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Generosity as a competitive advantage: What to give (and not to give) in business and in life

“Are you sowing seeds for 50-year relationships or 5-minute relationships?”

Growing up 1 of 6 kids on a farm in Ohio, John Ruhlin learned first hand that, when you’re poor – generosity does not go unnoticed.

When working his way through college, John met a mentor who shaped the trajectory of his life. The foundation for success in his mentor’s relationships, business and life was: Generosity.

Today, 15 years later, teaches generosity as a competitive advantage in business for clients like NASCAR and the Miami Dolphins and is the author of Giftology. 

With the holiday season around the corner, join me and John to learn how to give more inspired gifts this year and always.

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  • Are you sowing seeds for 50-year relationships or 5-minute relationships?
  • When someone continues to do nice things for us with no strings attached, it is in our nature to want to reciprocate.
  • We are all born with a gratitude muscle, some are bigger than others, you can work to grow it every day.
  • John Ruhlin references 5 Love Languages; learn more here.
  • Want to impact and move others to action? Gift well. Most view it as a waste so the 5% that do it well stand out.
  • Give a gift with no strings attached and be okay if nothing comes of it because you made their day.
  • You have to have the right intention. We all hope good things will happen when we do good for others. Ex. When we treat our employees well, we hope they’ll stick around. But they can tell when you don’t have their best interest at heart.
  • Things we’re doing wrong in gifting:
    1. Don’t gift between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you give when everyone else is, no one will remember. Give in April when it might be the only gift they get.
    2. Don’t send gifts after referrals. That is transactional you want to be relational. If a gift shows up just because, then it’s a “wow” – they feel like you are honoring their time.
    3. The gift shouldn’t reflect you; it should reflect the recipient. Would you go to a wedding with a vase engraved with “compliments of John O’Leary”? In business we do that and call it marketing. Marketing is about the giver. Gifting is about the recipient.
    4. Most people are craving appreciation, but feel they have too much stuff. Give an artifact; something people could pass down in their family. Not just more stuff.
  • When gifting, most ask: What’s the least I can get away with? Instead ask, “Whats the most I can do? Why not do it?”
  • Ask what is the most I can do and how do I do it different than my competitors? Ex. Don’t spend $100k at a trade show like your competitors, spend $1k on each of your top 100 clients.
  • What would they not do for themselves that we can do for them? Give gifts that have more value then money invested.
  • Get a copy of John’s book, Giftology – it is his entire playbook!
  • Get the Top 10 Things NOT to give at Giftologybook.com/fire

John Ruhlin’s Live Inspired 7

1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Give & Take by Adam Grant how to leave a life of giving but be strategic so you aren’t taken advantage of by takers.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do with it? Continue to do what I am doing right now. With the money itself, we would invest in other entrepreneurs to see their dreams come true and a portion would go to my church and causes.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? Wedding photo album. Crazy $450 mug that captures my core values and represents who I am.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? I spent a lot of time early with my grandfather on a pontoon fishing. He was an entrepreneur and died when I was 16 before I was bitten by the entrepreneur bug. He’s left a legacy and impression on me.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Tom Searcy at an event we spoke at and I was just getting started speaking. You’re a great speaker hiding in a good speaker’s body. If you want to you could charge adult money and impact a lot of people if you would be more confident in your speaking. He mapped out the 5 points I should talk about if I was going to speak. I took it to heart.

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? The best is yet to come.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He was a man who in all areas of his life gave more than was reasonable.


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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

Live Inspired with John every day on FacebookTwitterYouTube, Instagram, LinkedInPinterest and get his Monday Motivation email: www.JohnOLearyInspires.com/Monday-Morning

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