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This business coaching episode is about the law of reciprocity.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Intentionally spend more time around people that are positive influences on you. Intentionally spend less time with those that aren't.
  • Lesson Nugget: Having positive/energetic people around you will even mundane, boring tasks more exciting, because of the energy they are pouring into the process.
  • Lesson Nugget: Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.
  • Lesson Nugget: Being the "energy guy" automatically puts you in a place of influencing people, thereby giving credence to your potential as a leader.

[MUSIC SOUNDS] coursera for power of thought and business mentors


-Now as a business mentor, what action steps should an entrepreneur take in order to begin saying positive words over their life, over their business, and over everything they do?

-Right. Well, one is-- you had mentioned this earlier-- who are you surrounding yourself with? It's super important that you're surrounding yourself with those positive people. A group of friends and I get together, and we call it The Redwood Forest. It's basically if you look at a target, who are you surrounding yourself with? If you have somebody who's putting negative energy in you, you may need to move them into the outer parts of the target.

-The outer rim of The Red Forest.



-And so you need to move those people in that are going to energize you and get you excited. And one of things about entrepreneurs is when they get together, they get excited. And when we get here as a group and we're just hashing out boring things, we still always leave energized because it's like, oh, yeah, that's awesome. OK. And we walk away, and we're ready to take on the world.

-I think it's so important that you become that energy guy. If you're a guy right now-- like I know I took algebra multiple times, I wasn't good in Spanish, I didn't do that well in school-- but if you can come into a business and you can bring the energy-- I mean, if you hired a guy right now for whatever the starting rate at Chick-fil-A is, and he is the energy guy, and he just does a great job and he says, "My pleasure. Thanks for coming to Chick-fil-A. My pleasure," and he says it with enthusiasm, and he greets guests with enthusiasm, and he greets his teammates enthusiasm, you almost won't be able to keep from promoting him at some point.

-Absolutely. And one of the reasons why-- and I mentioned this just a few minutes ago is that it's because he's going to do that and others are not going to do it. So what's he going to do? He's going to influence those others. Definition of influence is leadership. So he's stepping into a leadership role even though he may not be able to count money to save his life. But yet he's influencing others to be a positive impact.

-Positive words, if nothing else about you, positive words, I know, have affected your life.


-Because with your mom being an alcoholic, with your dad just disappearing on you, with you having the physical ailments you had, with all the things you've dealt with, I've never heard you say consistently, negatively anything. You're always positive. And even when you're down, if you've had a rough time, I say, how are you, and you say, I have nothing to complain about, or I'm doing great, or, you know, getting better. Or you're just very aware of it. I know you're intentional about it.


-All I could say as your friend, I appreciate it a lot.

-Thank you.

-But I know that that's something we could all pick up on. I think it's huge.

Now, the law of reciprocity-- the law of reciprocity, the universal law that exists in business and in life is simply treat others the way that you want to be treated. That's basically the idea. It's called The Golden Rule. Why is it so important for entrepreneurs to keep that principle in mind of doing unto others as you'd have them do unto you?

-Well, one of the things is that as an entrepreneur it's easy for us to get the shaft. It happens all the time, whether an employee steals from you-- I mean, we're setting ourselves up-- if somebody trips on a bumper outside your restaurant-- no that that's happening right now--

-Not that it's happening now or ever has happened in the history of Chick-fil-A anywhere across the world.

-That's correct. And they're going to sue you because you put the bumper that's been in the same spot.

-Sue you, as in other companies, not Chick-fil-A.

-Correct. Yeah. If that was the case. But when it's all said and done, you get to decide on what you're going to do. And the thing is that I don't want to be treated that way. I shouldn't be treated that way. So I'm going to treat them with honor and dignity and respect no matter what. And it's so important in business.

-You go over with a lot of the clients who've invested in my businesses or I've worked with over the years. I have consistently tried to do right by them. And I've noticed that they do right by me. And I'll just give you an example of how you've done this for me. My kids called the other day. I'm getting old, so I say, "the other day." But they called, "Dad." I'm like, what's going on guys? They never call at work. Dad. What? You know, Dad. What? You know. What's it going on, kid? Arthur Greeno dropped us off stuff at the house. And he dropped off a gift box.

-Yes, I did.

-With some books in it and t-shirts and basically Chick-fil-A promotional and swag items.


-They were going crazy. And you did that for me, and you didn't have to. And when I found an article that was written about you in a newspaper or in a magazine, I was like, well, I'm going to get that made and framed and sent over to your place. Did you start this problem? Did you start this little game? Maybe. But it's a deal of you generated that law of reciprocity. You threw the boomerang out. [WHIP] [WHIP] [WHIP] [WHIP] And it came back to you. [WHIP] [WHIP] [WHIP] [WHIP] And I've noticed that everybody I have a relationship with it seems like one of us started that boomerang, and now it just keeps coming back. And it's exciting to see that.

And I think it's contrary to the world, because in the world it seems like in the world we're like, I'll give you something if you give me something first. If you give me something, maybe I'll give you something.


-You know, you give me. What do you have for me? And then I'll see if I-- and it's the opposite. So I think that's amazing that you've done that.


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Be the one that initiates the gesture that will get the law of reciprocity put in motion.
  • Lesson Nugget: You have to intentionally look and listen for opportunities to do something extra or unexpected for someone.
  • Lesson Nugget: The law of reciprocity isn't just a "business tool", it's a principle that can be used in any area of your life.

-How do you do that with someone you don't know, Arthur? Because you do it all the time. Someone you don't know, how do you generate that law of reciprocity, doing for others what you want them to do for you?

-You look for opportunities. My family, my kids, Christmas is a big thing for us. We will literally look for opportunities. We've done a lot of crazy things for people over the years. We will listen.

This was kind of a joke, but it kind of wasn't. A friend of mine and I were having a discussion, and we were talking about some hot dogs from QuikTrip. I love QuikTrip hot dogs. We're not getting paid for this, by the way. I love them.

-It's unbiased if you love them.

-Yeah. He had told me he had never had a QuikTrip hot dog. While we're sitting there at this meeting, this luncheon meeting, I texted a friend of mine that was there-- actually I was at Oral Roberts University, on the campus there-- and I said, hey, I need three QuikTrip hot dogs, as fast as you can. Sure enough, it shows up.

I had somebody on campus that I had a relationship with for that. And then, when they came in, I knew the caterer, and I said hey-- I need a plate and a lid. And so they got a plate and lid. We put these hot dogs on it and brought it out and slid it to him. So he literally has a plate of steak and mashed potatoes and everything here-- and three QuikTrip hot dogs.

They pulled it off, and he just laughed hysterically about it. Of course we made him eat them. But the thing was that he'll never forget that.

-You don't wait for someone to ask you-- hey, please do something nice for me.


-You don't wait. You initiate.

-That's right.

-I will say this, too. A lot of people watching this right now are saying-- nobody invites me to parties. Nobody invites me to parties. And I will tell you this. You're one of the most generous people I know in terms of inviting people to activities and events. You do that all the time. I think that's neat, because in my life, I get invited to a lot of things. And a lot of things we can't go to, a lot of things we can go to. But I always try to be an inviter. I'm always like-- hey, Arthur, could you come to this Festivus party? Could you come to this birthday party? Could you come?

A lot of times you can't. A lot of times you can. But you're never going to be invited unless you're an inviter.

-That's right. A lot of people come to me and say-- how do you have so many friends? I had a guy from the corporate office one time show up. I said-- hey, me and some guys are going to go out tonight. He meets us at the restaurant, and there's 19 of us.

And he goes-- are these your friends?

I was like-- yeah.

And he goes-- are they all your friends?

And I was like-- yeah, they're all my friends.

CLAY CLARK: Except for Greg and Daryl.

-Yeah, didn't like them. Are these your friends?

And he goes-- that's just crazy. You guys are going to see a movie, and you have 19.

I said when we're going to see a movie, we're going to invite everyone we know. Because guess what? We have this habit. As humans, we get locked into our lives, and we just sit at home. And so if I can invite them to come out and I can do something that will make a difference in their day, then I've done my job.

CLAY CLARK: I agree with that.

-And it doesn't hurt me any to invite them. It's kind of like liking somebody on Facebook. It doesn't hurt you to like every single person, even if you don't like what they're saying. I'm not saying to do that. And start liking my posts, by the way.

-Get on Facebook and like Arthur Greeno.

ARTHUR GREENO: There you go.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: The unique thing needed to establish a memory and an emotional connection doesn't have to be extravagant; it just has to be unique.
  • Lesson Nugget: Simply taking an interest in the other person, and getting to know what is important to them, is an easy way to establish a connection.
  • Lesson Nugget: People you want to connect with, while they may be more successful or more busy than you, they are still people.

-In your life, you've obviously seen the law of reciprocity work a lot. But I want to ask you. If I'm watching this right now-- I remember when I started my whole business. I was in an apartment with no A/C and no heat. Is was at 71st and Lewis, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Fountaincrest Apartments behind the Marriott Hotel.

If I have very little money, very little time because I'm trying to start a business, I don't have a lot of money, how can I start to generate the law of reciprocity in my life if I don't have a lot of money or a lot of time?

-I think look for the simple things. It could be as simple as a phone call. I actually read a study that was talking about how a certain percentage of rich people call people on their birthdays when people that aren't rich, they don't. They don't make that effort.

It really doesn't take much time to pick up the phone and say happy birthday or text message happy birthday-- simple things that don't take a whole lot of time, but yet that person feels-- that person cares about me.

-They're feeling it.

ARTHUR GREENO: Absolutely.

-I guess the final capstone thought I want to share is that if you say over here there's a social circle of NBA Hall of Fame players, former athletes and professionals and all that, and over here's a social circle of successful entrepreneurs, and over here's a success circle of, maybe, pastors and leaders, in over here is one of attorneys, and here's one-- I have noticed that in my life. I have to jump into that circle and say-- hey! And I just know that this week, you and I have been working on this project together, but we finally got David Robinson, the NBA great Hall of Famer. Finally, we're in that circle now.

And I can tell you, everybody watching this-- it is uncomfortable. It's tough when you fly out to San Antonio. Par of you is like-- I hope he likes me. I mean, I'm pretty pale. He's probably intimidated by my basketball skills.

-You think?

-Probably-- probably yeah. I'm just thinking maybe he won't like me. Maybe we don't have a lot in common. So what I did to generate the law of reciprocity with David is I read his biography. I read every article I could, and I went there and I just decided-- I'm going to generate conversational generosity. I'm just going to ask him questions about his life and his brother Chuck, who's a pastor, and music, and things he's into, so that it would generate a conversation.


-So even if you don't have money or time, conversational generosity can work.


-Where you're asking people questions about their life.

-Absolutely. And the fact that you took the time out to find out what's going on their lives. You're finding out with what they care about.

-He loved it. I could tell that he did. I was like-- what do you offer the guy? So we showed up; we bought him a navy baseball jersey from the navy baseball team, because I knew he played baseball as a kid, and I figured he didn't have one. So it's the navy baseball jersey. On the back it says Thrive15, with the number 50 on it.

-How large did you have to make that?

-I didn't get it big enough. He looked at it, and he was like-- is this like a little boy shirt? It was too small. He's seven-two. He might be seven-three. I mean, this guy's massive.

And then I got him number-two reeds, because I knew he played the saxophone, so I got him tenor and alto reads. As a team, we got a lot of these neat little items so that he could go-- these guys care.

Because what do you buy a seven-foot multimillionaire Hall of Fame player?

ARTHUR GREENO: That's right.

-So I think it's important that no matter where we are, whether it's conversational generosity, whether it's a gift, whatever we're doing, we can do something right now to generate that.

-Some of the guys watching this may be scared of-- what happens if I jump in there and they don't like me? And what I tell a lot of people is when people come to me say-- Arthur, can you sit down and give me some of your time?-- and they're trying to jump into my circle, I explain to them-- what you think that I was thinking?

Because for me, I wasn't thinking anything wrong with them at all. I was like-- not a problem. I'll be happy to share with you. And so I've got to think-- well, if I'm thinking that when people try to jump into my circle, those guys probably aren't thinking anything, either. So I'm going to do it. And you know what? If they don't like me, I've done what I can. So now I'll just go drown myself, or whatever it may.

-Well, a final recap, as always-- make sure you don't drown yourself. I think that's something we can all support.

ARTHUR GREENO: Absolutely. That would be bad.

-That would be bad. It would make it even harder to get enough points to win the Thrive price if you're drowning.

-That's right.

CLAY CLARK: Hey-- thank you for you time.

-My pleasure.

CLAY CLARK: I appreciate you.

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