A lot of people have trouble with the idea of service. They can only think of being in someone’s control and being a second-class citizen who must kowtow to every unreasonable whim of some overlord. This is, of course, a very narrow view that misses the essential need for serving others not to mention the fact that we all serve others every day.
SERVICE AND THE NEED TO DO IT
We need to define the term better. Even though there are all kinds of big, interesting, romantic notions and definitions of it, service is nothing more than helping people. Yes, that’s it. I know it’s not full of big words and fancy terms, but it simply is not complicated. It is just helping others accomplish things they want or need to accomplish. The dictionary agrees: service – the action of helping someone.
And with that in mind, we all do it every day, many times a day. If you make coffee for your partner or spouse in the morning, service. If you help get the kids ready for their day, service. If you take the kids to the bus stop or drop them at school, service. If you help a co-worker with a report or some other task, service. If you pick up some milk on the way home, service. We live and breathe service constantly, in fact, we, as humans, need to do it.
Humans are not the biggest, fastest, or strongest in the animal kingdom, but when we work together in a coordinated effort, we can overcome innumerable obstacles. It is this ability to help each other that is unique and has allowed us to survive and thrive. Without it, we would have most likely been gone long, long ago. Service is possibly our greatest superpower.
HOW TO BECOME A SERVICE SUPERHERO
Stand up and be proud, you are a human, and as a human, you serve others, so do it unashamedly.
Now, I know many will still feel odd about that so let’s reframe how we think about serving.
Instead of thinking of it as being ‘in service of’ someone which suggests performing duties while being demeaned or somehow manipulated, think of it as being ‘of service to’ someone which means that you are bringing value to them. Changing a few words, from ‘in service of’ to ‘of service to,’ can move your thinking from being ‘taken from’ to ‘giving to.’ When you make this shift, you begin thinking of yourself as someone of value who delivers that value to others. What could be better than that? What is more noble than being useful and bringing that usefulness to others?
Feel better? I hope so because helping others is something we should be proud of as a natural part of being human. Yet the word service conjures up so many misconceptions and feelings of inadequacy, insignificance, and lack of power that we have relegated it to specific roles, jobs, or charitable acts that we look down on, mock, or think of as weak.
Given the critical nature of helping each other to our very survival, my hope is to lift service up to its rightful place as one of humankind’s most important developments. You can help by changing your ‘in service of’ mindset to an ‘of service to’ mindset and then proudly help those around you when the opportunity arises. Just 1% more service a day and imagine how your world and others’ worlds might change. Pie in the sky, maybe, the stuff of superheroes, maybe, but what have we got to lose?
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