The Generosity Dip
If you've read Seth Godin's The Dip, you're familiar with the idea that pushing through the "dip" (i.e. a hardship, setback, or obstacle) is the only way to become "the best in the world" at something. It applies to everything from learning a new trade to working out at the gym.
Stripped down, it's about doing a little more when it's easier not to because most people quit at that point when the real reward is just on the other side.
Could this apply to generosity as well? What if, when someone asks for something, we not only agreed to give it, but also added a little more? You want a 10-minute phone call with me and I give you 30. You want to know something about my experience and I throw in more. You want to know about an opportunity and I spend a few minutes making sure I know enough about it first.
I recently had someone do that for me and it was a breath of fresh air. That added courtesy, time, and effort set the person apart from everyone else. It improved our relationship and my perception of the person and the organization. It is something I want to pay forward. The next time someone wants my help I'll be sure to ask myself, "What else can I do that he or she didn't ask for?"