Playing Favorites By Marshall Goldsmith There’s a reason I devote...
Much of the good that you do for others without expectation of payback—comforting them, following up with them, connecting them to someone, or simply being present and hearing them—comes back to you whether you seek it or not, because reciprocity is a defining feature of community.
But in a community, this reciprocity is not merely the two- dimensional kind between two individuals. In the right kind of community it’s three-dimensional—as if everyone has a license to help and coach anyone else at any time. It’s not the transactional I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you -scratch-mine reciprocity of aggressive networking. It happens when someone says, “I need help.” And someone else, without making a “What’s-in-it-for-me?” calculation, hears the plea and responds, “I can help.” In healthy communities, “I can help” is the default response. If you were to chart the crisscrossing lines of communication and generous acts among members of a healthy community, it would look as wild and random as a Jackson Pollock drip painting or a map of our nervous system.
I did not fully appreciate this phenomenon until I was nearing seventy and woke up one morning to discover that, by accident, I had created a community of my own—my 100 Coaches project— and that it was a force multiplier in helping people live an earned life.