Helen Keller, an amazing woman who despite multiple physical limitations was anything but limited, believed that, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Liberators know this instinctively. They’re the people who enthusiastically share information, connections, business leads and anything else they can to make your career and life better – without expecting a single thing in return. Even when your own friends won’t share openly with you because they’re jealous, competitive or afraid that you’ll reject them if you don’t like what they have to say, Liberators never shy away from the truth. Why should they? They’re all about helping you realize your vision and you can’t do that without some honest feedback along the way. But, typically, they do it in such a way that even constructive criticism (which most of us secretly loathe) is empowering and, well, liberating. The wonderful thing is that Liberators are everywhere and sometimes all you have to do to find them is pick up the phone.

When I called Bob Burg, keynote speaker and author of Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver, to ask if he’d allow me to interview him for my Inspiring Excellence business podcast, I got an immediate yes. Not: “How many people does your podcast reach?” Not: “How is this going to benefit me?” Those are fair questions, by the way, and ones I’m routinely asked by potential interviewees for my podcast and the column I wrote for the Dallas Morning News. In fact, I sometimes ask those same questions myself before consenting to be interviewed. But not Bob, it’s not his style. Mind you, he’d never met me. In fact, I doubt he’d ever heard of me up until that point. But the answer was still a resounding yes.

I’d already read The Go-Giver, which is a deceptively simple but very powerful parable about a businessman who learns that before you can get you need to give, so I knew Bob’s personal philosophy. But that was a book and, although I know this may come as a shock, not every author (or CEO or politician or minister) walks their talk. So I was delighted to find out that Bob was the real thing. Not only did he give me a terrifically energetic interview filled with practical advice for executives and entrepreneurs, but it didn’t stop there. He invited me down to Orange County where he’d be speaking, so I could meet the big marketing honcho who was putting on the seminar because – get this – Bob thought I’d be a great addition to their organization. Hold the phone - I hadn’t even met the guy in person yet and he was already making connections on my behalf. I’m not much of a cynic, but I’ve been around the block a couple of times, so I have to admit there was a moment of “Who is this guy and what does he want from me?” As I soon discovered, none of that even crossed Bob’s mind. He was just doing what he does naturally and not just for me, but for lots of people.

Think about the people you know, the Bobs of the world, who are helping you liberate your life vision. When’s the last time someone came through with something truly meaningful – and totally unexpected – for you? When’s the last time someone did you a favor with absolutely no expectation that it be repaid? If it hasn’t happened in a while, or possibly ever, then maybe you’re too busy being a go-getter – make that a go-taker - instead of a go-giver. As Bob says, “Most of us have been taught to wait until you get before you give. But that’s bass-ackward. People who are winners understand that success is based on exactly the opposite concept – that you when you give genuinely, consistently and in abundance, you set energy in motion. Just by shifting the focus from finding people to support you to supporting other people, you actually end up attracting supporters.” It sounds paradoxical, but, as Bob says (and I agree), it’s not the least bit mumbo-jumbo. However, if your skeptic radar is on high alert, maybe you should make supporting other people a habit and then judge who’s reaping the rewards.

Are You a Liberator?

Let’s see if you are a Liberator by looking at how well you do when it comes to giving, rather than getting. Answer yes or no to the following questions on Liberator self-assessment.

In the past six months, I have:

1. Offered in-depth career advice to someone.
2. Helped a neighbor with a project related to their home, family, community or pets.
3. Donated time, money or physical goods to a charity.
4. Assisted a total stranger who was struggling in some way.
5. Connected someone with a doctor, dry cleaner, teacher, therapist or other person or service that that they needed.
6. Helped someone get a job.
7. Given a friend, neighbor, coworker or relative a gift (of time, energy, food or item) for no special reason.
8. Volunteered honest feedback, even though it might have put me on the spot.
9. Listened deeply to someone in need.
10. Made someone laugh really hard.

If you answered yes to eight or more of the questions above, good for you! You’re definitely a Liberator and chances are, you’re getting back even more than you’re giving (although you already know that that’s not the point). If you answered yes to four to seven questions, you’re well on your way to becoming a Liberator. Keep your focus on giving consistently and abundantly, and no doubt, you’ll start releasing positive energy and eventually be receiving plenty in return. If you answered yes to three or fewer questions, it’s time to forget about yourself, go read The Go-Giver and start actively looking for others you can support!

Author's Bio: 

An entertainment industry veteran, Libby Gill spent fifteen years heading public relations and corporate communications at Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Turner Broadcasting. She was also the branding brain behind the launch of the Dr. Phil Show.

Libby is now an internationally respected executive coach, speaker and bestselling author. She has shared her success strategies on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN, NPR, Oprah & Friends Radio Network, Fox News, CBS Early Show, and in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, O Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Self and many more.