Debra Swersky
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Meh On Impatience

Don Nelson, former coach and General Manager of the Dallas Mavericks, taught Mark Cuban that “The worst evaluator of talent is a player trying to evaluate himself.” Halfway through the book “Give and Take” I can understand that. I have spent the past few days struggling to identify with the “giver,” “matcher,” and “taker” labels. Here is (generally) how the book defines each type:

Giver: Someone who acts on behalf of others. 
Matcher: Someone who acts to receive something in return.
Taker: Someone who acts to get ahead for themselves.

I’m sure if you’ve read the book and you know me, you’ll be able to assess the situation pretty quickly. But, that’s the amazing and troubling thing about reading these types of books. I can imagine that everyone reading the book wants to identify themselves as the “giver.” It’s the person who succeeds in life, who takes the high road, who always does what’s right, and who is clearly the person who has the best interests of those around them in mind. I’d like to think that I’m that person 100% of the time. Am I? No, probably not. Am I right now? Yes, I think so. 

This past week I was having a “finances” discussion with the love of my life. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you’ll know that these types of conversations are typically among the most challenging and oftentimes come with just a shmear of emotion. As an Entrepreneur, the conversations feel worse because you know that you are working really hard and making progress, but you may or may not have made very much money in the process. (Thankfully, I consider myself very lucky to have significantly more internal than external financial pressure.) As a couple we were discussing my business-self transition to Dallas and how much time I am spending networking and talking to people and companies and… giving. I wasn’t complaining about my transition because for me it has been an exceptionally fun experience thus far, but financially, to my conversation partner, even without the financial pressure, I sounded “impatient” and received the sideways compliment of: “I admire your impatience.” (I was explaining my tenacity.)

I’m “meh” on impatience.

In reading “Give and Take” I’d like to think that at this current moment (today, yesterday, this week, since the move) that I have been nothing but a “giver.” I’d like to think that all of the networking and connecting and handing out of my business card that I’ve done has been selfless. In my heart it has. But the identification of “impatience” has caused me to re-think my modus operandi… for the better. Really, I’m not impressed (the definition of “meh”) with myself for conveying an attitude of “impatience.” That’s not very “giver” of me. As an Entrepreneur I’m going for persistent or determined… someone who is working really hard to give insight, expertise, and experience to better the growing Dallas start-up community (and beyond). Am I succeeding? To me, it’s unclear. But that just means that I have to keep giving… or continue to get feedback from others. (Thanks, Don!)

Anyway! I’m still working my way through “Give and Take,” and though I may be struggling with the definitions, I understand that its a great book because it’s causing me to really think deeply about how I interact with people and how I can be more “giver”-like. (And if you’ve read the book, enjoy the George Meyer “meh” reference.)

Debra Swersky