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February 16, 2009


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Susan Martin

I agree, we've all contributed to the current mess we're in, and it will probably take all of our efforts to get us out.

Delivering solid value has always been at the core of the business coaching services I provide, it seems the only ethical way to go, and aint bad for building client loyalty, word of mouth referals and client ROI too :) Thank you for putting words to concept!

Question: If we were all to engage in "contribution mode", would we be able to more readily affect postive change?

Joan Bell

Hi Robert,

I too am from Australia and don't feel excluded at all. I found it very interesting that you associate abundance with financial wealth and having it all. I believe I have it all and yet financially to some I would appear lacking.

Over 20 years ago now I had an "aha" moment in which I decided to live MY life on MY terms. I completely changed my lifestyle, beliefs, habits etc. which took a while but the result was that I fairly quickly began to BE the person I wanted to be.

I enjoy giving to the planet, nature, animals as well as mankind and when I started coaching I just continued with that ethic and this has led me to the colleagues I wanted to spend time with, the clients I wanted to coach and I am slowly building the business I want to have whilst living the life I love.

Abundance to me is just having gratitude for everything in life but particularly nature and what it can teach us. Having "stuff" has never been important to me and maybe that is why this downturn as some are calling it hasn't really effected me personally and in fact I view it as a blessing in which the Western world in particular has a chance to re-assess what is important in their lives.

Thank you Robert, a great debate!

Robert Middleton

Hi Mark,

You're quite right! Thanks for the heads up!

Thanks to everyone else for their comments. This article certainly hit a nerve!


Michelle Segar

All of my work is done in contribution mode because not only are my coaching clients better served but I feel like I'm living how I should. Here's an example from yesterday: I was beginning to review my clients' data from the previous week. (I have an evidence-based 4-session coaching program for women to develop intrinsic and long-term motivation to exercise that follows a specific method and system.) From her initial comments, I immediately knew that she needed to address an issue that was not part of the formal second session. Immediately, I knew that if we didn't deal with her lack of entitlement to self-care that we'd be wasting the session. After not following my protocol for 15 minutes, I decided, and informed her that I was gifting her this session so we could address her greatest needs now, and we would return to the formal 4-week protocol next week. While I may not have made any income from this decision, it was what was in her greatest interest and thus in mine.

Michelle Segar,

Ioan Nicut

Hi Robert, Friends including from Australia, ;-)

I can see what you have been calling the abundance mode... the greedy mode...

When I am in the contribution mode, I enjoy giving value to others. I ensure they understand and perceive the value. We have fun together, we grow together, we enjoy our relationship.

We can enjoy ourselves and our little pleasures. Reading, Listening music, learning new things, evolving, growing.

Who needs a Ferari to grow? Who needs an empire to grow?

If I let the light shine on you CLIENT I will shine as well. If I help you set yourself free MY CLIENT, I set myself free. If I witness you my CLIENT be fulfilled and live your values, I am fulfilled. I get my reward when I see you my client be happy. I live a more than decent life. I live it as a consequence of my behavior.

This is what I call contribution mode!

Thanks for the opportunity to share with you my Friends from Terra.

BTW, I am from Romania. ;-)

Namaste Y'all!



Mark A. Coudray

Robert, Very timely, but I think you need to go further with this. One of the reasons neither Scarcity nor Abundance are the answer is because they don't account for the multiplying effect of local reinvestment. You're on to this with the Contribution element.

Really, this is nothing more than "Trickle Down Economics" in the sense if everyone passed on some of their gain, we would see a factorial type of benefit to the economy. If each person passed on 10%, you would end up with something like 10 * 9 * 8. . . with each economic earning cycle. If we horde (Abundance or Scarcity) and don't pass it on, the economy stops. Pretty much like it is now.

I think the current stimulus is the right idea in the wrong clothes. The money needs to be in the hands of the small businesses with 10 employees or less that make up 97% of current US employment. They're the real lubricant to the economy at the LOCAL level. When we earn and spend locally, everyone in our community benefits. When some giant Corp earns, who knows where it goes.

It's our responsibility to this country and to our communitites to turn off the TV and the negative talking heads and do something. Your efforts here are the most concrete and actionable thing you could be doing. Bravo and let's all step up our efforts.

Melissa King

Thanks for the integrity in this article. I appreciate the balanced, realistic, honest approach!

Sue Trumpfheller

Speaking of Abundance, hope your river doesn't rise too high. I appreciate your comments as I have been writing on the same topic and looking for the give and take of the word. We are at a place in our history..around the world where it is necessary to look at values and ethics. What brings the "balance" and joy in our everyday life and still supports the planet?

Michelle Wood


I have never bought into the "you can have it all" idea....I'm much too cautious.....but that's exactly what happened.

My focus has always been to provide the service that will give the most value to a client. If you give, you will receive.

Thanks for a good article, Robert.

Milli Thornton

Robert, thank you for putting this oh-so refreshing concept into words as a timely reminder.

For a while, I'd been listening to a mentor who was pushing me to "expand my conduit" to allow more abundance to flow in. The advice was quite good, actually, but I figured out (after trying what she said) that it's not right for me. It was not even addressing my current issues; it was pulling me away from those. And doors were closing instead of opening.

In my quest to help writers overcome their fears and believe in themselves, I've been service-oriented for the past nine years. but I also reached a point where I realized I was going too far in one direction with that. I was neglecting my own writing dreams to foster the dreams of others.

When this hit me forcibly in ways that could not be denied (depression and other emotional symptoms that made it very hard to proceed) I made some adjustments to get closer to that balance you're speaking of.

Now I'm doing more of what I love. Down the road, there's a possibility my income might increase dramatically as a result. But $$ is not the focus. Passion for what I'm doing (and stretching myself to learn and grow) is.

Donna Gunter

Hi Robert--

Thanks for hitting the nail on the head! I know from experience that scarcity doesn't work, and while the abundance mode seems exciting, there was always a downside for me.

As I would put myself in the shoes of other online entrepreneurs who regularly regale others with tales of their Internet wealth -- the expensive houses, the fancy cars, the luxurious trips, and numerous other "toy" purchases -- I simply got tired.

I've lived the life maintaining the big house and lots of "stuff," and I find it pretty exhausting.

Of course, my attitude about abundance and how it's defined in the world makes it pretty tough for me to market competitively with others who teach Internet marketing. I really don't want to cater to the mentality of the bazillions of dollars you can make and all the junk you can accumulate. When I see others talking about how rich they are (i.e. how much stuff they have), I have to wonder how much time, effort, and energy it takes to maintain all of that? Or the biz owner who's making 7 figures but has a team of 10 assistants/associates to make that happen?

I'm all for the simple life and finding "wealth" (contribution) on your own terms. Perhaps I'm lazy, but I like a pretty uncomplicated life..LOL


Most excellent article again Robert. The middle way is the wise and mature route.

I appreciate how you've made an almost seamless transition to Contribution as your key theme.

I am fortunate that as a nurse turned speaker/author I am deeply embedded in a "how can I help you?" mentality.

I am probably at fault for going too far in that direction and am now learning how to ask for the sale.

Thanks again Robert, for your levelheadedness.

AKA The Wake Up Guy

michael cardus

what you call contribution mode I have been calling abundancy!
Providing value to others and increasing the value and the others increases your ability to serve customers in larger scales. Abundancy is not just "giving away" it is deliver value to as many as feasably possible.
Currently with my consulting firm I offer a value to clients that is measurable and definable then some.
Instead of charging by the hour and having my clients constantly checking the clock or being hesitant to call me for fear of a billable hour, we charge a we for the project and require constant communication and weekly meeting (if not more) of our progress and areas for improvement (client and myself) this is in line with contribution.
A great book that I read that is about this contribution mode that you mentioned in called "The Go-Giver"

Carol A. Briney

As usual in my opinion you are right on the money. I am in the MLM / Home based business industry. I have been in this industry in one way or another for over 15 years watching all the get rich schemes, the me first schemes, front loading schemes etc. All the stuff that gives this glorious industry a bad name. What I love about this industry is that there is true residual, reproductive income if you know where to look. It is important to find a company that truly has the interest of the people at heart. It is important that the company itself serves a real need for people not just a whim. I also love the fact that I can only move ahead and do better as I help others to do the same. I love to help people "get-it” Most often it takes moving outside of their comfort zone. As Elbert Einstein said, "You can not fix a problem with the same consciousness that created it." Being of services to others is the only way to go in this world. Thank you for all you do!
You are appreciated!


Greetings from Australia.
I stopped reading when I hit "But you and I, the American consumer, are equally responsible."
Here's a topic for your next blog; "how to exclude readers very quickly. Assume they all come from the same place."

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