This blog is intended to create a dialogue about learning to receive with grace and ease.

So much has been written about the importance of giving that we forget that in order to give,

someone has to be receiving.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Want to Give More? Start Receiving!

One of my favorite spiritual resources is H. Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth, written in 1896. In a discussion of finding the secret place, Cady describes prayer and meditation as an opportunity to receive. It is from this practice that we receive peace, wisdom, joy, answers, and so forth. But she cautions readers not to spend too much time in this receiving mode, noting that Jesus received and then went out into the world to give.

This example got me to thinking that we cannot give what we have not received. When we think of Jesus, we typically don’t see him as a receiver, but rather as the ultimate giver. Yet he could not have given over and over if he had not taken the time to reconnect and receive from “the Father.” Scripture is filled with episodes where Jesus went apart from people to be alone and pray. He knew and demonstrated this simple truth for us: take time to receive, then you’ll be able to truly give.

According to, burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term exposure to demanding work situations. Burnout is the cumulative result of stress. Three of the five most likely causes of burnout directly or indirectly involve an imbalance between giving and receiving. They are: identifying so strongly with work that you lack a reasonable balance between work and your personal life, trying to be everything to everyone, and working in a helping profession, such as health care, counseling, teaching or law enforcement.

When I work with people to create greater work-life balance, it isn’t the work side that needs shoring up. Have you ever known anyone suffering from work-life imbalance who needed to work more? No, it’s usually that they’ve given so much for so long that they’re depleted. Many of these folks resist the opportunities they have to receive, exacerbating the problem. If this sounds familiar, check out my wellness blog of September 24 for ways to restore your work life balance, receive what you need, and restore your ability to give.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking the “Hits”

Last time we looked at the characteristics of wide receivers, people who receive for a living. Wide receivers are players on a football team that the quarterback throws the ball to. The best wide receivers are quick, agile, able to concentrate and shut out distractions, and ready and able to take a hit.

Quarterbacks depend on wide receivers for their success. If the ball is not caught, the play is incomplete and the quarterback has failed. Worse yet, if the ball is caught by the opposing team (intercepted), the quarterback has actually hurt his team. So a strong connection and effective communication between the quarterback and the wide receiver is essential. The quarterback relies on the wide receiver doing everything he can within the rules of the game to receive what the quarterback gives, the pass. Can you imagine a football game with a wide receiver who resisted receiving?

Another key component to being a competent wide receiver is the willingness and ability to take a hit. Wide receivers are the focus of the opposing team’s players. They do all they can to prevent him from receiving, and when he does, they tackle him to the ground. Can you imagine your competition at work literally taking you down after you made a sale or delivered a service? Yet that is exactly what the wide receiver endures, over and over.

Should you expect to take any hits as you receive? Quite possibly, unfortunately. It’s not uncommon for lottery winners to find they have strained or even severed relationships with greedy family members or jealous co-workers. Even after sharing their good fortune, some continue to get hit with requests, pleas, and expectations from other people, sometimes even strangers. As a human resources director, I often counseled newly promoted supervisors about how to handle “hits” they got from envious co-workers who did not get the job or simply resented a peer receiving a promotion. Likewise at work, people and teams that get attention, compliments or praise for a job well done can receive unjustified criticism from others who feel overlooked or frustrated.

I encourage you to keep the wide receiver in mind should you find yourself receiving uncalled-for hits when you receive. Remember, it’s just part of the process. The wide receiver endures the hits because he has prepared for them and expects them. He isn’t insulted or discouraged by the hits, and neither should you be. Jealously and resentment stem from scarcity thinking, and your willingness to receive is one of the best gifts you can give to heal humanity of its lack and limitation consciousness.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Characteristics of a Good Wide Receiver

Would you like to learn how to be a better receiver? Why not learn from people who do it for a living – wide receivers? According to Wikipedia, a wide receiver in American and Canadian football is the pass-catching specialist. Wide receivers are among the fastest and most agile players in the game, and they are frequently featured in the game highlights. Let’s look at what makes a good wide receiver and see if we glean any tips on how to improve our own ability to receive.

Football coaches emphasize speed as the number one quality of top wide receivers. They need to be able to get up to speed immediately and to change direction without losing speed, as well. However, if speed is not a strength, this can be offset by “precise pattern execution, complete focus on the ball when it is thrown his way, and the ability to get away from defensive players or find the holes between zone coverages” (

To be successful, a wide receiver must be able to concentrate during each step of the play and ultimately shut all else out as he focuses on the ball coming toward him. Then he must be ready to “take a hit” after catching the ball. Finally, he must be in strong enough condition to do this over and over during the game.

Doesn’t sound very easy, does it? Considering the characteristics and skills described above in terms of receiving in general, I think agility and concentration apply the most. Recognizing that what you are seeking may appear differently than you expected requires agility in your thinking. It also may show up sooner than you think or when you least expect it, such as meeting the love of your life in the produce department of the supermarket. Staying focused on what your ultimate goal is, in spite of distractions, delays, and obstacles, is certainly a form of concentration.

As football season opens, let’s give this more thought. Next time I’ll look at the relationship between the quarterback (the give) and the wide receiver and what it means to “take a hit.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Having Trouble Receiving? Have You Asked?

It’s seems obvious, but I need to ask. Those of you who need or want something and haven’t received it, have you asked? It’s amazing how often we feel that others should just know what we need without being told. It doesn’t work that way.

People are pulled in as many directions as you are. There are so many draws on our attention. How can we possibly expect others to just anticipate our needs? Realistically, we can’t. Even Jesus advises us to ask. “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks” (Matthew 7:7-8, Contemporary English Version).

Sometimes the problem is that we ourselves are not clear about what we want. I remember one time when I was a human resources director having a conversation with another director. He was experiencing trouble getting his assistant to offer the administrative support he desired. I asked him if she knew what he wanted. He thought for a moment and said, “no.” The way he responded prompted me to ask him if he knew what he wanted from her, and again he thought for few seconds and replied, “not really.” It’s no surprise then that she wasn’t able to meet his needs.

What is it you seek? It could be as simple as the opportunity to state your views, have some quiet time, or get some help with the dishes. Maybe it’s how you spend your birthday or Father’s Day. Or it could be something grander, such as a life partner or new career. Whatever it is, get clear about what you want first. Then determine to whom you need to make your request. Telling John that Susie doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise will not help – tell Susie! Stating our needs and desires is very empowering for us and very helpful for those around us. Give it a try. You might be surprised how willing people are to fulfill your request.