Emma Brown

I’ve always been happier giving than receiving. Now I’m learning the art of accepting.

Gracious in receipt

I must admit that I’ve always been a lot more comfortable with giving than receiving. As a child, I would spend all my pocket money on lollies for my younger brother and sister. At Christmas, I would make sure everyone got at least five presents from me. It’s me. It’s what I do. I just love to give.

It’s funny how that conditioning (be it innate or learned) has stayed with me throughout my business career.

I find it hard to see why my committee members at Business Chicks give of their time to help out. I also have an ongoing struggle at my monthly meetings with my mentor. I sit there looking at this man who has built multi-million dollar businesses thinking, ‘Why is he doing this for me?’ and have to resist the temptation to try and give him something in return. He assures me he gets something from being with me, and that’s enough.

I was interstate for the day yesterday and forgot the power cord to my laptop. My battery had died by the time my flight landed. Huge inconvenience. I took a chance and between meetings ducked into a computer store to see if they had a suitable one. They didn’t but as I was leaving the shop, a fellow customer stopped me and asked what type of laptop I had. I pulled it from my briefcase and he said “Look, we use those. Let me go back to my office and get you one”. I could not believe the kindness of this stranger. He drove back to his office and returned 15 minutes later, cord in hand.

When he made the initial offer I was so close to saying, ‘Oh no, don’t do that, it will be OK’, but I’m so glad that I chose to receive his help. We’ve since exchanged about 10 emails, and he has introduced me to people who are interested in my business. I am sure I’ll be able to help him in some way too in addition to the chocolates I sent to him (along with his power cord!).

People offer help as their way of reaching out. By learning to accept this help we enrich our lives and enhance our businesses.

PS: Thanks, Oliver.

Emma Brown, at 27, has bought two businesses and sold one. She is Chief Chick of Business Chicks, Australia’s leading community for women. She’s on the board of Entrepreneurs Organisation, and lives in Sydney with her fellow entrepreneur partner.


Jodie Benveniste at Littlebundle.com.au writes:  I could not agree more. For some reason I find it easy to help others, but I feel like I’m putting others out if they help me. I seriously need to get over it though, because sometimes I don’t ask when I should. Anyone got any tips?


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