HOW TO RECEIVE A GIFT WITH GRACE
Do this or the giver will feel rejected.
When you receive a gift, really receive it; it is a sign of gratitude and respect to the giver.
In fact, receiving a gift with grace IS receiving the giver.
“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
— Albert Einstein
One day, after a long morning at the beach, I went to start my car only to realize I had run out of gas.
I headed down the street toward the nearest gas station and asked the attendant if he had a gas can I could borrow. Before he could answer, the stranger in line behind me spoke up and said that he had a full gas can in his van that I could use.
At that moment I’d been offered a gift.
I needed help, and a stranger had come to my rescue.
But I wanted to say no.
In a split second, a million reasons I didn’t want this stranger’s help passed through my mind.
I told myself I could do it on my own, that I didn’t want to inconvenience him, that it would be awkward to receive help from a stranger. However, I reminded myself of the power of receiving, and told myself to give it a go.
I thanked the stranger over and over while apologizing profusely for the inconvenience.
To add to my already heightened feelings of awkwardness, it turned out that he was originally headed in the opposite direction. The stranger, however, was unaffected by this revelation and still cheerfully insisted on driving me back to my car.
When I climbed into his van and looked around, two things were immediately evident:
- The man was a struggling landscaper.
- He loved to fish.
Rusty landscaping equipment, dozens of old fishing poles, and the strong aroma of dead fish filled the back of the van.
He told me that he and his coworker had just finished fishing and were now headed to a job. When I asked about his work, he explained how he’d recently lost a lot of income but was optimistic.
“I’ll never be rich,” he said, with bright, happy eyes, “but it gets me by.”
He took me to my car, and I humbly put this stranger’s gas into my tank.
But my car was parked at a very steep angle, so even the amount of gas from the full gas can wasn’t enough.
The car still wouldn’t start.
I felt horrible.
I was so embarrassed to be further inconveniencing this nice stranger.
Again, he was unaffected; in fact, the stranger was genuinely happy to help.
On our way back to the gas station, I noticed that his empty light was on.
I was surprised he hadn’t run out of gas trying to help me!
It suddenly occurred to me: this stranger wasn’t at the gas station to fill up his van — he didn’t have enough money to do that — he was there to fill up the gas can for his landscaping equipment . . . the very gas can he had so generously offered to me.
As I finished filling the small gas can, I then turned to the stranger and I offered him a gift.
“I want to put some gas in your van,” I said.
He shook his head no.
“Karma,” he smiled.
“It always comes back to help me. That’s how I’ve gotten by all these years.”
He continued adamantly,
“I didn’t help you to profit.”
I understood his feelings, but believing that karmic law was surely reciprocating his kindness right here and now, I insisted and filled up his van.
This stranger’s gift to me had been returned to him tenfold — unexpectedly and immediately.
1. RECOGNIZE THE GIFT, THE GIVER AND THE GIFTED
Who was the giver?
Who was the receiver?
What was the gift?
The gift from the landscaper was much more than just gas — it was selfless concern for me.
This man had selflessly done for me what I could not have done for myself, and in turn, I was eager to do for him what he could not have done for himself.
Our roles had reversed, and we both became receivers that day.
I drove away from that experience feeling happy, thankful and inspired, and I know my new friend did too.
When we graciously receive from others, everyone wins.
Maybe not in such immediate or obvious ways, but our willingness to receive from another blesses both the giver and the receiver.
2. GET OPEN TO RECIEVE
In football, one of the most important positions is the receiver.
In the 1975–76 division playoff game, the Dallas Cowboys were down 14 to 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.
With only twenty-four seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach threw a desperation long-bomb pass from midfield to wide receiver Drew Pearson, who caught it on the five-yard line and ran into the end zone to seal their victory.
Staubach said that when he threw the ball to Pearson,
“I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”
When the ball came to Pearson, he got open and barely caught the ball by trapping it against his right hip.
It was a difficult catch, but Pearson hung on, ran with it, and scored.
It was this play that coined the term “a Hail Mary pass,” and it has since become one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
On occasion, I am fascinated by my own propensity toward turning down gifts.
When things (or opportunities) that I need, want, and/or have been secretly (or openly) hoping for arrive in my life, I often have to fight the urge to immediately turn them away.
After much introspection, I’ve realized something about myself: no matter how badly I want or need the gift, I am often unhappy or uncomfortable with the way it is delivered.
I tend to become overrun with pride, embarrassment, or discomfort that keeps me from accepting what I have been offered — even if the gift is the very thing or assistance I most want and need in my life.
Just like the football analogy, it’s not always easy to get open enough to receive the things, the help, or the advice that we need.
There are a million things that get in our way, and pride is at the root of many of them.
If we are serious about success, however, we must overcome our qualms with the method of delivery, we must overcome the discomfort we feel, sometimes by swallowing our pride, and we must graciously receive the opportunities that are offered to us.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
— Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist
In order to receive, we must get open.
3. INTERNALIZE ACCEPTING VS. RECEIVING (TRANSACTION VS. TRANSFORMATION)
I have given my children countless toys that they’ve never really used — or toys they have used once or twice and then discarded deep in the abyss of their toy closet, never to been seen or heard from again.
Then I’ll hear,
“Daad, I’m boored. There’s nothing to plaaaaay with.”
I just shake my head as I think of the closets in each of their rooms, filled with the ability to turn any regular old Saturday afternoon into Christmas morning.
Did my kids really receive those gifts?
Or did they just get them, did they just accept them?
4. SEE GIFTS AS OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK BY RECEIVING GRACEFULLY
Often times, even daily, we are offered gifts in the form of opportunity.
Do we recognize them as such?
And do we really receive them when they show up in our lives?
When you are offered a gift, you essentially have three choices:
When you are offered a gift and you reject it, you are slamming the door on your potential for future success. You are essentially saying that you want your pride more than you want your dreams.
When you are offered a gift and you accept it, but then simply set it on the shelf, that is not receiving. That is getting, and it is selfish and one-sided (and often prideful as well).
To truly receive, you must take the gift and run with it — achieve your goals, make your project succeed, seal the victory!
Can you imagine how history would have changed for the Cowboys if Pearson hadn’t been able to get open?
Or if he had gotten open, but then dropped the ball?
The Cowboys certainly wouldn’t have gone on to play in the Super Bowl that year, nor would they have become the first NFC wild-card team in history to do so.
Pearson received that pass, held it tight, ran, and scored!
That’s the power of receiving.
So when the ball comes your way, don’t run away from it.
Accepting a gift is a transaction.
Receiving a gift means you run with it and score.
5. RECEIVE A GIFT WELL AND YOU’LL GIVE THE GIVER A GIFT IN RETURN, IMMEDIATELY
Receiving — genuinely receiving — is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give to the giver.
If you’re like me and your pride sometimes gets in the way of allowing yourself to receive, if you feel selfish, awkward, or downright uncomfortable, remember, you and the giver are on the same team. In the same way Staubach was cheering for Pearson and eagerly anticipating his success, the giver is the one passing you the ball.
Givers want you to receive it, run with it, and score!
When you receive a gift, really receive it; it is a sign of gratitude and respect to the giver.
In essence, when you receive the gift, you also receive the giver.
They receive the blessing of watching you run and score, and they have the wonderful satisfaction of knowing that they contributed in some small (or large) way to your success. The “R” in START could have been “Receive from others.” But it’s not. It’s “Receive others.” When people offer you a gift, you’re not just receiving a product, a service, or a leg up — you’re receiving the giver, and they in turn are receiving you.
Make this your motto: Receive and be received. Significant, lasting connections are made when the giver and the receiver graciously, respectfully and simultaneously receive each other. Receiving is often much harderthan giving, but when you allow others to serve you, you’ll both become edified together.
6. BE THE GOOD RECEIVER
What do people do when they can’t get good reception on the radio?
They adjust the antenna or station until the sound comes in strong and clear.
If they can’t find good reception, they’ll simply change the station.
If your humility, authenticity, and sincere connection to your dreams isn’t coming in strong and clear by being a good receiver, the gifts that are available to you are going to move on to the next station with a strong receiving signal.
Don’t let that happen to you.
- Receive gratefully. Return a warm reception and offer sincere appreciation to the giver.
- Receive graciously. Show dignity, esteem, and respect for the giver, no matter the gift.
- Receive gracefully. Be humble by recognizing and remembering that it was by another’s hand (not your own) that you received.
The next time a gift is offered to you, be a good receiver.
WILL YOU RECEIVE MY GIFT?
SOME MAY SAY IT’S A HAIL MARY PASS.
I hope you catch this ball I’m throwing out into the world and run with it. I don’t know you. I hope to know you. If we never meet, take this gift and make a difference.
ONE TIME FREE OFFER FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
MY ONLINE COURSE THAT I SELL FOR $2,000 IS YOURS FREE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU AND IT’S THE END OF THE YEAR
I’m taking this massively valuable freebie down and selling it again soon at my discretion. Maybe even this weekend.
It’s almost the end of 2017. I’ll change this call to action soon. For now, I’d like to reward those of you who have been reading and sharing my stuff this year.
THANK YOU! Means the world.
I wrote a bestselling book called The Power of Starting Something Stupid. It’s endorsed by cool people like Steve Forbes, Stephen M. R. Covey, Jack Canfield, Michael Gerber, Brian Tracy, etc. So grateful to them. It’s in like 10 languages or something cool like that now.
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