Build Relationships With Your Gift Giving this Year

We are in the full swing trying to find the best holiday gifts for all the many wonderful December holidays. Each year I watch all year long for unique gifts for family and friends. Both my wife and I want people to know we think well enough of them to choose thoughtful items.

Today I thought back to a wonderful chat with my friend, John Ruhlin, and what I learned from the podcast we did together last May. John has been a friend for 20-plus years and I am still amazed at the insights I learn from him and what a special place I have in my heart for him. Listen here.

No one explains the concept better than John Ruhlin — about how lousy gift-giving can damage relationships and how good ones can give you an edge in lasting positive vibes that project relationships forward.

So, John Ruhlin gave me a gift years ago — he told me I had a genius — and I didn’t believe it. He kept pushing me, and maybe I’m patting myself on the back here beacuse I finally did something with what John was saying to me. I’ll be forever grateful for that gift — thanks, John!

John Ruhlin the Introvert?

You would certainly not know it today, but John was an introvert and was able to figure out how to use his power of gift-giving to make and keep connections with quality people. How can that be? John tells us how when you give something that is truly thoughtful or meaningful — it will be a lasting “heart-hit” that will win someone over and keep the folks that are already yours.

Collecting Relationships and the Power of Your Peer Group

I’m not a big collector of “stuff.” Years ago I decided to collect relationship and then look for ways to make and collect experiences with those relationships. John is a really great at networking, and taught me a lot about finding the “baby birds” in my relationships. You ask the quesiton, “Who could benefit from me nudging them and kicking them out of the nest — to build the dreams they have been talking about on their own?”

Part of the power of your peer group is finding the best Mastermind people, finding great mentors and coaches so that you can not only become your best self, but because of your efforts, you can find better business opportunities.

Expanding Beyond the Gift-Giving in Relationships

When you are in business you must watch for opportunities to grow the business and that includes business relationships. When you are a trusted individual your business relationships also develop from trust. Many will say, “we love your site or podcasts — can I get your advice?” When you give business advice that can lift another individual in their business, you have given a priceless gift that gives for a long time.

I’ve always work on being in the right room — but John taught me a metaphor about watching for the right course and the right jockey — you have to watch for more than the right room. As you build your relationships with gifts in the right room — sometimes the right jockey will appear that knows the right course. These only appear if there is an actual, real realationship. And you won’t know which ones these are until you have invested a little piece of your heart. You have to take a chance in the beginning — and don’t count anyone out.

Where to Spend Your Hard-Earned Cash

Another lesson that John Ruhlin and I have discussed many times are the experiences where the principle of gift-giving is talked about. People learning the principle are confused, sometimes, about who to give their gifts to. They ask, “will it work here? Will it work there? Will it work in tech, or in this field or that field?” John always answers something like, “if gifts are given to human beings, then it will work.”

It doesn’t matter what company or business you are in — the correct gift giving works. BUT, it’s not about the gift — it’s about the relationship. Here’s what John and I talked about — he said,  “It’s not about the industry, it’s about the mindset of the leader — it’s about how that leader shows up for his people.”

John tells of speaking to a business and they were thinking about a gift for people who had worked for them for five years. The leader may say, “Hey, you worked with us for five years, here’s your gift card. Go buy your own gift.” Really, like John says — that’s not a gift, that’s an obligation and sort of embarrassing.” You are saying to this loyal soul, “you just put in 10,000 hours at our company — go buy your own $50 gift.”

What Reaction  Are You Looking For?

What is so strange to relate here is that, as I just wrote that sentence — I was immediately “pts’d” into a different time-warp with some weird left-over feeling of when I’ve been so dismissed somewhere. Maybe high school, maybe somewhere else. So, those gifts we give or don’t give have lasting value. What you are going for is the “good” lasting value.

Who’s Loyal to You?

As John says, “I need to be different than everybody else (in gift giving) and I need to appreciate these people or else, I’m not going to have them.” That’s how to have people be loyal to you.

The Holidays

As I’m gift giving this year for the holidays — it’s my hope, and sort of a quest — like every year — to do this gift giving thing better than I did last year. When I include my wife in discussing the choices, together we find must more thoughtful gifts and even more people we want to appreciate. My wife helps me fill in WHO will profit the most from some extra watch-care, and we gift these special individuals.

Appreciation is a huge key in your mindset process. I’ve also learned that you want to avoid consumables because those things are gone so quickly. Try to think about and find items that will stays and last for a long tme. I also watch for items that will get used more frequently.


One of the favorite things I’ve learned from John Rulin is to watch for times outside of “have-to-gift-times” like birthday’s and holidays. A surprise and unexpected gift can lift people. I’ve found that when I think about someone — the universe may be telling me they need some attention, and I hurry and do the gift thing.

How will you build your relationships with gift-giving appreciation in this next year? I challenge you with a gift-quest in 2022? Do better! And please let me know.

Image Credit: Matheus Bertelli; Pexels; Thank you!

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