Tony Akel was the Dean of the School of Business at Long Island University in the eighties. He recruited me to join the faculty there and I was chairman of the marketing department for many years. He became a good friend and mentor.
We were at a formal party soon after I joined LIU, and I noticed him wearing a colorful tie. I complimented him and he said “Thank you”. I like neckwear in radiant hues, so I persisted. I asked him where he got the tie. It was a gift. I asked him if it would be too much trouble to ask the person who gave him that gift where they bought it.
A week later there was a box in my office. It was that tie, freshly dry-cleaned, with a friendly note from him.
Tony was being ‘giveful’.
This is a term introduced to me by Pat Shea. Pat is an alumnus of my course, Creativity and Personal Mastery, and a partner in Shea Advisory Services.
Here is how Pat describes ‘being giveful’ in her TEDx talk:
“What is Being Giveful? First, ‘Giveful’ is an old English word that means “Filled with a giving heart.” For me, Being Giveful is the currency of our souls. It is how we care for and communicate with each other all the time.
My definition of Being Giveful as a personal wellness practice – Being Giveful is the ‘continuous, conscious & creative practice of giving to others while being open to receiving.
It is ‘continuous’ because it elevates giving and receiving into a way of being. You don’t give – you are Being Giveful.
It is ‘conscious’ because it invites you to be present and proactive – giving when you see the opportunities—and understanding your unique gifts and how to share them in ways that excite you.
Being Giveful is ‘creative’ because it allows you to innovate on how and what you give. It can be just a greeting – just seeing someone. Or it could be your wisdom, influence, or connections.
Yes, giving money is one way to Be Giveful. But it is far from only one way.
And finally – and this is so important – Being Giveful includes receiving. Receiving is the Yin to the Yang of giving. They are entirely interconnected. Being Giveful requires you to be open to all the gifts from your giving, universe, or God.”
And this is such a wonderful way to journey through life. Be alert to opportunities where you can give. It does not have to be money or material stuff. It can be a kind word. It can be paying undivided attention to your friend’s tale of woe. It can even be accepting an offer of help from someone. That acceptance could make someone feel better about themselves.
So now you know. How about resolving to be ‘giveful’ for a month?
Let me know how it goes.