Ep #115: Generosity
There are so many people who constantly feel resentful, worried, and full of scarcity. I truly believe that generosity is the answer to that problem.
Often, people associate generosity with someone who has a lot of money. However, generosity is not something that we do or we are because of our circumstances. It always comes back to the way we think about and view the world.
This week, we’re taking a deep dive into what true generosity is all about and why so many people get it wrong. Joins us as I explain exactly how you can give freely (whether it’s money, knowledge, or time) without ever feeling resentful, and reap the immense benefits of that deeply fulfilling process.
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Listen to the show
What You will discover
- My definition of generosity.
- Why you should never expect anything in return when you give.
- Why so many people feel resentful when they are being generous.
- What takes me out of my willingness to be generous.
- When generosity is not appropriate will not have any positive effects on you.
- The immense benefits of giving freely.
Featured on the show
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, my friends. How are you guys? I'm amazing. I really am. I'm having a great day. Let's talk about generosity. I love this topic. As I was preparing for this topic, I couldn't believe how many ideas and different concepts came up for me. I just want to have you guys sit back, relax and enjoy. Thinking about this maybe in a whole different way. A whole different way for yourself because I deal with so many of you all that feel resentful and full of scarcity and worries. I think generosity is the answer. Now, when you think of someone who is generous, I think a lot of times people associate generosity with someone who has a lot of money.
We can all think of someone who has a lot of money who isn't generous at all. Right? They have plenty to give and they don't give it. We can all think of people that have very little money who are incredibly generous. I think understanding that generosity is not something that we do, is not something that we are because of our circumstances. Right? It always comes back to the way we think about and view the world that will determine if we're feeling generous and therefore acting generous. I do this worksheet with my clients and with my students called your top three feelings worksheet. Very rarely have I had someone choose that one of their top three feelings that they want to feel is generous.
I think it's a mistake because I think the feeling of generosity is so amazing and so great and it causes you to show up in the world in a different way than if you don't feel generous. If you guys listen to my more recent podcast on money, I think I was taught to be generous by my mom, who is very generous. It's one of things that I hear about myself most often from people and it's one of those things, what's so interesting about it is people will say, "You're so generous," I don't feel as if that's a compliment in the sense that, "Wow, I really deserve that compliment." I just feel like it's who I am. It's just I notice that I'm generous too. I love being generous. Generous is amazing. It's like when someone says you're having so much fun. I guess that's a compliment, you're having so much fun but it's also, "Yeah, that's just how I roll." Great.
I want to encourage if you haven't thought about yourself as a generous person and you haven't thought about being more generous in your life, I want you to think about it. Now, when I bring this up to some people they'll say to me that it's hard for them to be generous because they end up feeling resentful. I'm going to address that a little bit later in the podcast. When I bring up the word generosity, you feel like clenching and you feel yourself going to resentment, I'll explain to you why that is. Before I do that, I want to talk about how I define generosity and how I can help you get more of it in your life, feel more of it in your life and therefore act more of it in your life.
Generosity is when you give more than is expected or is necessary. The way I want you guys to think about this is generous would be on the F line of the model. That would be your emotion would be generous and then your generous giving action would be in the A line. You give more than is expected or is necessary more than as usual. I think when you're feeling generous that's when you act in that way. Now, the piece I really think is really important to add that wasn't added in the definition that I found was yes, you give more than people expect and with no expectation of anything in return. I think that's what true generosity is. I want you to imagine that you are going to give someone $5,000.
You have $5,000 that you have to give away. You want to think about who you're going to give it to and then you want to think about giving it to them. Now, if it's truly from a generous heart you will expect nothing in return. Now, for some of you, you will think in your mind, "No, I would give them $5,000 so they could pay their bills and I wouldn't expect anything in return." When I say don't expect anything in return, I mean even a thank you. I mean even an acknowledgement. I mean even a nod. Even that they tell anybody. Even that they share with you what they purchased. Right? Expect nothing. Are you giving someone $5,000 and expecting that they'll pay their bills with it and they go off and buy themselves a Louis Vuitton? Notice how any kind of expectation that you have for the recipient takes away your enjoyment of the giving.
I don't think that's giving from generosity. People would disagree with me but this is my philosophy, right? When you give, you give with no expectation. That is true generosity. So many times I like to give anonymously because it feels so amazing. I love to pay for the person behind me in Starbucks that's going to the line at Starbucks. I love to pay for the toll behind me when I go through a toll bridge. I like to pick up someone's check without them knowing who picked it up. I really like doubling the tip on a waiter or a waitress or even giving a $20 bill to a valet or to the guy bringing up my bags. That's with no expectation of anything in return. Especially. it's really interesting… I've talked about this before on the podcast when I pay for the toll behind me or I pay for the Starbucks behind me, I don't even look back. I have no expectation of how they'll respond.
Some people track me down in their cars and honk and wave. The question then becomes why do we give, do we give because we want someone's acknowledgement? We want someone to recognize us in a certain way? We want someone to think about us in a positive way? Are we giving because we want that person to do something or we want to control an outcome? Do we give because it just feels amazing to give? I talked about in the last podcast how giving and being in spirit of giving and being in a spirit of service is what creates and can create a lot of confidence because it takes the focus off of trying to control the world and it takes the focus off of trying to be different than we are and just focus on what we have to give. I think that is the spirit of generosity is what do we have to give and what is our reason for giving. I will tell you that my reason for giving is it feels amazing to give.
I love giving and I love giving anonymously. Now, I have recently been challenged with this and I think it's important to bring this up. My generosity is giving freely because it feels so good. I have a friend who I feel has gotten into the pattern of expecting me to pay all of the time, expecting not to reciprocate. For example, if we split a bill and I'm not drinking right now…if we split a bill and they've had a cocktail and I haven't, who cares we'll just split the bill but then when we split the bill the next time and I've had more and they've had less then they want to have separate checks or whatever. I've noticed that my spirit of giving with this person is challenged and is more resentful. I started to really explore why I don't want to give to someone who I experience as entitled.
It takes me out of generosity and puts me into expectation. I expect to them to reciprocate that. I expect to them to act in a different way. I expect them to pay me back or acknowledge or whatever. When they don't, then I feel resentful until I've left my spirit of generosity and moved into that spirit of scarcity. I've noticed this with people like my customers and people in my life who…I had a customer say to me and I thought this was so fascinating, a customer had listened to my podcast on weight loss and as you know, those of you who listen to the podcast regularly, I offered then a paid webinar that went into more detail on the material that I had presented. The person signed up for the webinar and said, "I really got so much from all of the free material and I felt like the webinar didn't provide me with that much more so I would like my money back."
I felt…I had this moment where I was like, "Oh my gosh that's so interesting. This person feels entitled to all of my great stuff for free." Right? They don't want to have to pay for it. I had this moment where I was like, "Whoa, that's so interesting." Because for sure I felt myself going, "Wait a minute, that webinar was packed with material way more material than what was in the podcast. What is she even talking about?" I found myself, "What?" Then, I went to this place like, "If you got so much value out of the podcast and it changed your life so much then why are you asking for your money back for the webinar?" That doesn't make any sense to me. I clenched up. Normally I'm very generous when it comes to someone's unhappy but this felt to me and this has nothing to do with the customer, this felt to me like the customer was very entitled like, "I expect that the free stuff should be great and that the paid stuff should be a certain way or I'll get my money back."
I noticed myself clench up and I took a minute and I said, "Of course," because my team was asking me, "What do you think? Should we give them their money back?" Because there wasn't a money-back guarantee at all in that and I said, "Absolutely." I dropped into this place of this woman is loving my material and wants it and is obviously benefiting from it and that's the place where I want to come from. I want to come from that place of generosity and giving freely and giving anybody who's unhappy with anything that I do, freedom to feel how they want to about it. I noticed with these two different instances it was one of my customers and sometimes I feel this way with some of my students, this sense of, "You owe me."
Have I created this situation by being so generous with my free material, have I created this situation where nobody wants to pay for it or they expect me to just keep giving to them for free? Does that create an issue? Has my generosity then created a problem? What I've come to know after coaching myself is that no, that is not the situation. The problem is me when I lose sight of my generosity because my generosity has nothing to do with what I expect the person to do with it. If I expect them to be appreciative, if I expect them to, yes, of course support me, if you listen to my podcast all the time for free then of course expecting you to support me in my paid stuff…if I get into that place I'm going to start feeling resentful if you don't. That takes me out of my generous spirit. It's the same with my girlfriend. I'm happy to pay for the meal. Happy to pay for it.
Why am I letting myself get into this nit picky entitlement thing with her? I sat down and did some work on it and I just thought, would I rather debate the bill with her or would I rather just always pay and just let that be enough and just always be the one that pays and come from that space of generosity? The truth is for me if I really am being honest with how I want to feel in terms of generosity, I always want to be the one that is paying, I always want to be the one that’s giving more than is expected. I do not want to be the person who is finicking over the bill or debating a refund with someone or anything like that. I always want to be the one on the side of generosity and I don’t want to be the one on the side of worrying about how someone is reacting to what I’m providing so generously.
Both of those situations were real big lessons for me in terms of like, “Really Brooke, like, are you going to step up into this place of generosity and let that be who you are because you enjoy it so much?” I really decided that “yes.” Now, there are times when generosity is not appropriate when the reason that we are giving is not honoring ourselves and that’s why it’s creating that resentment. For example, if you are giving to someone so they will like you, if you are giving to someone so they won’t upset you or they won’t be upset with you. If you’re giving to someone because you don’t want to have a confrontation with them then you’re coming from that place of negative emotion and you will not experience the bounty that is generosity, you will experience resentment.
If you want to be someone that comes from that place you really need to check yourself when people react in a way that’s unexpected. It’s one thing to give with no expectation of anything in return. I do like it when you guys give me reviews but I certainly don’t expect it because we laugh about it all the time because if I did I would be disappointed all the time because the number of listeners that you all are and the number of reviews I have is poultry. If I don’t expect it, then I won’t be disappointed. I won’t feel resentful. I won’t feel upset. If I give with just the only expectation that I will feel good giving, then I can come from that place of beauty and I love it. I love creating my own experience of contribution by being generous and when something comes back at me that triggers me to think of thought that denies me of my own generosity like these examples that I’ve just given you.
I really need to settle into myself because I notice myself getting resentful and angry and I think a lot of people feel this way on a consistent basis who are never generous. Because they feel like anytime they give to someone it’s not appreciated and the reason that they want to give is because they want to be appreciated and that’s where we get locked into this problem. When I ask myself how important is it for me to be generous, the answer is very important and the reason is because of the way I feel when I feel generous. I want to identify that as one of my main character beliefs about myself and so I can feel that way on a regular basis. I want to confront all the areas in my life where I don’t feel generous, where I don’t want to give and I want to make sure I really like my reason.
With my girlfriend who’s kind of nitpicking the bill with me, my reason for not wanting to be generous with her is because I’m resentful and I do not like that reason. That’s on me. I need to do my work. She gets to be whoever she wants to be, if she wants to feel entitled, if she wants to nitpick the bill, if she wants to argue over the bill, that’s totally fine with me. If she wants to expect me to always pay for whatever reason she has, that’s okay with me, right? I would rather pay from a place of generosity or I’d rather split the bill and talk about the bill from a place of generosity than arguing about it and feeling in a place of resentment about it or in a place of entitlement. Because as soon as I think she’s being entitled then I start acting entitled, which is the last thing I want to do.
Think about that in your own life, where are you being generous and where are you giving literally for the sake of giving? You’re not giving for anything in return and I will guarantee you that the places in your life where you are giving with abandon, those places in your life where you are feeling generous are the places that are giving you the most back, maybe not in that same way, right? If you give $5,000 you’re not getting 5,000 back but that feeling of giving someone $5,000 is amazing if you can release any kind of expectation on that. If giving doesn’t feel good, your reason for giving is problematic and if you deny yourself at giving out of resentment I think you have work to do.
Any situation that you go into is an opportunity for you to give and just notice when you ask yourself, “What do I have to give to this situation?” Many answers will come and it will create so much confidence and empowerment within yourself. Now, a lot of people, myself included, associate being generous with money and I think the more generous we are with money the more money we will end up having, I genuinely believe that. I think the more generous we are with our material and our time the more interest we will have in our material and in our time. I think the more contribution we make generously to the world the more that contribution will bring us endless amounts of joy. I feel like, as humans, we are wired for generosity and wired for contribution and when we prevent ourselves from showing up generously and when we prevent ourselves from making contribution we just die a little bit inside, right?
I notice, for me whenever I feel like, “Oh, hell no. I’m not paying for that,” or, “I’m not giving that to them.” Whenever I get into that space with myself I feel icky and scarcity and yucky, right? Whenever I’m in a place, “No problem I got the bill. No problem, here’s your refund. No problem.” I had a guy say, “I’ve been listening to your podcast for the past year or so and I was going to sign up for one of your programs but I decided to do another one instead." No problem. That’s totally great. "I love your work.” He said all these wonderful things to me and it was totally great like I was able to come from this total place of generosity with him and just continually wanting to give and give and give. I think that when you have something to give and you give of it freely, your payback, your benefit is that giving, is that experience, is that model of feeling generous in giving it, that in of itself.
When you deny yourself that you feel like I was feeling when I was holding back not giving because, “It’s mine and why would you take it and you’re entitled so I’m going to be entitled,” right? Let’s talk about this just so I can wrap my mind around it and maybe you guys can wrap your minds around it too. If you feel like someone is in your life and you feel like their expectation is that you always will be generous and that you will always pay or that you will always give away all of your material for free or that you should give more than you are giving, how do you want to respond to that? Do we want to shut down and be defensive or do we want to bloom into it? Because whenever someone is coming from that place of entitlement they’re coming from a place of scarcity themselves, they’re coming from a place of, “There isn’t enough,” or, “I don’t have enough money to pay you, Brooke,” or, “I don’t have enough money to split this bill,” or, “It needs to be fair,” right?
Whenever someone is coming from that place of scarcity we can either match them, right? We can drop into that place of scarcity as well and get upset about it or we can overcome that in that instance with generosity. I know for me if the opportunity is there between abundance and scarcity or generosity or stinginess, I always want to choose generosity for my own sake and let them deal with their feelings of entitlement or their feelings of things not being fair. Just be willing to be in the space of, “When I’m with you and there’s an opportunity for me to be generous, I will be generous but I wonder if then that relationship changes?” Because I was thinking about this with one, actually one of my students and we're talking about this and I was having her do some work for me.
I asked her, she had suggested that the work be done. I had asked her how much she would charge. She was trying to figure out how much she would charge and she came back with a certain number and I asked her, I said, “What would you charge me if you were already making a million dollars in your business? What would you charge me for this work?” and she said, “Oh, I wouldn’t charge you at all,” and I said, “Oh, that’s so interesting but because you’re coming from a place of more scarcity, you’re charging me this amount in an effort to kind of take care of your own self,” right? Isn’t that interesting? I think when you want to be generous you have to access and know what you have the ability to give. If you are in a space of abundance and believing that you have more than enough to give, you will show up in that way and then you will be identified in that way and what will happen is you will attract all of that to you.
I think that it’s important to remind yourselves that you have not just money to give and you can be very generous with your money but you also have your time, your energy, your kindness, your thoughtfulness, right? Your knowledge and you can give all of that very generously as well and really enjoy the benefits of having been generous in the world. I hope that you guys will take me up on this and play around with kind of the things that I struggle with sometimes which is releasing all expectations when you give and not allowing yourself to drop into resentment when someone feels entitled or expect them to act in a different or what you would call a better way and just let them absolutely be who they are. Don’t ever let someone else's behavior change who you want to be in the world. I personally want to be generous no matter what. No matter how the other person acts or the expectation. All right you guys, have a great week. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye- bye.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School Podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to the LifeCoachSchool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application where you’ll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It’s one thing to learn intellectually, it’s another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.