Balancing Give and Take

By Carey Conley

At any time during the year we can be challenged with the balance of giving and taking, but during the holidays it’s as if all bets are off. I suppose we just figure that if the balance is too hard to manage during the “normal” times of the year, we might as well just let it all go and start over on the magical day of January 1. It’s as if on that day balance will be restored without any internal effort on our part, which creates a vicious cycle year-round.

The imbalance of giving and taking shows up in all areas of our life, which universally looks likes a culture of people continually saying things like, “I never have enough time,” or “Tomorrow/next month/ next year I will finally get around to starting my dream.” You may be one of those people who “never have enough me time.”

For there to be any balance of giving and taking in your life (no matter the time of year or circumstances), it comes down to three essential disciplines: self-respect, boundaries, and staying true to yourself and your vision. I have been coaching and training for over 20 years and have mentored hundreds of people of all ages. I hear everyone’s issues, and I would have to say that, overwhelmingly, there is a severe lack of self-respect in most people. The imbalance of time, money and emotions is overboard to the extreme. They will give all they have, even when there is nothing left to give to someone else, but can look me straight in the face and tell me they would never invest that same time in themselves. And, we have a culture that rewards that behavior! Believe me when I say it is rewarding to have a servant’s heart, but there is a quote often replayed to me by a very good friend: “Give from the fruits, not from the roots.”

As you are letting that sink in, there is a flipside to saying no for the sake of balance. This philosophy does not permit you to back out of a commitment to others simply because you didn’t feel like it when the time came. This line of thinking stems from a lack of confidence. Selfrespect is valuing yourself as much as you do others; so when asked if you will give of your time, money or emotions to a relationship, you can clearly make your yes a yes, and your no a no from the get-go.

Lack of self-respect also shows up in having no boundaries set in your life; specifically around how much time you spend on certain things. Most people have serious problems with staying focused on the most vital parts of their life. There is an unbelievable imbalance in spending way too much time on the wrong things and giving to people who take the life right out of you. I challenge you to keep a journal for a week and record hour by hour what you did, the conversations you had, and how you felt. It may shock you to see how very little you are giving to the things that really matter and how much people are actually taking from you. If this is a problem, I suggest getting a really good day planner and time blocking each hour of your day to stay on track. You should also take things that don’t belong in your life right now off your calendar. Easier said than done, I know, but it makes a world of difference!

It all comes down to this: Maintaining true balance as much as possible between the give and take in life is knowing who you are, where you are going, and what your core values are. If you have never sat down to very explicitly write out a vision of what you intend your life to look like (I suggest thinking about three years out from now), you will continue to be off kilter. You have no “North Star” to follow, no plan in place to be able to make better decisions with your time, and most especially you will continue to fill up your days with the things (and people) that don’t belong for now.

I have seen miraculous things happen in the lives of the people who work on this, and I believe miracles will happen for you, too!

Carey Conley is the co-creator of Infinite Nation and can be reached at (720) 331-8693,, or by visiting Join Carey’s Facebook group and network with entrepreneurs who lead with vision by visiting

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