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The Art of Reciprocity: Opening Yourself To Receive

Jennifer Mulholland
June 9, 2022
"I open my heart to receive that which I give." This mantra jumps out of my journal as I go back and read past writings. It helps me remember.
Re-membering is the practice of putting ideas or things back together. Like a puzzle of disconnected pieces frayed apart, we connect the dots and bring the disconnected parts of our past or selves back together into one whole. When we do so, we are able to see the bigger picture of how each part plays and has played a very important part.
As I recall this mantra, it stirs a remembering of the importance of reciprocity.  The principle of creating harmony in giving and receiving.  Two parts of a whole, feeding one another in work and in life.
Put simply, we can't give what we do not have. If we continue to give to others without giving to ourselves, we will drain and deplete the capacity to give more.
This goes for work and clients as much as it does our personal relationships and it's often a cycle that gets out of balance in both.
At Plenty, we work with a lot of large non-profits made up people who are wired to give. They give their time, energy, care, hearts, minds, and resources to the cause – whether that be curing or treating cancer, cleaning up the oceans and waterways, creating a more sustainable planet, caring for veterans, finding homes for the homeless, feeding the hungry, or rebuilding islands and communities from natural disasters. The causes are always noble and needed.
The challenge for many purpose-driven organizations is finding the balance of reciprocity – the sweet spot of doing good and doing well at the same time. Receiving the give-back as much as offering the give is an art and it's an important component of your intentional growth strategy. The organization's ability to receive funding, resources, and wellbeing directly correlates to being able to contribute impact and improvement. Similarly, the organization's ability to sustain and thrive directly correlates to the people within the organization's ability to sustain and thrive. After all, organizations are made up of people and people need to be seen, heard, and supported as whole human beings.
We often overlook the importance of receiving and for many of us givers, we haven't really been taught how. Here are a few questions to contemplate:
  • Am I open to receiving?
  • How do I know when I need help?
  • Am I willing to receive support from others?
  • Am I doing anything to block the help that is offered?
  • Do I know how to care and give to myself?
  • What areas of my business / organization are running dry?
  • What re-sources the energy and output of my company?
  • What activities and experiences fill up the people on my team?
Hope needs help and the helpers need it too. We can't give what we don't have. And, we must first learn to give to ourselves so we can open the reciprocity cycle wherever we choose to show up.
How do you open yourself to receive? We'd love to hear. 
Illustration of magic opened book covered with grass, compass, tree and stoned way on woody floor, balcony. Fantasy world, imaginary view. Book, tree of life, right way concept. Original screensaver.

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