Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback on my new upcoming book: The Owner’s Manual to Life: In case you missed that day in school when they handed it out. Several readers wanted a sample, so here is Quote #68 (out of 100):
“Seek ways to be of service.”
One concept that always changes my interactions with people is when I shift from an attitude of “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I be of service?”. When I started my business many years ago, it was sometimes a grind to have to prospect to find new clients. Many mornings, I’d wake up dreading a day of cold-calling companies, trying to uncover a need or a fit for what I was selling at the time. One day, though, I reframed my attitude from trying to sell things to looking for companies or people I could be of service to and help. While my pitch remained essentially the same, this change of focus and intent had a dramatic and immediate effect. Suddenly, I didn’t take the rejection I always got so personally; instead, I just told myself they didn’t need my help that day. Then when I did find someone with a need and interest, I was able to put on a helping hat rather than a selling hat. This made the interaction more authentic and resulted in a much better experience for us both.
Looking for ways to be of service in other areas of life pays off as well. Whenever I go to a party these days, I make a beeline to the kitchen and begin helping the host with their preparations. There are always things to do, like setting things out on tables, helping to prepare appetizers, or assisting with the drinks, and so on. While the host usually says they don’t need help, I find there are still many things I can do to make things easier on them. In addition to feeling useful and a part of the gathering, being helpful in this way gives me a chance to interact with all the guests, and this is especially useful when I don’t know a lot of people. I always find I’ve enjoyed a party much more when I participate in this way.
At home, there are endless opportunities to be of service—even if it’s not my chore or my day to do something. I don’t mean you should do others’ chores for them; however, if you have an opportunity to lighten someone else’s burden one day, go ahead and do it. They will greatly appreciate the little gesture you’ve made, and you may even find they return the favor. Doing little things like this around the house is the easiest way to reduce tension and create a more harmonious home.
Looking for ways to be of service is so gratifying that I now make it my focus whenever I’m out in public. When I arrive at a doctor’s office, I always hold the door open for people behind me, and then step aside and let them go in first. It’s an unexpected gesture, and it’s enjoyable watching the surprise and smiles on their faces. Checking in and interacting with the receptionists presents another opportunity to be of service in a more subtle way. I’m quick to compliment someone who has obviously spent time and money on their appearance, or who has a good attitude. If they seem to be in a bad mood, I attempt to empathize with them. My attitude is that if I were working at that same counter eight hours a day, I’d want someone to be nice to me! There’s an old saying that what goes around comes around, and I believe that’s true. The more we can extend ourselves by helping others, the more we help ourselves by receiving grateful looks and smiles and thereby creating a kinder world. Just imagine if everyone sought ways of being of service and helping others. That’s the world I want to live in, and since I’m part of this world, let it begin with me.
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