In my new role as a freelance consultant I am learning much more about client management, especially when working for more than one client at a time. Interestingly, I was reading Shawn Achor’s article, What Giving Gets You at the Office, in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review and came across this relevant and appreciated quote:
The past two decades of research on social support has mistakenly focused on how much social support you receive, not how much social support you provide. It turns out, that giving feels better, does more for you, and provides greater returns in the long run, than getting ever does.
As readers of this blog know, this quote embodies much of the developmental approach that I write about and that I practice in my work and in my life. Yet in my conversations with other freelance consultants I was struck by the pull that we all have to want our clients to give us more support. That often looks like more feedback, more resources or more time with them. Reading this quote made me think that, like everyting in life, the performance of giving is always going to be more productive that looking for ways to “get what I need”.
When we improvise we create by always saying “yes” — we make and give “offers” to our fellow player/s. If an improviser is waiting to get an idea, or waiting to receive a “good offer” she or he will end up “in their head” and unavailable to their fellow player/s. When an improviser is given an offer she or he must “super accept” that offer, meaning that no matter the offer she or he must use it to create with and build upon it without taking a beat to judge what was given. The creativity is in the spontaneity of the exchanges and the willingness to accept, give, build — to always say yes. Improvisers are always giving.
After having a number of conversations with fellow freelance consultants who manage multiple clients and projects, I found it helpful to remember the fundamentals of improvisation.
In fact, in life I always find that to be the case — improvising, performing, and giving is what allows us to create whatever it is that we are creating — a business, a show, or a relationship of any kind. We are a social species and all that we do is relational.
So if any fellow consultants or freelancers are reading this post, remember to say yes, make offers to your clients, accept and build with what they give you, no matter what it is. Let’s perform!
(You can read Shawn Achor’s article here: http://bit.ly/qL3MF5 )