Are you a Giver or a Taker (Part II)

Part II…

To read Part I, CLICK HERE.

The only thing that kept me from running out of the room during the conclusion of the Giver and Taker exercise was knowing that the small groups would be getting together in a few minutes to process this experience. As much as I wanted to leave, I felt compelled to hear from my own teammates why they gave me the Taker scores. I just needed to know. Besides, as I saw it, I was already at rock bottom on the humiliation scale, so the only place left to go was up!

up

The Defining Moment

With my tail between my legs, I headed over to Breakout Room B where my group was assembling. I could hear loud talking and laughter as I entered, which surprised me a bit. I’m so glad they are having such a good time at my expense, I selfishly thought, as I took a seat around the conference table.

The topic of conversation quickly shifted over to the exercise as group members began sharing their experiences. The energy in the room was booming, making my sullen disposition stand out even more. Truthfully, I’ve never been very good at masking my feelings and this was no exception. I was confused, shook up, and a little angry with the group.

Suddenly the room became quiet…too quiet. I slowly looked up only to see five pairs of concerned eyes looking right at me.

“Are you okay?” asked Kathy.

“Not really.”

“What’s going on?” she asked softly.

The rest of the group leaned in to hear my response.

“I was humiliated out there…that’s what!” I said. “Everybody, including each of you, called me a Taker.”

 Business People Sitting Around Table

Jack jumped in. “Greg, I don’t think you are a Taker. In fact, I know you’re not.”

“Then why did you say Taker?” I asked.

“It had nothing to do with who you are. It was all about how you were showing up in the moment.”

I was confused. “What moment?”

“The moment when I was standing in front of you. That moment.”

Heads were nodding around the table.

Jack continued. “Dude, you looked scared sitting there in that chair, like you were expecting something bad to happen. Do you know what I mean?” he asked.

Before I could respond, Janice stepped into the conversation. “For me it was based on how I was feeling in your presence…and truthfully I was having trouble connecting to you. Believe me, I wanted to say Giver so bad, but I wasn’t feeling it.”

“What was I doing that said Taker?” I asked.

“It was what you weren’t doing,” replied Tom, another member. “The people that were smiling and radiating love while sitting there were the people who got Giver scores from me. When I got to you,” as he paused to search for the right words, “I didn’t get anything back. I don’t know if that makes any sense but you weren’t giving anything. It was like you were taking…”

Just then it all became crystal clear. I jumped up.  “I get it! You weren’t judging me as a person but responding to how I was coming across in that moment.”

The group simultaneously agreed. “Exactly.”

I could feel a surge of energy engulf me. “So instead of embracing the moment and welcoming each person that stood in front of me, I braced myself for whatever judgment was about to come my way.”

“Yes, yes, yes!” yelled Jack. “You got it!”

I was smiling now as I looked at the group. “This was powerful. Thank you!”

“Say more?” asked Kathy. “What was powerful?”

“The insight I just got about myself.” I replied. “You see, I’ve been responding and reacting to life instead of embracing it. Just like in that exercise, I’ve been wearing a shield to protect myself.”

My voice started to crack as my emotions took over. “I didn’t realize it…until now.”

“So what are you going to do differently?” asked Janice.

“I’m going to embrace life. I’m going to focus on being more in the moment. I’m going to be present with people.”

As I glanced around the room, I could see I had opened a floodgate of emotions within the group. Tears began to flow as each member talked about their own life struggles. It was of those rare moments in time when you could literally feel the love in the room echoing off the walls.

hug

“I told you,” said Jack, as we embraced shortly thereafter on our way out of the room.

“You told me what?”

“That you were a Giver. You made that happen,” as he pointed over to Breakout Room B.

I smiled. That’s right. I am a Giver!

-Geese

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