Fair Exchange #2 – Valuing Our Side of The Exchange 

Last week, I spoke about The Concept of Fair Exchange, and boy did you respond!  I received several emails in return, and requests for more on the topic.  So here is more.  First of all, let’s review the concept:

If you GIVE more than you TAKE, you feel RESENTFUL.
If you TAKE more than you GIVE, you feel GUILTY.

We established that any exchange you walk away from feeling emotionally balanced or positive, you’ve understood to be a fair one; and any exchange you walk away from feeling negative has been unbalanced or unfair in your eyes – and you can find a clue to which way the balance has tipped depending on whether you feel resentful or guilty. 
We established that this concept impacts every interaction we have – brief, extended or ongoing.  It impacts every relationship we have – employees, staff, customers, family, friends, vendors, suppliers, etc.
One of the emails I received in response noted “What resonated with me the most is the fact that Fair Exchange is pivotal to the growth of relationships.”  Absolutely!  Let’s explore that a little more.

Every exchange is an exchange of energy

Every exchange we have with another human being is an exchange of energy.  You may come into work on a Monday morning still singing from the Hole-In-One you made on Saturday.  Your whole weekend developed around the celebration of it, and you’ve been the hero in every conversation you’ve had!  You’re PUMPED, POWERFUL and ready to own the week ahead! 
The first person you meet at the coffee table isn’t looking very happy, and you compassionately ask why.  They’ve just been handed divorce papers.  Blindsided.  Had no idea it was coming.  I mean, they knew things weren’t good, but they had no idea it was THAT bad!  They’ve no idea what to do.  It’s frozen them.  They’re numb.
Unless you’ve learnt to guard how you exchange your energy, you’re going to walk away from that conversation not feeling so pumped.  Possibly even a little down.  Certainly a little quieter and less likely to be shouting your weekend success.  You’ve exchanged your energy.  You may possibly have felt your energy ebb and flow just reading the above paragraphs!
Whilst awareness of how we exchange our energy is a good thing, we need to bear in mind this fundamental:

The only person you have control over is YOURSELF

So for this week, let’s concentrate on our side of the equation.  We’ll look at the other side of the equation next week.  In order for us to effectively run our side of any relationship (work, customers, staff, family, etc), we have to have energy to contribute to that exchange.  Let’s think about where and how we give away our energy – because our energy is precious and finite.  We wake up with X-amount of energy every day.  We can use that for good or evil.  We can keep it or give it away.  We can spend it and recharge it.  We can use it for growth, or waste it.  It is our energy, our responsibility.
If we give it away without measure or consideration (how much of your energy did you freely throw out the window of your car on the way to work because someone else was driving like an idiot?), we’ll find we have little left to accomplish what we need to get done.  If we’re not aware of how we spend our energy and we don’t value the energy we have, then we allow it to leak away (through procrastination, through unaddressed fears, through apathy, through fuel queues, through inefficiencies, through lack of planning).  Sometimes we throw whole handfuls of it at situations without considering its value to us relevant to the situation.  Sometimes we take on other people’s stuff and use our energy for that before we’ve done what we needed to do for ourselves.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll find you can make a marked difference just by acknowledging the value of your energy and not giving it away for free!  Be discerning about who you exchange energy with.  Give consideration to where and who you need to direct your energy to today.  Prioritise.  And here’s some good news – your exchange of energy has a lot to do with your perception.  We touched on perceived value last week.  Sitting in a fuel queue can drain the life out of you, or it can provide you with a little breathing space to catch up with yourself.  It’s up to you.
So why do we need to guard our energy so ferociously?  Why is it important to consider our side of the exchange?  (The only side we have full control over)

Growth requires excess positive energy

In order for anything to grow, it requires excess positive energy.  It’s true of seeds, it’s true of us, it’s true of our relationships, and it’s true of our businesses.  If you have little or no energy, no growth is possible.  Even worse, if you stay in the red for any length of time, decline sets in.  The whole point of understanding The Concept of Fair Exchange is so that we can make a positive impact on our relationship and help them grow.  We’d love to retain clients and create loyalty.  We’d love to grow our businesses with happy employees who put their energy back into their work.  We’d love to educate and raise the next generation with a fire for learning and development.
All these things require energy.  Our energy.  And if we’ve allowed our energy to leak, or we’ve given it away indiscriminately… how will we contribute to our side of the exchange?  We don’t even have to understand the concept, and yet we’ll already have lost because we have no energy to exchange.

Take Aways:

  1. Every exchange we have with another person is an exchange of energy.
  2. If we’re not discerning about who and how we exchange our energy, our energy will leak and we’ll have little left for ourselves.
  3. Growth requires energy.  Our growth.  Our business growth.  The growth of our relationships.
  4. Valuing our own energy means we can add value to our side of the Fair Exchange equation.  It also means we can start to more effectively assess the value of each exchange we’re offered and know how, why and if it’s fair for us.
  5. Understanding The Concept of Fair Exchange means we can not only determine how this pivotal concept affects the growth of our relationships, but we can be proactive about how we want those relationships to develop.

So gather your energy.  Use this week to look at where it leaks and plug those leaks.  If you can’t change the situation, change your perception of it so it’s not draining.  Recognise the value of the energy you’re given and start to think more about how you’d like to exchange it and the impact you’d like to have on your relationships.

by Christen Killick

November 19th, 2018

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