Generosity of Spirit
Generosity of spirit is something rare, precious and incredibly valuable, especially in the workplace. With limited time, a multitude of distractions and competing priorities all demanding attention, slowing down to acknowledge the needs of our colleagues can be a challenge. Being more “connected” than ever only adds to our separation from our peers. We are constantly checking our smart phones, rather than engaging in conversation or making eye contact. In this digital age, it’s crucial for us to maintain a spirit of kindness, and compassion for our fellow workers, in order for us to evolve professionally, and personally.
What is generosity of spirit? It’s being aware of the needs of others, despite your own pressing needs and demands. According to Bruna Martinuzzi, “Most people want to find meaning in their jobs – they want to feel that they are a part of something bigger and something better. They want to know that what they do matters.” Finding that meaning can come from being generous with others, especially customers, clients, and co-workers and this generosity can take many forms, including:
- Returning an email, even though it may be a hassle
- Looking the other way when a co-worker makes a mistake, instead of focusing on their error
- Sharing the spotlight, or allowing it to shine on others
- Communicating our challenges, so others feel safe enough to share their own
- Helping colleagues when you don’t have time, or don’t receive credit for it
Conversely, we sometimes need people to be a little bit generous with us as well. Whether we are struggling through a difficult time in our lives, or simply having a bad day, a few extra words or deeds of kindness can make all the difference. When you are on the giving end of this generosity, the best part is that little-to-no effort is truly needed to make a significant impact on someone else. If a co-worker backs my ideas, strives to understand my point of view, or even offers a compliment about an idea I’ve come up with, it can have the power to change my day.
When I first began writing, I rewrote and edited resumes for free. I loved seeing people take a fresh look at their work, and gauge their accomplishments through new eyes. I wasn’t experienced enough to charge, and my clients (read: friends) weren’t established enough to pay for a resume revision. So, I helped them with their resumes, and they helped and supported me in a myriad of ways, as friends often do.
Karma came back around for me, when I recently connected with a peer who offered to help me, with no strings attached and at no charge. She is the epitome of a generous spirit and has no qualms about helping a friend out with what would typically cost me hundreds of dollars to do myself. She holds the knowledge I need (and is so incredibly generous) that she is willing to bend over backwards, use her limited free time and guide me through a major project. I’m eternally grateful, and will never stop trying to find ways to help her.
This is what we are here for – to lend a hand to each other on our respective journeys. This supportive nurturing is so desperately needed in the office (rather than a fostered sense of competition and the cutthroat tactics that can prevail in many a workplace.) Let’s change things up, and strive towards a culture that is supportive and kind. No two paths are the same, and in order for us to amble along somewhat gracefully, we all need a little help along the way.