Meetups, confusing generosity with an expected return

Break out of the free culture and stop expecting people to do stuff for free, but we all have to be the leaders that we want to see.

This ‘Gary Vaynerchuk’ approach of ‘give, give, give and then boom, sock it to ’em’ is a bastardised version of manipulation with expectation that turns to disappointment when those expectations are not fulfilled. That is the thing, be a kind, generous person by default and that is different to giving your work away for free.

Being generous is when you do something without expectation, with no conditions, sure there is an intention that you want to do something that makes you feel good, but the moment you add an expectation of others to the intention, then it becomes a manipulation, and that is not generosity.

So give, but give as defined with no expectation. As regards your work, again give your work away if that is simply to make you happy and bring that great feeling to you that true generosity brings, and if you always have the mindset of needing a return, then don’t give. But people are abusing this situation and all the time we allow it to happen, then we are supporting it to our detriment too.

If you run a workshop or a Meetup or you give your time, then do that just because you want to do it and then not charging is fine and totally the right thing to do. However, if you are doing those things with the purpose of achieving an expected outcome of more business, then charge for it, as then it is clear to others and to you that is a business transaction and that removes disappointment from you and it brings clarity to the attendees. It may put off the people who may just come for something free or may choose on the day to simply not bother, as you have managed their expectations of what you are offering and that is of value and that your time is of value. You are clear that there is an expected return.

A Meetup, for example, could be used to generate value or it can be a frustrating journey of wrong expectations and disappointments. It is not the attendees or lack of them that is a fault it is the person who organises the Meetup. Actually, it is not even a mistake, it is learning to value your time and not to confuse giving with an expected return.

Give because you want and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Create value because that is the outcome you want to achieve. You expect something back so charge for your work. Be clear.

Yippee, I’ve failed, let’s have a party


Meetup groups celebrating failure are as common now as groups celebrating success.

We have developed this fake bravado surrounding failure and the glib, celebrity style over trivialisation of failing is doing a lot of harm. It is seen as a cult-like thing to be brave enough to admit to failing.

True bravery is being vulnerable enough to be compassionate to ourselves.

Failure is a subjective thing, and it is a personal thing.

This idea that we should all be ‘macho’ and face up to failing in this immature way is wrong. It is an important part of all of our lives that needs to be handled thoughtfully.

Failure comes with a great deal of often painful emotions for the person who perceives that they have failed. There is no such thing as failure, there is a perception that you have failed. It is, however, an important and vital step to learning and personal advancement that needs to be handled sensitively and at our own pace. Not to be ignored or buried, certainly to be dealt with, but not trivialised like so many emotional things in our world.

We could instead choose a culture that promotes learning from less than desirable outcomes. We could instead promote empathy, compassion and a choice that sees outcomes as a chance to become better, a chance to adjust. It needs to be done in a properly structured a ‘safe’ environment, where people can be open and vulnerable in a non-judgemental, supportive and compassionate environment. Not over a bowl of nachos in a room full of randoms swapping ‘war’ stories to see who can blurt out the biggest fuckup to win the ‘I’m a failure’ rosette.

We could also choose to promote the success that is there in any outcome as nothing is so black or white as to be all a failure and all a success.

It is irresponsible, however, to almost try to bury and trivialise people’s emotions and challenges regarding their own interpretations behind a gloss of fake celebration of not achieving our expectations.

Empathy, learning and seeing the positives from outcomes will always outweigh this and will always build lasting transitions for people to a become a better version of themselves.

No good comes from seeing outcomes as a failure. What is good is to learn from the things that did not go as expected, to be kind to ourselves always and to pat ourselves on the back for what went right.

If you want to have a failure party, go ahead, but realise that you won’t feel better.