Something that I find is a recurring topic of conversation among many of my clients and throughout my network on social media is that people keep score when they ripple.
What does this mean?
Well first, let’s start off with a reminder as to what a Ripple is. A Ripple is any action you take –– big or small –– that makes an impact on another person. It could be as simple as a basic compliment, holding the door open for someone, or even something as big as helping someone land their next job. Ultimately, a Ripple is an action that you take on behalf of another person.
What I’ve noticed is that there is no shortage of Ripples out there. People I speak to often tell me about the Ripples they make, yet I’ve found that most of these people have some sort of expectation of something in return.
Of course, people deny expecting things in return, yet the reality of it is that they have expectations for a return on their investment of time and effort for committing an action that is meant to benefit or help another human being.
When you have the expectation of something in return when you commit an act of kindness or do something on another person’s behalf, you are keeping score.
Negatives of Keeping Score
When you keep score, it can harm any relationship –– whether it’s a professional or personal relationship.
If you keep score, you are instantaneously let down whenever your expected return for your efforts never come back to you. This can very quickly cause you to develop resentment towards other people.
Resentment can derail a relationship and cause conflict that gets blown out of proportion. It is the ‘super-secret’ promise of revenge. This revenge could be through purposeful sabotage with a lack of communication or not offering help to an individual when help is truly needed. It is your job to recognize when resentment starts to form and squash it whenever it starts to brew.
Most people have the quid pro quo mindset that if I do for you, you should do for me. And if they don’t see an immediate return, they then feel as if they are ripped off. This makes people second guess whether or not they should commit acts of kindness for other people, which ultimately hinders their desire to make positive Ripples in the world.
How Can You Fix This When Networking?
Think about the things you have done in the past year. When you have done something for another person, have you ever secretly had an expectation of something in return? Chances are, your answer to that question is a yes, and if it is, you are certainly not alone.
We make our actions more significant than they truly are in reality. Keeping score is a perfectly human thing to do at one point in time or another, so if you find that this is something that you do or have done in the past, DO NOT be hard on yourself. But, if you do have some sort of expectation in these scenarios, you will always feel disappointed and let down whenever you do not get something in return.
Treat this as an opportunity for personal growth and development to better yourself. Remember, it is never ever too late to better yourself. In fact, each and every day you should strive to become a better version of yourself.
I could totally go on a whole spiel about self-improvement and bettering yourself, but I’ll save that for another blog post.
So, when is an appropriate time to have an expectation of something in return for your Ripples?
The answer to that, my friend, is never.
You shouldn’t do things for recognition or for something in return, do them because it’s the right thing to do. You need to do it from a place of sincerity, a place of wholeness, or a place from wanting to contribute to another human being in a positive manner.
Most of the time, a simple ‘thank you’ should be enough in return for your efforts towards creating positive Ripples.
If you make enough positive Ripples, you will be able to live a happier, more fulfilling life because you are contributing to the lives of others in a positive way, and ultimately helping to make society a better place. More people will come to you for help because they see you as reliable and as someone that does things out of the kindness of their hearts.
I am a firm believer that all Ripples you commit Ripple out and then come back to you some day. Maybe in ways you wouldn’t quite expect.
So, with that said, get out there and go create some positive Ripples. The world needs more kindness positivity, and that change can start with you.
Good luck, and as always…