The Art of Receiving

To fully understand who we are as leaders, in our life and our work, we need to understand that we are called to give. Most of us embrace that role—we are drawn to leadership because we want to give.

And the act of giving is itself rewarding:

You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” ― Brian Tracy

“We must give more to get more.” ― Orison Swett Marden

But leadership, and life, are about balance. To fully give as leaders, we must also learn to receive as leaders.

For many of us, this balance is uncomfortable.

Our thoughts about receiving are often influenced by myths and nontruths that we keep alive. When others give to us, we may feel on some level that we are selfish or undeserving. We may see others’ gifts to us as unwarranted or even a waste of time.

Both giving and receiving are essential. To give is easy and comes naturally. But for some reason receiving is a bit more difficult, and often comes with strain and stress.

The truth is this: It is as unbalanced to give without receiving as to receive without giving. For others to experience the rewards of giving, we must learn to graciously receive.

It’s about existence and coexistence, the duality of life that helps us thrive.

This holiday season of Thanksgiving (in the US) is the perfect time to take a moment to realize and remember all that you have received. You may want to even keep a gratitude journal that lists what you receive—and how you receive it.

Most of all, realize that the gift of giving is in the power to receive, and that in receiving with grace and gratitude, we give.

We are natural givers. But for now, let’s keep the art of receiving full in our heart and understand that receiving involves a step inward, a step toward balance in our lives and our leadership.

In the presence of giving, let’s open our hearts to receiving.

Lead From Within: For all who are participating in the tradition of giving thanks, know that the act of receiving balances with what we give. We need both to excel and to master our lives.


Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

46 Responses to “The Art of Receiving”

  1. Chris Edmonds

    20. Nov, 2012

    Beautiful, Lolly! We imperfect beings have a strong tendency to see what we DON’T have – yet, with health, family, and friends, we have much to be thankful for.

    You have taught me and others to be of service, of grace, and to receive without expectations! Once on that path, we learn about how others see us and how we can be of grace with others.

    MUCH Love to you –

    C.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Martina

    20. Nov, 2012

    Great post Lolly. Many of us, myself included have little or no issue with giving. It becomew part of who we are or what we wish to become.

    Receiving on the other hand is a much harder art to master. But, you continue to teach us much about both.

    Thank you fo all that you do for each of us individually and as a community.

    Martina

    Reply to this comment
  3. Bill Konopacz

    20. Nov, 2012

    Lolly,
    Definitely food for thought for me. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a Great Thanksgiving

    Reply to this comment
  4. Wayne McEvilly

    20. Nov, 2012

    Lolly – Your words are a great gift and I receive them with joy. It is easy for me to give but, I’ve come to realize, harder to receive. Your reminder that in receiving with good grace we are in that very act giving back a precious gift ourselves is a timely one for me just now. We have all known people to whom much love is given yet who refuse to accept it. This refusal sets up waves of negativity which do the world no good. Henry Miller has written of the neccesity to have those who are in need among us, otherwise those who want to give would be deprived of the privilege and joy of giving. We all have needs and when someone steps forward to meet them the least we can do is to return a full measure of joy in return.
    With love and admiration for you and your work.
    Wayne

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Wayne I think you deeply for all your support and soul.
      You grace these pages often and that means the world to me.
      I receive plentiful from you !
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  5. Jon R. Wallace

    20. Nov, 2012

    It’s a daily practice Lolly and I continue to love the simplicity and wisdom of your work. You’re a gift to those willing to listen and learn.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Edward Colozzi

    20. Nov, 2012

    Dear Lolly,
    Thank YOU. I openly receive the gift of your friendship, the gift of your words of wisdom, and the gift of your love into my heart with gratitude. I also express my appreciation to YOU for all your efforts to help us all grow in wisdom by taking time to truly listen to our hearts within, where we are all ONE. Thank you for birthing our community Leadfromwithin. Thank you for inspiring us to discern, lead, and share our love to others.
    Thanks and I love you Lolly, EdC

    Reply to this comment
  7. Dan

    20. Nov, 2012

    One of the biggest lessons of my life was learning to receive — not just from others, but from life, from the universe, from time. Opening to that, I found some pretty magical things began to come into my life.

    Why not receive? Along with the feeling of being undeserving can be the subtle influence of analysis and logic, our superficial assessment of cause and effect. The walls of the world seem hard and impersonal. A mind bred to science might well say so. But perhaps every now and then they are merely a veil through which comes a different kind of bounty. Some times the world drops a plum on your table and doesn’t require you to wonder why. That’s receiving, too.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Dan,

      You have shown me what a beautiful soul looks like inside out. Your beauty is all that you say and speak.
      I receive much from you and for that I am honored.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  8. Jim

    20. Nov, 2012

    I am learning this balance. To give feels wonderful. I used to be reluctant to receive. I realized in my gratitude list, that not receiving is selfish of me.

    “Am I not cheating the giver of their warm and good feelings, when I accept and receive from them?”

    I must continue to give as well as humbly and enthusiastically receive; with these hard words, “Thank you”

    Thank you Lolly.

    Jim

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Jim,

      Life is a balancing act and the paradox of living is in the giving and receiving.

      Thanks for your continued support.

      Honored.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  9. Carl

    20. Nov, 2012

    Lolly, thank you for your words – it is paradoxical that those of us who love to give to others are sometimes the worst at receiving. Perhaps it is by openly receiving and admitting that we do have needs that can not be met except by others that the greatest blessing is realized.

    Warm regards,
    Carl

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Your words ring very true to me…

      it is paradoxical that those of us who love to give to others are sometimes the worst at receiving.

      It is something I struggle with constantly and have much to learn…(hence the post)
      Thanks Carl for your thoughtful wisdom. Gratefully Received.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Simon Harvey

    20. Nov, 2012

    Dear Lolly,

    Thank you for your beautiful gifts in this post, of your leadership, friendship, compassion and love. Each week you bring such an amazing group of people together that is, in itself a gift that will forever keep giving.

    In an hour I receive so much more than I could ever give, and what I receive offers an amazing feeling of balance within.

    The gifts of connection for me are the most wonderful and fulfilling gifts to receive and create. When hearts open and minds unfold, then we can truly be one within, we are able to touch all that can not be touched and connect to the amazing power within us all.

    If we willingly let go of our judgements, metal models and memes and see the beauty and power within us all, then we can give the world all it deserves, human love and compassion.

    Is is when we truly open our hearts to the world that we receive and give the greatest gifts. Whether through music, art, drama, words, or deeds, it is within these connections that the power of love and compassion lie, they empower, invigorate and engage, they give wings to the greatest gift of all to soar, to spread across the globe and give, give the gift of LIFE.

    Thank you so much for being you, for being there, for creating all these beautiful connections of heart.

    You are truly a gift to all.

    Warmest,
    Simon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Nov, 2012

      Simon,

      If we are speaking about receiving; I want to personally thank YOU!

      You give me support on a daily basis.

      You show you care on a daily basis.

      You support our LFW family on a daily basis

      You give heart to each who meets you on a daily basis.

      You give and give and we receive and receive !

      thanks for being the wonderful and generous person that you that you are!!!!!!

      Thanks for teaching me how to receive.

      lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Francisco Laborde

    20. Nov, 2012

    As usual, you start me thinking, and I thank you for that.

    I don’t like to receive when I feel a gift is meant to to buy me.
    I don’t like to give when my gift does not help others to be free.

    It’s more than that, but I want to be brief.

    Fungus

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Your thoughts carry power…
      I don’t like to receive when I feel a gift is meant to to buy me.
      I don’t like to give when my gift does not help others to be free.

      The duality of ourselves completes the wholeness within

      Thanks Francisco!

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      I thoughts carry power…
      I don’t like to receive when I feel a gift is meant to to buy me.
      I don’t like to give when my gift does not help others to be free.

      The duality of ourselves completes the wholeness within

      Thanks Francisco!

      Reply to this comment
  12. Peg Gillard (@gracinginfinity)

    20. Nov, 2012

    This lesson has taken me a lifetime to truly understand, and yet, I still must learn it again and again. Like truly knowing darkness in order to understand and appreciate the light, we must understand receiving in order to truly give freely, openly, with full hearts.

    We cannot possibly really know gratitude unless we truly know the gift of receiving and accepting. This I believe; this I know.

    Thank you for the well crafted reminder to attend to the balance, to attend to the energy our souls produce when giving and receiving. You continue to carry and offer all of us the warm light that feeds our leaders’ minds, hearts and souls. May gratitude and Grace find you and swaddle you like a warm sweater keeping the chill out and the warmth in.
    Peg

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      20. Nov, 2012

      Peg!

      Your comment truly moved me. I struggle with receiving this post was a reminder to be in balance.
      I am more comfortable in giving and I am here to remind myself we have a duty to see we are worthy of receiving!

      Love You Peg!
      Happy Receiving!

      Reply to this comment
  13. john_paul

    20. Nov, 2012

    Beautifully said, Lolly! You started me thinking. When i take a deep breath i receive from the plants and trees, as i breathe out i give the breath of life back to them. I could no more keep breathing inward than i could always breathe out.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Greg Richardson

    20. Nov, 2012

    Thank you, Lolly!

    It has been a long time and serious effort for me to gain the small willingness I have to receive. Slowly but surely, drop by drop, the love and support I receive wears away the expectations, made of stone, that weigh me down.

    Thank you for helping me move closer to the balance, one step at a time.

    Happy Thanks-receiving!

    Reply to this comment
  15. Joe

    20. Nov, 2012

    You always speak of truth, inspiration, confidence and love. Thank you for being in my life, Lolly. Namaste

    Reply to this comment
  16. Margaret

    20. Nov, 2012

    HI Lolly,

    When we give, we give ‘our giving’ and to others that is a humbling experience and one of vulnerability – it is courageous to give at times and courageous to truly receive – to accept, without thought or reason, to just be open ( to show our vulnerability) and in the moment. this for some can be easy with strangers and its with the ones that we have relationships with that test our vulnerability in precious true moments of giving and receiving. allow these moments to be new as a fresh friendship(without fears, guilt, self doubt etc etc) – receiving is what makes us whole. we open our world to the experiences that are available to us. the choice is ours. let your now receive in every way – and smile 🙂

    thanks for your words Lolly
    cheers Margaret
    Australia

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Nov, 2012

      I truly love your thoughts when you say…

      we give ‘our giving’ and to others that is a humbling experience and one of vulnerability – it is courageous to give at times and courageous to truly receive – to accept, without thought or reason, to just be open ( to show our vulnerability) and in the moment.

      It takes vulnerability how true… Thanks for sharing your wisdom
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  17. Adam

    20. Nov, 2012

    Hi Lolly, thanks for the article, I personally find receiving and in some cases asking for help a very difficult thing to do.
    Thank you

    Reply to this comment
  18. C Rajeev

    20. Nov, 2012

    Your work is amazing!

    You may also see the following websites:

    http://www.tm.org

    http://www.normanrosenthal.com

    Transcendental Meditation is a very good practice for all age groups—It enhances positive feelings within an individual.

    Please do keep your messages coming…

    Regards,
    C.Rajeev.

    Reply to this comment
  19. John Griffin

    20. Nov, 2012

    Absolutely beautiful, just like your heart. Well done Lolly!

    Happy Thanksgiving (and receiving)!

    Reply to this comment
  20. Agus

    20. Nov, 2012

    Hi Lolly,
    Thanks for this amazing article.

    I will always learn how to receive with my heart with no tendency, judgement, even it’s not easy when we are facing hardship situation.

    But one thing, as well as we still receive something, then still any others give everything.

    Giving and Receiving is like Patience and Gratitude, it’s maybe closely related with value system, faith, belief, culture, etc, even on that moment we receive something that we don’t like it. Even though it’s not so tricky just simple thing in our daily life.

    And that’s true shall be balance between give and receive like day and night, men and women that is law of universe.

    When you dispose of food scraps that is a valuable gift for other creatures.

    Thanks for sharing me.

    Blessing,
    Agus

    Reply to this comment
  21. Ben Sichkaryk

    21. Nov, 2012

    Hello Lolly, it has been a long time my dear lady, things have changed for me, I have a book to be reliesed very soon. It is spiritual futuristic poetry; A Path To The New World. Thank you for being in my life as a leader, i will try to follow your example. Bless you with much love and light and happiness.
    Ben. <3

    Reply to this comment
  22. robert edward

    21. Nov, 2012

    god bless you all days because your incaurage us
    have a good day
    robert edward

    Reply to this comment
  23. Magdi Malky

    21. Nov, 2012

    Thank you Lolly,
    For reminding me to stop for a while and charge up from the source of LIFE.
    This is what makes me able to give, is to take from my Lord Words of compassion and love, forgiveness and acceptance, so I can love and forgive my neighbor.
    Excellent to share ideas and be ready to take and give all the time, if possible.
    Bless you.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Martin Haworth

    21. Nov, 2012

    ..and not forgetting that to receive with good grace gives so much back to the giver too.

    Martin

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Nov, 2012

      That is part of the balance Martin…”to receive with good grace gives so much back to the giver too.”
      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply to this comment
  25. Jimmy Z

    21. Nov, 2012

    Hi Lolly!
    Quite a lovely post. You consistently ring my bell with your subtle yet poignant messages that really cause me to think, reflect upon my own life and how it relates, and choose a way to transform how I’m being as a person and a Leader.

    I’m a NetGiver, and can see how I can create more flow through a greater balance of giving and receiving.

    Thanks Again, for your Caring and Sharing!

    With Passion and Purpose,

    Jimmy Z

    Reply to this comment
  26. Clay

    21. Nov, 2012

    Thank you for bringing out this topic, very interesting! I wholeheartedly agree, the art of receiving is a truly important, yet underestimated social skill.

    Reply to this comment
  27. D'Anne Hotchkiss

    21. Nov, 2012

    Lolly, we are taught as children to think of others first and to give to others. We owe it to our children to also teach them to be humble and gracious and to receive gifts from others. Thank you for this reminder.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Julian

    22. Nov, 2012

    Receiving is as much a part of life as giving.

    Unfortunately, many leaders aren’t capable in the right direction. Many – if not the majority, think they have something to offer, but in reality all they offer is their role as a self-seeker, and their opinion on what is best for others, not what others actually need.

    A true leader responds to what the people need, not what the leader thinks they want. So, the first stage in receiving, is to receive into their hearts what others truly need.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Luchi Estevez

    24. Nov, 2012

    Thank you Lolly for the reminder!!!
    “Life is a balancing act and the paradox of living is in the giving and receiving”.
    Keep up the wonderful work 🙂
    Blessings and love to you,

    Luchi <3

    Reply to this comment

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