Why Your Growth Hinges on The Law of Reciprocity

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by Damian Reid

Think about the last time someone helped you overcome a challenge: How did you feel? I bet you felt relieved. Did you also experience a feeling of deep appreciation towards that individual? Was it accompanied by the impulse to return the favour?

If your answer is yes (and I bet it is), you experienced reciprocity!


What is Reciprocity?

In Social Psychology, the law of reciprocity implies that when we receive something we’re motivated to give back. The rule of reciprocity has the power to trigger feelings of indebtedness. This happens even when faced with an uninvited favour. It makes it possible for people to build continuing relationships and exchanges.


How powerful is reciprocity?

In 1974, sociologist Phillip Kunz conducted an experiment. He mailed out handwritten Christmas cards to approximately 600 random people. All the recipients were complete strangers, yet, Kunz received 200 replies! Why would so many people reply to a complete stranger? The answer is reciprocity.

There is something powerful about the impulse experienced by these individuals. In relation to modern-day entrepreneurs, this concept is impactful in every aspect. Give someone unsolicited value, and they will give you something in return. What could that mean for your business or even referrals?

By understanding this unconscious social principle, you can put it into practice. And by putting it into practice, I mean using it to grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.

Not sure how reciprocity can influence your business? Answer these two questions:

  1. When was the last time you called your client to check in?
  2. When did you last send them resources without being asked?

Have you ever done something beneficial for your clients without motive or expecting anything back?

Reciprocity only works when we practice it without seeking something in return. When the initial action happens without expectations, the impulse to return the favour is greatest.

Imagine providing unsolicited solutions to your clients. Do you think your clients will remember your gesture? We both know the answer to that!

When I do something beneficial for someone, they often think I want something in return. Whether I share resources or connect others with like-minded individuals. Usually, I’m giving and not expecting anything in return.

Don’t give to get something back. You’ll find yourself experiencing a tremendous amount of freedom when you can give to give. The rewards will always surprise and delight you. I am always amazed at how generosity makes its way back to me.


Ask yourself: What resource can I provide my clients that they can benefit from today?

When you come up with the solution – give it to them. Not only is it a welcome gesture, but it may also ignite your client’s commitment to reciprocity.


Practice this: Grow your business by providing resources to those who need them. Don’t expect something in exchange for your actions.



“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Practice Reciprocity by Connecting People

I practice reciprocity by providing the resources and connections people need to thrive. Why? Because I want people to access the resources that helped me grow and overcome obstacles.

For example, a few years ago, a coach helped me through a very challenging time in my life. The coaching she provided was life-changing. Now I connect her with people who are facing the same or similar issues.

When you’re connecting people with each other, it’s important to keep “fit” in mind. Are the people you want to connect the right fit for each other?

Some of the people in my network specialize in working with start-ups struggling to get cash flow. I’m also connected with executive coaches who cost more than other specialists. It doesn’t make sense to send a cash-strapped start-up to high-level coaches. Doing so is a waste of everyone’s time and calls my judgment into question by everyone involved.

This is so important that it bears repeating: I’m not suggesting enabling connections to receive something in return. That defeats the purpose completely. And even if it didn’t, that kind of sleaziness is easily detected.

When you practice reciprocity, a support system begins to form, and people begin to show up.


Practice this: Enable at least 5 business connections, for others, on a weekly basis.

Notice when you start giving with an ulterior motive to get something back. Cut that out!

This blog is based on one of the habits from my bestselling book “Cure Entrepreneurialitis


Habit #22: Connect people. Support others in fulfilling their aspirations and dreams on a daily basis.



Damian Reid is the CEO of Damian M. Reid International (www.damianmreid.com). He is a Performance and Freedom Lifestyle Mentor, Coach, and International Speaker. Damian has a reputation for rapidly assessing what is missing across the 12 Keys Areas of Life™. He defined these in his Amazon #1 international (US, Canada and Australia) bestselling book. He is the creator of The 7 Steps to The Freedom Lifestyle™ system. His effective, unconventional solutions create significant breakthroughs in clients’ businesses and personal lives. Damian is one of 230 Full Focus Planner Certified PROs in the world (fullfocusmentor.com).

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