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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

The Greatest Gifts We Receive

By Chuck Cusumano and Jillian Broaddus

When we think about gifts that we have received, all too often the first thing that comes to our mind are tangible gifts – physical objects that we give and receive to mark special occasions, to express gratitude, or to show our love and appreciation to those around us. But what if the most valuable gifts in life are not tangible at all? What if the most meaningful gifts are those that cost nothing, yet require the utmost care and courage to give? Yes, we are talking about the gift of someone's time and their honest feedback. Unpack these two concepts, and you will find that they are not only invaluable, but most often are truly transformative.

The Gift of Time:

We believe that time is so valuable that we have blogged about it numerous times in the last 4 years! It also happens to be one of the main deliverables we give to our clients as a consulting, coaching, and training company. In the span of the universe, our existence is but a blink, making the time we have incredibly valuable. Whether it is a shared meal, a heartfelt conversation, a meeting to collaborate, or mutual efforts towards a common goal, the time others devote to us is a gift beyond measure.

Time is non-renewable; it cannot be saved, bought, or manufactured. When someone gives you their time, they are sharing a piece of their life they will never get back. It is an act of love, care, and dedication, reflecting their commitment and interest toward you or your cause. This form of generosity provides an opportunity for connection, growth, and learning. Therefore, it is our responsibility to value this gift, acknowledging its importance and reciprocating with our full presence and gratitude.

In today’s fast-paced world, time is often equated with money. But arguably, time is more valuable. Money, after all, can be earned, saved, and spent repeatedly. Time, once passed, can never be reclaimed. When someone gives you their time, they are - in essence - offering you a portion of their life. They are signaling that you matter enough for them to pause their own journey and focus on you or your journey. We contend that when someone invests their life in yours, it is an act of selflessness. Accept it as that and display the appropriate gratitude for the gift you have received.

The Gift of Honest Feedback:

Feedback - when offered with sincerity and good intention - is an indispensable tool for personal and professional growth. It acts as a mirror that reflects our strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots, pushing us towards becoming better versions of ourselves.

Unlike flattery or empty praise, honest feedback, even if uncomfortable, can catalyze growth. It is a symbol of trust, showing us that the person believes in our capacity to accept and implement change. By illuminating the areas we need to improve, feedback empowers us to tackle our shortcomings and reinforces our commitment to constant improvement.

However, it is equally important to discern between constructive criticism and negative feedback masquerading as honesty. Constructive feedback helps us progress, while harmful criticism can erode our self-esteem. Understanding this difference enables us to utilize feedback effectively without letting it undermine our self-worth. However, many of us resist any type of feedback because we interpret it all as negative, and we have been hurt by it in the past. Therefore, when we resist honest feedback, we lose the opportunity to grow and mature. Additionally, when we are resistant to feedback, the person on the other end of the conversation becomes less forthcoming and - eventually - the relationship becomes less rich or even ceases to exist because of a lack of trust.

Honest feedback, whether in the form of a critique, advice, or a simple opinion, is truly a precious gift. It reflects our willingness to risk the comfort and safety of a relationship to help someone else grow. It takes courage to give honest feedback. And possibly even more to accept and act upon it. If either party ceases to give or receive this gift, a wedge is driven between the relationship and the ability to effectively communicate causes the partnership to diminish.

How To Not Squander These Gifts:

Recognizing the value of these gifts is the first step.

The next step is ensuring we do not waste them! When someone grants you their time, engage fully. Be present, listen, and appreciate the moment. Let go of distractions and offer your complete attention. Respect their time as you would your own, honoring the commitment they have made and the courage they are displaying by risking the harmony of the relationship to help shine a mirror on our actions.

When you receive honest feedback, welcome it with an open mind and heart. Resist the urge to become defensive or dismissive. Instead, see it as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow and improve. Implement the advice where appropriate and thank the giver for their time and honesty.

Both time and feedback require a certain degree of vulnerability. They involve opening ourselves up and making a conscious investment in another person. To waste those gifts is to disregard the efforts of the giver and the potential benefits we could derive from them.

Ultimately, the gift of someone's time and their honest feedback are precious life resources. They create pathways for personal growth, strengthen relationships, and contribute to a fulfilling life journey. By honoring and appreciating these gifts, we foster an environment of mutual respect, learning, and growth. Enhancing not just our lives, but the lives of all of those around us.

Practice giving and receiving these gifts, for if you become proficient at this, we promise you will have a richer and fuller workplace, home life, and community of people around you!

If you need additional assistance in giving or receiving these gifts, reach out to us at We would love to invest some time and feedback into your life!

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