Have You Ever Given Just to Receive or Felt Indebted to Give?

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"When we live from our genius, we are always generous. Because we are so filled up and fueled by giving. It’s not a zero-sum game. It doesn’t take from us and give to another. It gives to both of us. It creates more life than was there before."

For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:


I want to live in a world where every single person has access to their unique genius.

So I create whatever containers are within reach to make that a reality. I write this blog every weekday. We run a free two-hour web show in the Sacred Branding® group every Friday. I now help people see what happens when you live from your genius with the Unique Genius Experiment on Instagram every day.

Recently, someone asked me about these “marketing efforts,” and I was sort of taken aback for a moment. Because, honestly, if this was all about marketing or immediate “return on investment,” I probably wouldn’t do any of these things.

We live in a world where giving and receiving become so intermingled. Where we only give to receive, and where we only know how to receive by giving more.

We offer discovery sessions to get clients. We give flattery to butter people up. We’re kindest to those who we think can help our careers.

And we feel indebted any time we receive. We respond to “You look so nice,” with an immediate, “Thanks, so do you.” We start thinking about how we’re going to repay a favor before even fully receiving the experience.

Sometimes, we forget about giving for the sake of giving. And receiving for the sake of receiving.

Giving because we are geniuses, and we want to use that genius to create the world we want. And receiving because we are geniuses, and we deserve to be nourished—even when we do nothing at all.

We get caught up thinking life is a zero-sum game. That everything is a means to an end. And that me receiving from you puts me in the positive and you in the negative.

But we can’t be generous that way—not really. Because any time we give then, we feel like we’re drained. So, of course, we’re going to be calculated with our giving. We’re only going to give when we think it’ll come back to us directly.

And, every time we receive, we’re going to feel indebted. And obligated to give more.

That’s not true generosity. We can never be generous when we’re playing a zero-sum game. Because true generosity can only ever exist when things are generative. When giving actually creates a win-win for both parties. When the action creates more than was there beforehand.

And we can only ever be generative from the place of our genius.

Think about those words: Generous. Generative. Genius. They all come from the same root, meaning birth. They’re our birthright. Our true nature.

When we live from our genius, we are always generous. Because we are so filled up and fueled by giving. It’s not a zero-sum game. It doesn’t take from us and give to another. It gives to both of us. It creates more life than was there before.

That’s the nature of genius. It’s generative. It gives life where it wasn’t before. It makes us come alive, and makes our visions come alive, too.

I don’t write each day because it’s a good marketing strategy. I do it because it makes me come alive. It makes me see nuances in the work that I couldn’t have seen before. It gives me the opportunity to activate people who may not be emotionally or financially in a place to access the deeper work.

It helps me live out my vision.

Now, certainly, I need to receive from somewhere, or else I wouldn’t be particularly sustainable. I’d have no reserves left to give. And I’d be giving away life force energy.

After all, we can only be generous when we have life force to share with the world. If we’re going to be massive givers, we need to be Olympic receivers, too. But it doesn’t have to always be a direct 1:1. Life isn’t transactional.

Sometimes I clean the whole house. But I don’t do it because I feel obligated or to guilt Garrett into doing more stuff. I do it because I want to.

Just like when I buy Garrett a random gift. Or tell him he looks beautiful one day. I’m not fishing for something in return.

But all that assumes that I’m feeling fueled from somewhere. The currency is subjective and mine to decide. Whether it’s money, time, joy, passion, purpose, spaciousness, whatever—I decide what I need. But, if I don’t have adequate energy, there’s no way I could be generous.

Because, without adequate life force, we’re too burnt out to access our genius. And we can never be generous from any place but our genius.

So, if we’re giving without needing to receive, we also need to receive without needing to give. We need to accept compliments and gifts. And have money coming in. And feeling emotionally nourished. And purposeful. And alive.

We need to realize that we can give with no expectation in return. And we can receive with no expectation of giving. They are two mutually exclusive energies.

And, sure, in a context like business, they may be a little more directly related. But, even there, it’s still not a direct 1:1.

I can write and offer free web shows without much need or pressure to receive. Because it’s already so nourishing for me. And then I can receive money and donations and referrals without much pressure to give more. Because I’m worthy and a genius.

I want to live in a world where every single person has access to their genius. So I’m going to live from my own genius to make the vision a reality—being as generous as I choose to be. Sharing just for the sake of my vision. And then receiving a shit ton from every direction to keep fueling me with energy.

If I’m ever burnt out, exhausted, or resentful, I know I’m probably undernourished and not acting from the place of my genius. And that’s when I usually start to be manipulative—even to myself—and look at things as a zero-sum game. What can I get out of giving?

But, when I’m truly living from my genius, it feels so goddamn good to give, that I receive a ton from that giving. It’s generative. And I don’t have to give just to receive or only receive through giving.

The world I want to live in is one where we all give more life than was there before. Where we make people come alive. Where we come more alive ourselves. And, most importantly, where we all live from our geniuses.


Questions for Reflection:

*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:

Have you ever given just to receive or felt indebted to give?

— Have you ever given something in hopes of getting something in return? Like given flattery to someone who could help your career? Or given free work only to get clients out of it?

— Have you ever felt indebted or obligated to give when you received something like a compliment or a favor? Have you felt like life is a zero-sum game where everything you receive is taking from someone else and vice-versa?

— What if life isn’t transactional, and living from your genius makes it generative? What if you can both receive and give more at the same time? What if you were so filled up that you gave because it felt so good and then received without any guilt or shame

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

Mike writes about how artists, entrepreneurs, healers, and visionaries of all kinds can actually build a life around the genius inside of them.

He's CEO of Mike Iamele LLC and Creator of Sacred Branding® and the Sacred Circle.

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