"People in a tough spot tend to focus on their own problems, when the answer may lie in fixing someone else's" — James McPartland
If you are truly interested in making an impact, listen for how you can help, not for how you can benefit your own interests. When you authentically work to help someone succeed, your eventual payoff will always be far greater than the time and energy you chose to invest in that person. And while a return on investment should never be our focus or intention, it is almost always an inevitable outcome.
Do you pay attention to the details that surround the life of the people you most frequently engage with? Do you know their spouse's name, anything about their children, their hobbies, their fears or concerns, and what direction they are looking to take their life in? How frequently do you listen closely enough that you would be in a position to help them, independent of any gain or benefit for you? To make a truly meaningful impact, and play the game of life at the highest of levels, you have to be willing to put the needs of others first, even when it means looking over your own wants.
It is counter-intuitive to put the needs of others above our own when doing so appears to require us to set aside our own desires. Yet when practiced consistently over time, the incidental benefits will create a multiplier effect as you gain most everything you want for your life.
All of us want to know that we are loved, that we measure up, and that we are making a difference. With that in mind, your service to another lets them know how important they are to you. It lets them know you truly care about their life. The interesting and rewarding thing about this philosophy is that the more a person sees that you genuinely care about them, the more they will, in turn, move heaven and earth to help you with the things that you want.
In seeking to truly understand a person, ask yourself: What would I want if I were in their shoes?
When you have taken the time to recognize a need, a problem that needs solving, or the unique ways that your support would make a difference to a person, any one of these four approaches can make a real difference in their lives:
Refer. Send them information about potential new clients. Refer people directly to them. Share relevant and important vendor contacts, even ask a preferred partner to do something special for them
Share. Send articles, unique research, and specific books or videos that will be more than useful to the problem at hand. Be willing to share your own experiences as a tool for the individual to gain a different perspective on how to approach a specific set of challenges in their own life
Compliment and Congratulate. Recognize promotions, send a note of encouragement, write a handwritten card that lets them know you took the time because they were special to you. Naturally, birthdays and the birthday of their spouse or children is an extra special touch. It always feels good when we are recognized for something important in our life
Introduce. One of the most powerful things you can do is to introduce people to one another. Be a connector, this particular act is even stronger than sending a referral.
The knowledge that we have been designed to live a life greater than ourselves is inherent within each one of us. Our contribution to this world has to be measured by something more meaningful than our automobile, house, bank account, the label on our business card, or the number of followers on our social media accounts. Our lives are going to find lasting significance in how we deliberately choose to live them, and in how we enable and equip others to live their own.
So go be givers, friends! It’s the quickest path to becoming all you were meant to be.