How to be a Fierce Giver?

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How to be a Fierce Giver? — Carolyn Mahboubi Coaching

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In last week’s article, I shared my learnings about making money. I’m not a financial advisor or a money expert, so I chose to go upstream and address the three areas that I am an expert in:

  1. Shining a light on false and unhelpful beliefs.
  2. Simplifying life principles.
  3. Sharing useful steps to achieve our goals.

I also left you with a question to explore. The question was, “How can we practice serving rather than selling without being taken advantage of?”

The answer lies in understanding the distinction between giving fiercely and  giving selflessly. One of these behaviors leads to creating more prosperity, not only financially, and the other leads to endless hustle, resentment and disappointment.

Adam Grant in his book, “Give and Take”, explains that we all have the tendency to fall into one of the following 3 categories: 

  • Givers
  • Takers and
  • Matchers  

Evidence supports what has always been my gut instinct. Studies by Grant show that the higher we look up the corporate ladder, the more “givers” we find.

Here’s an article from Positive Psychology which talks about “givers’ enjoying more career success.

At work, “givers” are the supportive people who enjoy sharing their expertise, networking and business contacts and “giving” their time towards mentoring.

Having said that, “giving” also brings with it one significant risk. While it’s true that more givers are found at the top of the corporate ladder, many end up at the bottom. 


Because there are two very distinct kinds of givers. 

Let’s address the first kind — The Selfless Giver, who gives without regard for her own self. 

This is the kind who comes to me feeling exhausted and resentful. She gives and gives, until she falls off the cliff, all the while screaming, “Who’s taking care of me?!”

The Selfless Giver does not do well at work because the general perception of her by her colleagues is at best, she’s not “strong enough”, and at worst, she’s a doormat. 

So many people can relate to this kind of giving! Sooner or later they just get  fed up and consider becoming Matchers or Takers.

That’s certainly an option. But it’s hard to change our old habits and tendencies, and why should we considering there’s another option that has us showing up as both givers and winners?

The first time I heard the perfect description of this kind of giver was in conversation with Kelly, my ultra-running buddy and client. She called it being a Fierce Giver. “Wow, she nailed it!”, I thought.

Then my son, who is the fiercest giver I know, said to me, “I’m not interested in a bigger piece of pie for myself, I want to help create a much bigger pie for everyone.”  

If you’re a Giver, my suggestion is…

Don’t change to a Matcher or Taker.

You’d be doing yourself and the rest of us a disservice. Instead, do everything you can to transform into a Fierce Giver.  

Here’s a few suggestions to help you get started:

  1. Explore the science of giving by reading “Give and Take” by Adam Grant.
  2. Ground yourself with the belief that Fierce Givers are the ultimate winners in the long run. Look around you. You’ll notice that the people who are experiencing satisfaction across all areas of their lives are Fierce Givers (or what Adam Grant calls, ‘Otherish”), and not Matchers or Takers.
  3. Identify one area of your life — work, parenting, marriage, social relationships — where you are willing to experiment with showing up as a Fierce Giver.
  4. Begin with small steps. Your toolbox for this transformation will include identifying your life buckets, honoring your calendar, eliminating people pleasing, practicing kindness through clarity, communicating productively, and so much more.

Becoming a Fierce Giver is a practice and although some have a natural tendency towards this behavior, all of us can learn it (over time, not overnight) through committed and consistent practice. 

Start with the four suggestions I shared above and not only will you find the process to be joyful, you will also be able to create more ease and prosperity in your life.


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