I had to change my Go-Getter tendencies to succeed.
I glorified Go-Getters. Hermione Granger and Rory Gilmore were my role models. I worshipped them. They were eager, ambitious, strong achievers that seemed like a direct reflection of me.
I wanted to be just like them… and I succeeded.
But I missed some warning signs contained in their personalities. They spent too much time trying to “get ahead” that they missed the greater impact that their drive caused to those around them. I missed the conflict caused by hyper-competitivism and the high anxiety that the characters felt while trying to be perfect.
I experienced the same things. In school I found myself working so hard at getting what I wanted that I forgot how to live life. I forgot to have fun and experience the world around me. I forgot to take breaks. And I was possessed by the idea that I could be perfect.
I was 13 and needed to take “mental health days” when I was on the verge of breakdown… which was often. Unfortunately, it’s even more common for young people now.
Go-Getter personalities are intense
They have a “get it done or get out of my way” mentality. Go-Getters are hyper-focused on the results they will receive from the activities they’re doing.
A Go-Getter mindset can be both a good and a bad thing. It is good because Go-Getter’s are motivated and ambitious. They are driving to achieve their goals (which is a necessary precursor to achieving them). But it can also be a bad thing because a Go-Getter mentality can get in the way of the other fun things in life.
For example, I was so driven by external things (college admission and getting the grades I wanted, getting the job etc.) that I spent a large part of my life focused only on that. I forgot to invest in the relationships around me. Luckily I learned to relax from my husband (he was much better at it than I was).
Ultimately being a Go-Getter isn’t a bad thing unless you are losing the enjoyment of life. If you find yourself perpetually stressed by the desire to achieve, it might be time to change the “achievement” that you are focusing on.
Shifting from a Go-Getter to Go-Giver
It is only when I started to change my mindset from Go-Getter to Go-Giver that I actually started to achieve. And not just achieving what society thinks that I should achieve, but actually achieving what I wanted. As a Go-Getter, I wanted to be the best at everything, but as a Go-Giver, I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. There is a lot less pressure and a lot more happiness.
The book the Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann made a big difference to my progression from a Go-Getter to a Go-Giver. I never would have thought differently if it wasn’t recommended to me by a wise mentor of mine. This is still one of my favourite books (5 years later)… I’ve read it at least 5 times. It’s my mental chiropractor. It adjusts my mindset when something feels out of alignment.
The Go-Giver is about a young businessman named Joe (a classic Go-Getter) who is frustrated by striving for success that he isn’t able to achieve. He meets a wise old executive named Pindar and is introduced to the 5 Stratospheric Laws of Success (corny name, I know). He meets Pindar’s successful friends and learns that success isn’t achieved in the ways that he had thought. As he learns the principles he realizes that they can apply not just to business but also to his personal life too.
Here are the 5 laws:
- The Law of Value — the more you give the more you will receive. The more value that you give to others the more value and you will receive.
- Law of Compensation — your financial gains will be a direct result of the amount of value that you add to the world by serving others.
- Law of Influence — the value of your network depends on your willingness to serve others first. The people who know you, like you and trust you might not be your customers, but they are the people who will help bring business your direction. You should always be building your network of influence by giving to others.
- Law of Authenticity — to succeed you need to present your whole self to the world — your true self — and not be some phony version of who you are.
- Law of Receptivity — to give you have to be open to receiving.
For a long time I carried these laws on little cards in my wallet, and I kept them on my desk and in my bathroom. They were drastically different from any of my previous life philosophies. I needed daily reminders that I didn’t always have to strive to achieve — reminders to give instead.
I owe my success to the 5 laws
These laws have made all the difference to my overall happiness and success. They have driven me towards all the work that I’m doing today. I would not have been a successful recruiter, salesperson, or business owner if I had not read these rules. It actually scares me to think about who I would be if I didn’t learn to apply the 5 laws from the book.
The Law of Receptivity was especially hard for me. I was really, really bad at receiving anything from anyone. Whether it was accepting a compliment, accepting a gift or receiving feedback, I was not good at being given to. I just didn’t think I was worth being gifted with anything. It was the biggest mental block that I had to break through to be successful. And I don’t think I’m the only one with this problem. Many of us don’t learn at a young age that we are valuable enough to receive and so we never receive the promotion, the raise, the job, or the career that we hope for.
The other law that was difficult for me was the Law of Value — understanding that I will only receive by consistently adding value to others. I wanted guarantees! Uncertainty was very hard for me. So not knowing if I would receive the value back from the world was tough! But the more that you give the more inevitable it is that you actually receive. You have to be incredibly selfless to get ahead (and a lot of the time it feels like you are crazy for giving so much).
Applying the Go-Giver mindset at work
We have misconceptions about the workplace that are beginning to change. And one of them is that you have to be self-focused to have a “successful” career. You often find this self-centred mentality in young professionals because that’s what they’ve seen in their parents or their grandparents. But when they get into the workplace it jades the way that they interact with their peers and colleagues. And it limits the collaboration and the success of the whole team.
If you start your career with the intention to give to the people around you, then you automatically perform better. You will be more liked by your peers, you will add way more value to the company, and you will become indispensable due to the results of your giving. So the key to applying this in the workplace is to not get caught up in the mentality of taking… even if you see it going on around you. You differentiate yourself by standing firm in continuing to give. And if it’s not appreciated by your employer then you should probably look for a different team to work for.
Define your success by what you give, and you will achieve more
The driving message of this book is that you will not “get” unless you first learn to “give”.
A Go-Giver is not as focused on the result of their actions and are more at peace with the journey. Their generosity results in a calm-hearted approach to life. It comes across in all their interactions and it makes them highly attractive. They are magnetic. In fact, you have probably come across them in those people that you “just like”… even if you can’t place the exact reason why you like them.
Applying Go-Giver principles is tough in a lot of scenarios. And it probably goes against so many things that you (as an ambitious young person) have learned so far in your career. But focusing on giving over getting, will result in a calmer, more successful, career and life. It will set you up for success, and set you apart.