What would happen if I, if you, if all of us could ask this more often? Not just when we are getting paid for it or when we are in that “extra charitable, feel-good mood”, but in all that we do every minute of every day? Even on those days when we really don’t “feel like it”. What if we use that as our starting point for everything we do? How might that affect our attitude? Our performance? How would other people see us? How would it affect our happiness?
It’s easy to start down the road of “too busy”, “not enough time”, “better things to do”, or even to go as far as to ask yourself, “Does this person deserve my help?” I recently had a client say to me, while working through some fairly tedious tasks, “I know I am driving you crazy, you must hate dealing with this sort of stuff.” When I thought about it, even I was a little surprised by the answer…I didn’t, not even a little. I really liked helping them achieve their goals, even the small, “tedious” ones. I realized that gratitude was the key–my gratitude for the chance to contribute and theirs for my help and expertise. I am grateful for being able to do what I do. I get to help solve new problems every day, empower people and sometimes I get paid pretty good money to do so–which is pretty awesome when you think about it.
So, going back to the question…how can I help? I think what may be easy to miss, is how much you actually gain from each instance of helping others. I found it out almost by accident. I can’t explain exactly how it works–I just know it does. When I use that question to lead my actions (and my intent is pure), it almost always turns out amazing and has never hurt me or left me in a position of losing anything. I find it easier to sidestep self-doubt, procrastination and other things that can tend to hold me back. And, in the end, I produce better work and am more satisfied with all the work–even the work that I don’t “love” doing. In short, I am generally a happier person. Is it always easy? Of course not. Will some take advantage? I suppose, but those are people you shouldn’t have in your life (even if they are paying you to be there). Use the opportunity to replace them with like-minded “helpers’.
I didn’t come to this idea myself. I was inspired by those who asked me the same question at one time or another. I wouldn’t be where or who I am today without some amazing friends, colleagues and mentors that took it upon themselves to ask how they could help–often when I didn’t even realize how much I needed it. I have been fortunate to have had some awesome and talented people take interest and invest there time into helping me develop and thrive, which has left me with the desire to pay that forward. And, that’s where the magic is, you start to inspire others to do the same and attract more folks with the same mindset. It becomes extremely powerful, because the good you can do is exponential.
For the past three years, I have been trying to integrate this into the DNA of Element Five and make it part of our culture as I scale the agency. My theory being, that we can benefit from the same phenomenon as a company and that all the people that work for and with us will experience it both professionally and personally. Imagine working for and with people and organizations that give of themselves first and allow that to lead their actions, work and culture. Imagine a movement in business based on leading with service and doing good work instead of solely focusing on profits. Imagine abandoning the idea that doing good and making profit are mutually exclusive.
I invite you to join me. Try it out today, try it with the next person, project, task you have to engage with. Ask them/yourself “How can I Help…”
“…make someone’s life easier?”
“…solve this problem like none else can?”
“…encourage or mentor this person?”
“…make the world a better place?”
The possibilities are endless, the rewards are limitless and I know once you experience it, you’ll be hooked. Let me know how it goes, I would love to hear your story. Of course, if I can help you get started in any way–don’t hesitate to reach out.