At the beginning of this week I sent a lot of information to a guy whose company had asked about a particular thing I knew something about. Knowing something about it though and having it in writing were two different things, so I spent about 4 hours searching online for the proof I needed to send to these people. What I didn't do is discuss money or payment up front, since they said they needed the information quickly, because I didn't think it would take me as long to find the information as it did. This means I'm probably not going to get paid for it since there's no contract for the work.

by the U.S. Navy via Flickr

I've had others tell me that I'm being stupid (though not necessarily that specific word) for giving away so much information without getting paid for every bit of it. Some have said that I give away so much information on this blog that people have no reason to hire me to work with them. I've been told the same thing about my newsletter. One guy specifically told me that if I wasn't generating money from my newsletter after six months that I was wasting my time; I've been writing my newsletter for 9 years and never made a dollar off of it.

I want to make money as much as the next person, lots of it. Yet I never have set myself up to be someone who wouldn't give anything if money wasn't on the table. Yes, I have given a lot away for free, and yes, many people have benefited, even monetarily, from advice I've given them without my getting paid for it.

Truthfully, most of the time I haven't even thought about it, but maybe I should. When one guy I gave a free coaching to told me that he'd signed a contract with $85,000 about 2 weeks after we'd talked, I didn't necessarily expect to be paid for helping him focus on doing it, but I guess I had expected that, somewhere, he'd have written a testimonial of some sort thanking me for helping him. Sure, coaching is confidential, but I guess I saw it as more of business consulting after the fact.

But that's just how I am. I figure I'll get my money and recognition when people really value what I might help them do; everyone has a different way of evaluating value. I don't see myself changing all that much, although I do recognize I have to keep a better watch on how much I'm restricting my own income.

When it comes to being a leader, though, there can't be any thoughts except in being altruistic to those who report to you. If you want things done correctly and you want the people in your office, or wherever you work, feeling motivated and confident in what they do, you have to be selfless and available and encouraging. You can't expect that any of them will thank you for being that way or will even notice that you're doing things for them.

Instead, you have to feel your own sense of accomplishment in doing the right thing, as well as be pleased when your production numbers are looking great and you know the part you played in it. The more selfless you are in business, the more you'll end up getting back from it if managed properly.

Compare being selfless versus being stupid in this case; which one do you think will bring the most benefit back to you?