am happy to help them out by donating a part of the money I hope to make on books sales on April 22. 

I called Ann Baker Easley, VOC Executive Director, and told her what I had in mind.  I was expecting a “thank you”.  I got that, and much more.  Ann put me in touch with Piep van Heuven, VOC Deputy Director of Development and Communication.  Piep said that she would include a message about my book launch in their upcoming newsletter, and send an e mail to their membership on April 22 asking them to purchase a copy of “Straight Talk”.

What started off as a philanthropic endeavor on my part, turned into a partnership.  And, it proved my point about giving with no expectation of return.  I approached VOC thinking that I could help them by making a small contribution.  They embraced my idea, and took it one step further.  So now, we are partners.  I think this is great.

This doesn’t always work.  Recently, I participated in a book launch campaign for another author.  When I asked him to return the favor, I got an e mail saying “I’m not participating in any book launch promotions just now. I’m laser focused on my internet/Facebook business.”   In other words, “kiss off, Bud.”  But that’s OK.  I helped him with his successful launch, and many other people – some very unexpected — are helping me with mine.  In my experience, for every experience where my help is not reciprocated, there are two or three more like my experience with Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado.

The common sense point here is clear.  Interpersonally competent people build and nurture strong relationships with the people in their lives.  One way they do this is by giving with no expectation of return.  Often, when you give with no expectation of return, you’ll be surprised by what comes back to you.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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