The Power of “Just Because”
The business world is full of transactions. Someone pays you for a service and you provide that service, someone pays you for a product and you deliver that product, or someone pays you for information and you provide that information. In most of these situations it is very clear what each side is getting out of the arrangement and everything is fairly predictable. The idea is that each exchange is fair and as long as each party does what they say they are going to do, everyone is happy.
Happy is not the same as delighted.
There is one way to stand out from the rest of the people who deal in transactions and that’s to be a person who gives gifts. Gifts are given without expectation of return and gifts are given “just because.” We’ve all been on the receiving end of a good gift. Someone in our lives surprised us with something we really wanted and there was no event that caused us to feel like we deserved it or warranted receiving it. Those moments are incredibly powerful and we tend to remember them more than anything else. We also tend to cherish those gifts among all others we received. I can think of one example from my childhood that illustrates this.
When I was younger I was very much into action figures and I read all of the magazines that described the value of the different action figures there were. Every once in a while there would be a factory recall on a particular action figure making it a coveted collector’s item. That particular year Toybiz had released an Iceman Figure from the X-Men action figure line that was recalled due to the fact that the box told you to put it in the freezer and watch icicles form on it. If you did what it told you, your figure would indeed have icicles form, but then it would break in half after it came back to room temperature. The magazine article I read explained that you could tell which figures where the factory recall, because you could see the line where the figure would crack if you held it up to the light. One afternoon I was with my godmother in the toy store and as we were walking down the aisles I spotted that figure and my heart jumped. I ran over and checked it against the light and sure enough I could see the line! I reached into my wallet and opened it up to find that there was nothing in there. I remembered earlier that day spending the last of my money on a cherry icee and some nachos at the food court. I was crestfallen and started to put the figure back when I heard my godmother call from behind me, “Do you really want that?” I told her yes and to my surprise she bought it for me. I told her that I would pay her back, but she told me not to worry about it.
That Iceman is still in my apartment today.
I’d never sell it and will always keep it because of the sentimental value. It was truly a gift that I will always treasure and if I ever give it to anyone, it would be someone in my family.
The lesson for those of us in the business world is that we have that same opportunity every day to give something “just because”. Think of something that a colleague or a client could really use. How can you surprise them with that thing?
Surprise inspires delight.
How can you surprise someone in your daily life?
How can you surprise someone in business?
How can you be the person who gives a gift that changes someone’s life?
If you take the time to think of this and do this one simple thing for others “just because” you’ll be surprised at how not only your business will change, but your attitude will also.
Go on, give giving a try.
You may surprise yourself.