We all run out of gas from time to time both literally and figuratively, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a little left to give. Just as a car can keep going when it hits E (for empty), so can you.

The challenge lies in what we believe we can provide and of course what we “assume” others expect from us.

Often times we freeze at the thought of giving someone something because it’s attached to a dollar amount or price tag. Since we all have money hang ups the size of Godzilla, it’s easy to see why we aren’t always quick to think of other solutions. Sometimes the answers aren’t as complex as we believe and don’t require a penny. In fact, a little insight matched with intent maybe all you need.

The insight is around the other person’s needs, while the intent is about you acting on it. It’s easy to have grand ideas – especially ones about giving to others but the follow through can be muddied by one’s own personal interest and ego. By putting the other persons needs at the forefront, especially when you feel you have nothing to give, is a sign of selflessness.

When you’re being selfless, you’re thinking of other people before yourself. If you give time, money, or things to other people without expecting something in return, that’s selfless.
Here are seven ways you can brighten someone’s day without spending a dime.

Give Appreciation. Expressing gratitude to someone for the things that they do for you can make them feel appreciated and validated. This single act can restore someone’s belief system that they are welcomed and needed while potentially building strong relationships and a greater sense of trust.

Give A Smile. A genuine smile has a sincere way of both conveying and promoting kindness, happiness, and trustworthiness. These qualities may be what the other person needs in order to open up and share something with you. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress.

Give Laughter. Making someone laugh causes people to disarm their emotions (albeit temporarily) and relax. Laughing instantly reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine, and increases the production of serotonin and endorphins which reduce effects of stress.

Give Your Presence. Most people listen to reply instead of understanding leaving a chasm of confusion and mistrust. Being fully present with another person is invaluable and provides something money could never buy…respect. When people feel respected, they are more likely to be open and transparent.

Give Encouragement. When you provide support, confidence or hope – you may just be giving someone that little extra push they need to get by or accomplish some objective. Consider it’s a spark that can motivate someone to take just one small step which in return maybe the biggest step of their life.

Give Your Time. Often times we need the help of others but are too afraid to ask for it. Instead of watching someone struggle or wait to be asked, simply offer up your time in service of someone else’s needs. They say time is money, well if that’s true – giving someone yours would be worth its weight in gold.

Give Them Space. Not passing on judgement on another person is almost (if not) impossible simply due to how our brains are hardwired. Science aside, not vocalizing what could only be construed as an insult and instead opting for silence, sympathy or even empathy as an alternative. Watching someone struggle or in pain is never easy but often times it’s needed so the person can begin both the healing and learning process.

Final thoughts: Happiness begets happiness. Numerous studies have shown that people who are happier tend be healthier, less stressed and more physical. It doesn’t take much to pay it forward. Making someone else happy simply boils down to authentically choosing to put someone else’s needs as a priority regardless of expecting anything in return or how you may look in the process.

The floor is yours: Have you ever given, without expecting anything in return – what happened?

With Leadership, Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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People bring a lot of things to work on a daily basis that they probably should just leave at home – ranging from their personal drama to their kids; but there’s one thing that should always be brought to the workplace and that’s your heart.

We always hear about leaders needing to have high EQ and IQ but all too often we forget about LQ.

Yes, LQ – aptly standing for Love Quotient or what I like to call the heart of this article.

Jack Ma was famously quoted about this earlier this year, “To gain success, a person will need high EQ; if you don’t want to lose quickly, you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected, you need high LQ — the IQ of love.”

The Love Quotient is the simple act of being kind towards people.

In the most basic way, it’s about bringing your heart to work and to the people you serve. Think servant leadership. Servant leaders look to take care of, and meet the needs of their colleagues, customers, communities and of course their employees. It’s about authentic service and showing up through the lens of vulnerability with the intention to make a difference in the lives of others. This in return can create deeper experiences for themselves and their employees.

Although the LQ may not be the most scientifically proven concept, it can be qualified if not quantified through the eyes and hearts of those they lead. As a boss/leader, showing you genuinely care must come from their heart. I’m not big on models but here was one that resonated deeply with this topic:

Human. You are human and if you want to lead others more effectively, they must see you as such. You make mistakes and you have weaknesses. When your team can see more of the real you, they are more likely to choose to follow.

Empathy. Often leaders try to be sympathetic, yet empathy is far more powerful. The best leaders “put themselves in the shoes” of others by thinking of similar situations, or sharing their own related situations.

Attitude. Attitude isn’t about logic, it is all emotion. It is OK to be disappointed and frustrated, and showing that to your team in small doses can be quite powerful. But they also need to see your positive passion and belief on display as often as possible.

Relationships. If you want to lead more effectively, find ways to connect with and get to know more about more of your team members. Remember that your goal isn’t to make friends, but rather to be friendly and genuinely interested in others. While there isn’t a formula, leading from your heart certainly includes building stronger and more lasting working relationships with others.

Trust. Trust is both a noun and a verb. If you want to build others’ trust in you (the noun), trust them more (the verb). In other words, to get more of the noun, do more of the verb.

Here are a few excellent ways I found online which you can start implementing with your team today. Check out the full list here.

Look for opportunities to help and support. Make it a habit to look for opportunities to help the people around you. Maybe it’s an official part of your job, leveraging your knowledge and skills in a way that has a positive impact on someone else’s job. Maybe it’s an unofficial role, like mentoring new hires. Or it could even be sharing knowledge and ideas with a co-worker around something in their life that has nothing to do with work.

Communicate healthily. How you communicate is one of the biggest ways to bring your heart to work. Does it open the door to connection and understanding, or does it feed conflict and divisiveness. Does it acknowledge the shared humanity of the other person, or does it make them an “other” to be dealt with? Does it encourage people to open up and fly, or shut down and protect themselves? Does it enable a healthy resolution of challenges, or does it pour fuel on them?
Express gratitude. Make it a point to sincerely thank people whenever the opportunity arises. This is a two-way street. The recipient gets the good feeling of being appreciated, and you get to bask in gratitude – a heart-based activity if ever there was one.
Acknowledge others. Along similar lines, sincerely acknowledging others’ efforts and achievements can be a way to work from the heart. It’s a validating and encouraging practice that requires little investment on your part, but has the potential to make a significant impact for the receiving party. And in the go-go, results-driven environment of today’s workplace, that kind of reinforcement is often all too infrequent.
Show patience. We live in an impatient culture. Showing patience is a gift of love. Not only does it create more space for your interactions to unfold positively, it also reduces the negative impact of impatience-driven conflict.
Connect. You don’t work with co-workers. You work with people. Opening yourself to connection with the people you work with takes you out of cogs-in-a-machine mode and creates the possibility of more meaningful experiences.
Final thought: Love for what you do, where you do it and ultimately love the opportunity to make a difference in another persons life whenever possible. The process begins within yourself as you can’t fake this. Take the time necessary to find the love within and then go out and give that back to your team.

The floor is yours: Should more leaders practice vulnerability?