You do know that your work is a service…to someone…right? No matter how you slice it, we all serve others. Think about it. Service is just a simple way of saying helping people, and given that, isn’t that what we all do every day?
Believe it or not, our work and our lives hover around helping people. We have to help each other. It’s been this way since we were cave dwellers. It took more than one to fight off the beasts that were a threat and hunt those who were needed for food. And while we’ve evolved in many ways, that basic need for communal help has not. We all need help at one time or another, and whether we like it or not, we need to not only get help but also give help in order to reach successful outcomes. We should all be thankful that over the eons of time a goodly number have had a basic, even primal, understanding of this.
“It’s not about you,” the great opening line to Rick Warren’s book A Purpose Driven Life, gives a clear and succinct statement about the fact that a purposeful life is really about more than just our own interests. The success of others is essential to our own success. As was suggested earlier, it’s at the base of what it is to be human. Helping each other is how we’ve made it this far. It has put people on the moon, conquered diseases, climbed the highest peaks, and overcome great evils. But doing it at scale takes a large number rethinking their approach from inward concern to outward concern, and while our world could do with a wholesale outward-concern revolution, I am realistic enough to know that such a revolution is impractical. However, if some of us make the evolutionary leap, many might follow.
Now, apply this thought to your workplace. Who do you serve (help)? Is it a coworker? Is it a customer? Is it both? Are you a leader who has a team that needs your help? Every day you have opportunities to provide assistance whether in words, ideas, deeds, encouragement, or myriad other ways. And by serving those around you and helping them achieve goals, you can start a viral movement where service becomes the culture. And when service is your culture, just imagine how that will impact your customers. They can only benefit since providing for needs and being helpful is second nature to everyone in the organization.
If that sounds good, how can you change the way you approach your work? How can you change your thinking from how others can help you to how you can help them? Changing your fundamental thinking in this way is the real trick. Of course, this is something that is easily discussed and not as easily practiced but you can start your personal evolution right now by asking yourself, “What can I do immediately to shift my approach from inward to outward, from me to we, from what I want to what others need?” And don’t stop after you ask it once, ask it on a consistent basis until it becomes the way you operate. You are where change begins. You are the catalyst for the viral movement. There is no right time, it is now and begins with you.
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