“Why are you being so generous with a total stranger?” asked the young entrepreneur sitting next to me on a recent flight. Once he found out I owned a similar business, his questions became very strategic and somewhat personal. After spending the best part of two hours giving him an “MBA” crash course, as the business man on the other side labeled our exchange, I gave him my information in case he had more questions. He was bewildered with my apparent generosity in sharing some of my businesses practices and lessons. The big question was still looming: why would I share business practices with a potential competitor?
My response was simple but not simplistic. In all my years, I always receive more in return than I give away. It doesn’t mean I’m ready to give valuable consulting for free or undercharge for my company’s services. But every time I have felt compelled to help someone who seemingly did not have a way to reciprocate, I have been blessed for it.
It’s counter intuitive, specially in the business world, and counter cultural, but it has somehow worked for me.
From time to time we are all faced with an opportunity to share, mentor, bless someone who needs our help. If you’re like me, you’re already over committed and the last thing you need is spend time with someone new that might not have a way to ever repay your generosity. I want to ask you to consider pouring some of your time, knowledge and even resources into that person. I believe you’ll be better off for it. I really do.
What’s your experience with those in your field that are ahead of where you are?