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The Power of Serving

July 16, 2013

Serving others is very powerful; it is amazingly inexpensive (in dollar amounts, in relation to growth/return, and in other long-term benefits); and it is very memorable. But because so many view it as a submissive act, they miss out on the opportunities that serving can bring them.

By serving others, you are essentially telling them, “You are important and appreciated.”

Years ago, I took a 100% commission sales position and shortly after experiencing a more than 20% loss of revenue; I was fortunate enough to discover a team of trainers who would play a significant role in helping me dramatically increase my career. I talked my manager into allocating some funds with the promise that I would coordinate all the details and sell enough tickets to make the event break even. My budget was small – limited to paying only the facilitator’s fees, travel expenses, and meeting room. I was responsible for all food.

By the first lunch of the 3-day event, I was confident that sales would sharply increase over the following months, and decided to show the trainer my appreciation. I splurged and took him to an impressive restaurant. Knowing I could not afford this for the next three evenings; I catered to my own skills and gave him the option of a home-cooked meal one of the nights.

He jumped at the opportunity saying that in traveling 40+ weeks each year, one thing he missed was in fact, a home-cooked meal! There was only one stipulation. He insisted in buying a bottle of wine to compliment it. Neither of us remembers what I made – but it was likely something simple that cost me no more than $30.00 and took less than an hour to prepare.

This event not only sparked a great friendship, it quickly spread like a legend among this group of trainers. As I hosted more different trainers in my territory, I offered the same invitation – even when budgets were larger, and commissions more substantial. I got to know dozens of trainers from all across North America – many of them offering to host me in their home as I traveled to, or through their city.

I never imagined that simple act could have such a positive impact on my life and career. To help inspire you to serve others, more often, and more creatively; I offer the following insights.

  • Serving is an art form that comes from your heart; share your passions and skills. I cooked. Others paint, entertain, give confidence, open the door, help with luggage, take a chance on a new person or idea, etc.
  • Serving is only partially about the event; it is mostly about the planning and preparation that went into the event.
  • Serving is genuine. If you expect something in return, you are bartering or manipulating, not serving.
  • Be willing to respectfully accept others’ service to you.

There are countless books about serving, and closely related subjects, but here are some of my favorites.

The Giving Tree – Shell Silverstein
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The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John David Mann
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The Fred Factor – Mark Sanborn
Fred Factor

 

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