Opening Yourself Up To Receiving

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Steve Miller Band Concert

I’m writing this from seat 9B on a flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis, heading home with Bill after a 26-hour whirlwind mini-vacation. The trip was chock full of opportunities to “receive.” And let me tell you, it was quite a valuable lesson.

We’ve all heard the mantra: “It’s better to give than to receive.” Like most others, I always bought into that concept, too, until my ideas around it were challenged, causing me to think completely differently.

Yes, giving is wonderful! And it’s what makes the world go ‘round. However…

I just finished the book The Go-Giverby Bob Burg and John David Mann. If your life or business involves giving to others (which I hope it does!), then this book is a must-read. In the book, one of the Laws of Success is “The Law of Receptivity.” Its tagline: “The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.”

When I first saw that, I thought, “Huh?” But now I get it and I couldn’t agree more.

The Law of Receptivity

The book goes on to explain that as “all of humanity is breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide…organisms of the plant kingdom are doing the exact opposite—breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. Their giving is our receiving, and our giving is their receiving.”

“In fact,” the book explains, “Every giving can happen only because it is also a receiving.”


Most of the people in my life are tremendous givers. I’ll include myself here and say that it feels good to give and it comes naturally. I don’t really have to think about it; I must be hard-wired that way.

At the same time, I’ve always considered myself a pretty good receiver. When someone gives me a gift or a compliment, I take it all in and allow it into my heart. I feel the gratitude and appreciation and always let the other person know of the gift’s impact on me.

But now I realize that it goes even deeper than that.

* * * * *


Before our trip, I had contacted a friend from Milwaukee that Bill and I had gotten to know on occasion; someone we always thought would be fun to get to know better. In hopes that we might be able to hook up, I texted him after we landed at the airport to say we had arrived and we would be going to the State Fair later that afternoon to see a concert. His message back to me was: “I live three blocks from the Fair. Park in my driveway and I’ll drop you off at the front gate.”

Really? This guy was willing to drop whatever he was doing and go the extra mile to help make our visit to Milwaukee a hit? My first thought was, “Oh no, don’t worry about that; we’ll be okay.” But I took a breath, let in his offer, and told him we’d be delighted.

Receiving Exercise #1. Thank you, Dave.

When we got downtown and pulled up to the bargain mystery hotel we booked online, we were shocked. Instantly treated like royalty, this beautiful, fancy, and luxurious historic hotel had us hooked. After we checked in at the front desk, the bellman came over and said, “May I help you to your room?”

My knee-jerk reaction would have normally been: “No thanks, we’re good.” But I looked up at the elderly gentleman with white gloves, took a breath and said, “Sure, I’d love that, John” and handed him my overnight bag.

Receiving Exercise #2. Thank you, John.

Our white-haired bellman proudly showed us to our room and explained that this hotel is where all the Presidents stay when they’re in town. The woman at the desk had so graciously told the man, “Take them to my favorite room!” So we were whisked away to a beautiful corner room with big windows on two sides, allowing the sun to shine brightly onto the plush king-sized bed.

Thank you.

Milwaukee Hotel

Bill and I were excited when we got to the Fair that afternoon. A friend in the band we had come to see said he’d have tickets waiting for us at will call. When I approached the ticket office, not only was I on the band guest list, but inside the envelope were two VIP backstage passes that granted us access to come and go as we please.

Really…for me? I was overjoyed!

Michelle Stimpson_Backstage w/ Steve Miller Band

While I was super excited to hang out backstage, I was mostly touched by the generosity and gesture of our friend going the extra mile to make our evening an over-the-top experience. Sincere friendship with a kindred spirit rocks. Our multitude of hugs and “I love you’s” after the show made my heart soar.

Receiving Exercise #3. Thank you, Kenny.

Michelle Stimpson & Kenny Lee Lewis

This gesture reminded me of why I’m always moved to tears the moment Bill and I step onto a cruise ship for a week’s vacation. That’s when you first make your entrance into the glorious multi-level atrium with beautiful ornate art and elegant detail; that vision serves as a reminder to me that I am going to be totally pampered and taken care of for the upcoming week. A time completely focused on receiving. It’s not unlike wearing a special badge that says “VIP”; I know I am going to be taken care of. And it feels good.

The show

Just a few days prior, a friend told me her idea about “Pennies from Heaven” and how that’s her sign that a loved one who has passed is thinking of her. After our meeting, I said: “Watch, I bet I’ll find a penny soon that is meant just for me!”

And when Bill and I made our way to our concert seats, the first thing I noticed was a penny in the aisle just next to my assigned seat #1. This was my confirmation, my affirmation, my thumbs-up…that all is good, all is well. And my nod from above to keep having fun and enjoying life, embracing the things that make me come alive and bring me joy. I smiled as I picked up the penny and proudly put it in my pocket.

Receiving Exercise #4. Thank you.

The concert rocked, the clear and sultry summer night gave way to a purple sky and stars, and the crowd of several thousand was united in the celebration of life and of good times. Bill and I danced our hearts out and cheered with the concert-goers around us. Time stood still in those glorious moments as I breathed deeply and allowed myself to receive the goodness of all that surrounded me.

Receiving Exercise #5. Thank you, Mother Nature; Thank you, Steve Miller Band.

Steve Miller Band

When the concert was over, my Milwaukee friend insisted we call him for pick up. Within minutes, he was at the exit gate ready for us and drove us back to our car, parked at his house. Our ‘thank-yous’ and ‘good-nights’ with him and his wife included tight bear hugs and a knowing that we would all be in each others’ lives again soon.

A pensive plane ride home

As the plane took off today for the journey home, we were reminded by the flight attendant that in the event of cabin pressure loss to “secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.”

This is the essence of receiving.

We have to—yes, we must—fill our own tanks first before being of any service to others.

This jaunt to Milwaukee taught me volumes about the importance of—and the joy of—“receiving.” Special thanks to my several teachers and angels along the way for orchestrating everything so perfectly.

My learning around receiving this week has reminded me that I am important, I matter, and I’ve got to keep shining my light brightly. And now because my tank is overflowing, I can so much more easily and effortlessly give to others. I’ve got an abundance of reserves!

In working with clients these last several years, a common theme that comes up—especially for women—is the struggle with receiving. And I see all kinds of guilt, discomfort, and uneasiness around it.

Listen up: Receiving is a good thing. Not only does it feel good, but it’s our one and only way to be able to give back to the world in all kinds of meaningful ways. In fact, when someone gives you a gift or does something nice for you…the best thing you can do is to simply receive it gracefully and graciously–which is actually like giving a gift right back to them! 

Try it. You just might like it.

How will you open up and let your heart receive today? Love for you to share your thoughts below!

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29 Responses to “Opening Yourself Up To Receiving”

  • Suzanne says:

    Wow Michelle, I loved that! Your positive energy is contagious. It always looks like you and Bill are having so much fun.

    After doing so many readings with people who are so sad, it’s really good to see happy people. Please keep up the happy messages, we all need them.

    Suzanne :)

  • Hi Michelle,

    Timely post – I’m reading The Go-Giver right now and can already see how when we serve and give to others, our lives are transformed for the better.


  • Becky Henry says:

    Thank you for the reminder Michelle! I have been working on this receiving thing lately so your post is very timely for me. Hard to believe that it can be something challenging to learn but for me opening up to receiving abundance in my business has been so and I know my old beliefs have been in the way.
    Becky Henry

  • Robyn Froemming says:

    I really love this on many levels. I remember when I first started working on receiving many years ago and a friend wanted to buy me lunch. My internal response was “no, you don’t have to do that” and then I stopped and realized “darn, I have to accept this, I’m working on receiving.” Your giving is limited if you’re not in the full flow of giving and receiving.
    I love reading about your various experiences and appreciate the reminder of those places where it is easy to forget to receive. Bring on more receiving opportunities!

  • @ Suzanne: Thank you! Yeah, Bill & I do have a lot of fun together–it’s been that way from day one and I’m grateful that we love sharing in all of the experiences together. I appreciate your reminder to keep the happy messages coming…will do. :)

    @ Alex: Enjoy the book; it has helped me tremendously in my business. Will look forward to seeing what you think when you’re finished. It’s all good stuff.

    @ Becky: You are right-on about those “old beliefs” getting in the way. That’s true for so many of us. Glad to know you’re working on receiving…life will only get brighter, richer, and more wonderful from this place. Enjoy the ride!

    @ Robyn: Love that idea about accepting lunch, as I think so many of us can relate to that. I like what you said about being “in the full flow of giving and receiving.” Awesome! Thank you for reading and for commenting. :)

  • Dan says:

    Sometimes you need (to be) a receiver to pick up what is (being) broadcast!

    Appreciate (your) transmissions!


  • Hmmmmm.
    How about if I say thank you for giving me such a wonderful message? I’ll bet my gratitude will keep the give and take flowing!


  • Jeff says:

    –Gift of message received
    –Smile is firmly planted on face
    –Preparing to go forth to pay it forward

  • @ Dan: Clever! That one really made me think. Very true and great analogy! Thanks for being here and for reading the post. :)

    @ Joan: Perfect! You are welcome…and you are right–that flow is certainly in motion. Thanks for commenting!

    @ Jeff: Awesome! I can only imagine the blessing you will be to the next person you come into contact with. :)

  • Yapha says:

    Fabulous blog post, excellent advice as always. Thanks for writing this!

  • Char says:

    Delicious! Taking this in like eating a wonderful treat!
    Thank you for reminding us how to receive and enjoy!!

  • Michele says:

    Yet another great post. I love receiving the lessons I always learn from your blog. Thank you Michelle!

  • Tunie says:

    What a blessing this reflection is, Michelle. Taking it to heart.

  • Sharon says:

    YES! Open ourselves up to receiving and it flows…what an important lesson!

  • Mom says:

    Thank you, Michelle, you bring great joy to me. You are so responsive to your feelings and are able to relate them in your blog so well.

    As you know, right now our little great granddaughter is living with us. She just gives and gives and we just receive all the love in everything that she says and does.

  • @ Yapha, @ Char, @ Michele, @ Tunie, @ Sharon: Thanks, you guys! Seeing you out here really makes me smile and I appreciate you taking the time to read the post. Thank you for your sweet feedback and for brightening up the space here. :)

    @ Mom: Wow, thanks! Your feedback has touched my heart. And the visual of you guys receiving Gracie’s love is the most simple and pure form of receiving there is. Love it! Thanks for sharing that sweet part of life here.

  • Cindy Lopez says:

    What a great thing for me to read your post today.
    I am a great doer of things for people and
    Tend to forget to receive. It’s my Birthday today
    So it’s a great time for me to practice receiving.
    I can’t wait to read the book.
    Thank you for the constant reminders to enjoy
    And find joy

  • Faith says:

    In a recent yoga training, the instructor said something to the effect of your work should always fill you up first. If it does, it will also benefit those around you. When it no longer serves you, you are no longer serving others.

  • @ Cindy: Happy Birthday! Yeah, isn’t it funny how we can “forget” to receive? Glad to know this post could serve as a reminder for you. You are right – your birthday is the perfect time to start practicing. Let the games begin!

    @ Faith: So true! I’ve seen that in my own life…how my work completely and totally fills me up, and I’m pretty sure my clients can “feel” that as well. :)

  • Deb Brown says:

    As someone who gives a lot to family and clients, this is something I need to work on. Thanks for the reminder. Beautifully written.

  • @ Deb: Hi and thank you for stopping by the blog and leaving your comment – I appreciate it! Thanks for your kind feedback and I’m so happy to know this topic resonated with you. Best wishes to you as you work on letting yourself ‘receive.’ :)

  • Bob Burg says:

    Michelle, thank you for writing such an awesome article, as well as your kind mention of John David Mann’s and my book. Much appreciated!

    And, I agree with Suzanne; in your pictures you really do like you’re having a lot of fun. Every picture. You look “Joyful” (didn’t realize the pun until after I wrote it so went back in and put in the quotation marks). :-)

    On another note, I read your blog post about Marty Balin and the song miracles. I also believe that he was one of the most talented performers ever (though, like most guys my age – born in 1958) I had a crush on Grace :-). And, the song Miracles (the long version, of course) is one of my top songs of all time. Don’t know all the lyrics to many songs but definitely know that one. The tough part is trying to do the backup at the same time. :-)

    Anyway, again, thank you very much. Appreciate ya’ greatly!!


  • @ Bob: Bob! What fun to receive your sweet and thoughtful comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit the blog, read a couple posts, and most importantly, for leaving your comment! So happy to spread the word about your amazing book – it’s full of important “life stuff” that we all need to practice in order to build upon making this world a brighter and more loving and abundant place.

    How cool to share the love of the song “Miracles”! It’s truly magical. And yeah, Grace was the bomb back then. :) Thanks for being here, Bob, and for sharing your wisdom with the world. Appreciate ya’ back!

  • Rose-Anne says:

    I found your blog through Bob Burg’s post on Facebook and then to his blog… then to your story. I am so glad I took the time to read it. So much that I then read the next one which you linked to within this post. Wow. Now I am hooked on your blog and will read it often. It is inspiring and a needed break from the sometimes overwhelming day of work. Thanks, Rose-Anne

  • @ Rose-Anne: So glad you found your way here! What an honor for me that the post – and the blog – has inspired you and provided that essential “break.” Yes, please come back soon and I look forward to seeing you! Thanks for the wonderful comment. :)

  • […] Opening Yourself Up to Receiving […]

  • Phil Bolsta says:

    Great post, Michelle! This is such an important principle—and as you mentioned, it can be especially difficult for women to receive—that I included a section on it in my book, “Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.” I hope it’s okay with you if I present that section here:


    Perhaps the best way to get what you want is to give away a portion of what you already have. The message you are sending to the Universe when you give to others is: I have access to an endless supply of abundance.

    To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and
    Taisen Deshimaru

    Since like energy attracts like energy, the Universe responds to your prosperity consciousness by bringing you more of what you have given away.

    If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you
    would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in
    some way.

    Keeping the abundance of the Universe circulating is foundational to the practice of tithing. Seen through God’s eyes, giving and receiving are one and the same.

    At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and
    no recipient . . . only the universe rearranging itself.
    Jon Kabat-Zinn

    The law of attraction operates in direct proportion to your purity of intent. You will receive more of what you give away only if you offer it with a loving heart and ask nothing in return.

    If you circle your wagons to protect what you have,
    you can’t venture forward to what you desire.
    Suzanne Zoglio

    Certainly, anyone who is socially adept will at least acknowledge a gift. But when you expect anything more than a grateful nod or a smile, your gift ceases to be a gift and becomes a business transaction.

    There is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
    Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    When the motive behind your gift is not pure, you disrupt the flow of energy that otherwise would deliver more abundance into your life.

    Whenever I expect something in return, then my inner
    peace gets disturbed. And I expect something in return
    only when I’ve forgotten that peace comes from within.
    Dr. Dean Ornish

    Temper your generosity with common sense. Put yourself in the position of desperately needing what you have just given away and you will continue to desperately need it. Becoming a burden to others defeats the purpose of your gift.

    Sir, he throws away his money, without thought and
    without merit. I do not call a tree generous, that sheds
    its fruit at every breeze.
    Samuel Johnson

    You will know what, when, and how much to give by listening to your intuition instead of your ego.

    It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give
    unasked, through understanding.
    Kahlil Gibran

    Blessings to you and Bill!

  • Phil Bolsta says:

    Michelle, I just realized that the next section in my book speaks more directly to some of the issues you discussed here. I hope you don’t mind me including it as well.


    Generosity is not confined to the sharing of material wealth. A generous spirit finds endless ways to express itself.

    If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little,
    give of your heart.
    Arab proverb

    Perhaps the most loving and meaningful gift you can give to another is your unhurried time and undivided attention.

    Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for
    gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Follow the wisdom of your heart as it reaches out in joy to share all the beauty and love it possesses with the heart of another.

    Give as the rose gives perfume, because it is its own
    nature, utterly unconscious of giving.
    Swami Vivekananda

    Give freely of what you have and you will know a joy and satisfaction that transcends any pleasure derived from material possessions.

    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain
    what he cannot lose.
    Jim Elliot

    Giving away what you do not need unclutters both your outer and inner environments and creates more space in your life for other blessings to flow through.

    People who give are given to.
    Mike Dooley

    By definition, what is given must be received. Turn down a well-intentioned gift and you inadvertently break this circle of Divine energy.

    To receive a present handsomely and in a right spirit,
    even when you have none to give in return, is to give
    one in return.
    Leigh Hunt

    Graciously and gratefully accept every gift and compliment, or you impede the circulation of loving, caring intentions in your life.

    The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—
    it cannot fail.
    Walt Whitman

    This empathy exercise may help: Have you ever been excited about giving someone a gift only to have it refused because the recipient did not feel worthy of receiving it? Remember how disappointed you felt? That is how someone else feels when you yourself protest that a gift is not necessary. Why would you choose to make someone feel that way?

    It is not the shilling that I give you that counts, but
    the warmth that it carries with it from my hand.
    Miguel de Unamuno

  • Wow, Phil – thank you SO much for sharing all this great stuff here! Everything you’ve shared here so beautifully complements the initial message. You’re awesome! The world is blessed to have your book ‘out there’ and I love how you and I think so similarly. :) Love and blessings to you!

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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