July 2014
Vol 7, Issue 7           
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter

Dear ,

Jan on a swing in the park "Summertime and the Livin' is Easy"!  I hope you all have had some time to relax, have fun and enjoy the sunshine. I recently had an amazing 4 day trip up the coast to a cabin with no cell phone signal and no internet - what a treat to be able to fully unplug. I came back renewed, refreshed and invigorated after devoting a full 4 days to me.  

Giving to others and giving to my business has been my focus for several years and the personal effects of that giving have not always been positive. It sparked my feature article below - about what happens when we "overgive" at our own expense.  


To your brilliance, 

  Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC  

  Professional Certified Executive Coach   

   Creative Coaching Group    e:jan@creativecoachinggroup.com 

Feature Article: Are you a Serial Giver? 

pensieve-computer-lady.jpg Serial Giver [def] - One who habitually and repeatedly indulges in a pattern of giving to others and giving of self, often at expense of self, and out of proportion with the amount one receives from others


One of the 4 tenets of the Strength Deployment Inventory (R) , an effective communication and relationship awareness tool, is that a weakness is simply an overdone or misapplied strength (either actually overdone, or overdone through the filter of someone elses lens). When we get attached to, stuck on, or over-rely on use of a particular strength, there can be some serious negative repercussions.


Generosity of time, energy and spirit is a good thing - and it's an admirable quality to give to others. However, if your GIVING strength is overdone, or perceived by others as being so, then it could be causing more harm than good. If being a serial giver is causing your life to be lopsided and out of balance, with you coming last, then it is time to make a shift. There has to be a balance between giving and receiving.


My client Sue came to me desperately looking for a way to add some 'space' to her life. A high-profile CEO with responsibility for a large staff group and a national client base, she naturally gave to others in business. At home she gave to her two school-age children. She gave to her church, was on more than 3 not-for-profit boards, and was a very active volunteer mentor for young women in business. And somehow, the active family Jack Russell terrier was her responsibility as well. In fact, there was such a volume of things in her life that SHE was responsible for that it literally meant that she had no time for herself. As a result she felt pressured, stressed, and ultimately resentful and unfulfilled. Sue was a serial giver and was feeling the adverse effects of her overdone strength of GIVING.


Are you a Serial Giver?


Step 1 The Awareness Quiz

Awareness is the first step to change. Understanding where and why you give can help you shift. Answer the following questions to help you understand the overdone, or healthy balance of your giving nature.

  • Do you frequently say "I will do it" when no one else volunteers?
  • Do you often find yourself doing things you don't want to if it will please or help others?
  • Do you squeeze in time for yourself around your commitments to others?
  • Do you have difficulty in accepting other people giving to you?

Step 2 The Hazards of Over-Giving (or, why you may want to change)

Over-giving and allowing the needs of everyone to take priority leaves you with no time or space to take care of yourself. You can become resentful, overwhelmed or burnt out when your needs aren't being met. (If you never say NO, what's your YES worth?)


Over-giving can set up a paradigm of independence for you and give the impression to others that you never need any support. Sadly, when you do one day inevitably need that support, people won't know that you do or recognize that or know what to do. It sets you up badly.


Giving only out of a sense of obligation can also do a disservice to others. There is lots of negative energy in that motivation and wouldn't they be better off having someone who really wanted to give to them, give to them?


Over-giving can disempower others by not allowing them to step up and take charge

(Ironically, giving too much can hurt those you are giving to in the long run more than help them.) Ask yourself if you are really helping by or over-giving.


Step 3 The GIVING Litmus Test

Before you give, run yourself through the following questions:


1/ Am I GIVING freely because I want to (vs. I "should")

If the answer is yes, then go ahead! As long as it does not impact #2 on a frequent basis.


2/ Am I GIVING at the expense of myself?

Think about what that could mean for you. Remember - like the oxygen mask on the plane, where we are instructed to put the mask on ourselves before we help other people - if we are dead, we won't be able to help anyone. In other words - take care of yourself and you will be able to help and take care of others even more fully.


3/ Am I GIVING because I am hoping to get something back?

Giving with an expectation of attachment is ALWAYS the wrong reason to give. Instead, feel the liberation of giving freely.


Step 4 The Shift Exercise 

Write a list of every place you are giving your energy - either time, physically or emotionally -all of your activities, volunteer or otherwise, relationships. Run yourself through the litmus test above and ask yourself if you are giving for the right reasons. Flag those areas or activities in which you are either over giving or giving for the wrong reasons.


Then look at those over-giving areas and ask yourself:

  • Is there a way to shift or lessen the amount of my giving?
  • Is there a way to set up that relationship or activity differently so my needs are being met?
  • What might emerge if I shifted in that area?  
  • Could I un-obligate myself? Could I say no?  What would it take for me to ask for support?

Happy Shifting!

Lightbulb of the Month

blue lightbulb


"Offering serves a perceived need. Inviting lets you share
the extra value you have to give."

                                                - Thomas Leonard

About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley square Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to maximize their performance potential. Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory TM. 

3rd edition of Jan's book  

Jan's popular book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and this 3rd edition includes a bonus 50-page Action Guide download. Purchase the book online at www.harmonyfromtheinsideout.com


Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide.  PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763 

                           email: jan@creativecoachinggroup.com


Quick Links
Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
Jan's work with BarbershoppersInner Coach of Barbershop
Jan's popular bookHarmony From the Inside Out
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