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The five-minute favor

December 4, 2018

Coined by esteemed professor at Wharton University Adam Grant in his bestselling book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, the "five-minute favor" is a simple practice of being in the mindset of carving out just five minutes of your day to do something that will benefit the lives of others in your network - without expecting anything in return. Grant has said that "the five-minute favor is my single favorite habit that I learned while writing the book.” And incorporating this small act of kindness into your routine will only cost you your time.

He suggests that we think of the five-minute favor like that of a microloan - it's a way to help someone else at a minimal cost to you. Personally, I like to think that the return on this favor is exponential.

Grant learned of this term through entrepreneur Adam Rifkin, founder of PandaWhale, who has been described by Fortune as "the best networker" and reaps many rewards through the benefits of networking. Rifken is connected with some of the most powerful people in the world on LinkedIn - more than anyone else! And the reason he has such extraordinary contacts is a result of his generous amount of giving and the power of the five-minute favor.


How can you incorporate the five-minute favor into your daily networking routine? It's easy! Here are some examples:

  • Be a super-connector: Facilitate an introduction that could mutually benefit two people from knowing each other.
  • Offer valuable feedback: It could be about someone's business idea or a blog article they wrote.
  • Give an endorsement: Provide a recommendation on LinkedIn, Trustpilot and Yelp, or commend and refer a person to someone in your network.
  • Share your ideas: If you know something that could benefit someone, don't hold back. Inform them about it- knowledge is power!
  • Stay social: Make sure to like, share, retweet and post comments when you can offer value through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Implement solutions through Give and Take: Their proprietary software called Givitas allows work teams to collaborate and share knowledge in a unique way - and all it takes is five minutes a day.

It's not that hard to demonstrate your gratitude or to display altruism for others. Helping people should be second nature and not something to think too deeply about! You really can't afford not to do something that not only takes such a short about time to and it will have a great impact on others, and your own life as well.


Seeing others succeed because of something I had a hand is an awesome feeling that goes beyond the favor, at least in my opinion. It improves and strengthens your relationships. And it's a simple gesture that's not just benevolent but fosters great karma too. Even if you don't physically receive anything in return, it's been proven that giving of yourself and doing good for others leads to success. It also can help in combating loneliness as you find joy in helping people, and can assist you in living a longer life.

Now it shouldn't really be about what's in it for you, however, there is science behind reciprocity and how other people are hardwired to want to help those who have helped them. Changing your focus from getting to giving - putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to other people's lives leads to unexpected returns. And these returns can show up in your life in many forms including job advancement, business and career opportunities, and ultimately lead to success and happiness.


As Adam Rifkin said: “You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.” He believes our networks should be viewed as a vehicle for creating value for everyone, and not just claiming it for ourselves.

Of course, things do happen in our daily lives that need to be dealt with and our time doesn't always necessarily go as planned. But there really is no excuse for not carving out five minutes a day for anything. Especially for something that can dramatically improve the lives of others' and yourself by default! It doesn't take superior time management skills - it really only takes five minutes.

I challenge you to give me a good excuse if you can't get this done. When you do, I will remind you how those who are good at making excuses are not good at moving the needle (in this case, the needle is the good fortune of other people).

Go ahead and practice the art of the five-minute favor today - I guarantee you will be rewarded!

NetWorkWise Top Tip: "A five-minute favor is just a small way to add large value to other people's lives", says Adam Grant. Do your part by spending just a small amount of your day by being kind and providing value to others!

About the Author

Guest blogger Adam Connors is a sought-after speaker, podcast host, social architect and super-connector who has transformed lives and accelerated careers through training, recruiting & career coaching. He’s the founder of NetWorkWise, a business platform that expedites outcomes for people through training in the art and science of personal and professional networking.

Adam hosts professional and personal networking-themed workshops for corporations, teams, individuals, groups & schools. The principles he imparts apply to all levels and industries, affording him the opportunity to help thousands of people. Some of the more popular workshops he offers are "How to get access to anyone", "Networking 101", "Networking at a conference or event" & "Networking to Improve the company's bottom line.” Learn more about his services here.

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