Let’s put giving before getting — not just during the holidays, but every day.
The Latin phrase quid pro quo is getting a lot of media play these days. But what does it really mean? An online NPR article (Oct. 26, 2019) looks at the evolution of the phrase. In it, Morning Edition host Rachel Martin quotes language columnist Ben Zimmer as saying “… it just simply means something for something.” Zimmer explains that the first English translation goes back to the 16th century when people didn’t get the drug they thought they were getting from the apothecary. Instead of getting the quid, they got the quo.
Fast forward to modern times: The term was picked up by lawyers and others, eventually developing a negative or corrupt connotation of expecting something in return when a favor was granted.
I have a friend who just started a new job with a construction company that builds schools across the country. The organization has a desire to not only put up buildings, but also improve the lives of the kids who come to learn and grow in those buildings. One of my friend’s roles in her new job is to help the company fulfill that sense of responsibility. She coined a phrase, contribution before consideration, which really stuck with me. There are so many directions you can go with it.
For the construction company, that statement means they will commit to helping kids, before and whether they get the business. As a volunteer, it means serving to make a difference without rewards, recognition or something to put on a resume. As an employee, it means raising your hand to take on the next project with no direct expectation of more pay or a promotion. As someone in sales or business development, it means taking the time to build credibility and relationships before expecting a deal to close.
I am impatient and want results just like most of you. But the day we plant the seed is not the day we eat the fruit. There may be small wins along the way, but true and lasting change takes time and lots of work.
In that spirit, I dare you to internalize contribution before consideration and put it into action. I’ve seen many already do that through “Share the Dare” and the #HFMA1000daresproject. If you need inspiration, turn to HFMA. Our Association provides a fertile field to cultivate our best fruit and the capacity to contribute — whether it is volunteering and serving, learning something new or building lasting relationships.
Happy holidays to you and yours!