I’m not sure if this is age related or a function of doing way more than I have in a long time. Maybe you have experienced something like this as well. You have a great idea, like an amazing topic for tomorrows blog post, think to yourself, thats way too good to forget. I do not need to make a note. And then when you sit to type out this awesome life changing thought, it’s gone!
It was like the time I first started entering a program at U of T in first year computer science. Back in ’82 the university had just upgraded from punch cards to keyboard data entry. And so I diligently typed the code for some amazing programming. I think it was to add two numbers. Line after line I typed. And then… poof. Blank screen. I looked around to a sea of blank screens and panicky first years. I called the TA over. Where did it go? It’s gone he said. Bring it back! Nope, can’t be done.
In that moment I decided that computers were a fad and not worth learning how to program. Doh!
Today I don’t stop believing in the process just because a part has malfunctioned. I keep going with the plan. Because its actions that are important. The specifics of the action are not so relevant. It matters not if you attempt to help Bob or Sue, so long as you are trying to help someone.
During my sales career I have only worked for one company that made service work a part of the compensation plan. What a brilliant idea. I am sure that this is not novel to this one company, I just have never experienced it before. The idea was to volunteer in a business related service organization and that makes sense. Might as well advance business if you are asking your employees to offer their time free but are compensating them.
This became a bit of a competition between us. We all wanted to find the coolest place to offer our services to. And when we joined forces and volunteered together 2 would quickly become many. What is interesting with this is that while the experiment in business engineering was being practiced, virtually everyone participated and received the remuneration as a result. Even more interesting is that when the program stopped, most kept volunteering. Not because they were gaining financially. It was what they felt about themselves that drove this behaviour. The satisfaction gained from helping out is not proportional to the action. It is considerably greater.
And what this enlightened business owner created was a group of folks who will forever be a part of the service world helping others.
I participate in an inordinate amount of service work. My wife and friends sometimes think its a bit more than is necessary. And of coarse if they are suggesting that I am doing to much it is most likely that I am neglecting them. I can easily fix this. There is always enough time for all my activities. Sometimes the busywork suffers. I may not have time to catch up on the Drudge Report or Facebook. Tv watching may suffer.
If you want something done, ask a busy person. I never really understood this. Until I became really busy helping others. The busier I get the more time I seem to have to put my hand up. (Oh look, another paradox). How do I help out? Sometimes its doling out meatballs to several hundred hungry folks at a local fundraiser or fellowship event. Maybe its helping my daughter do her math homework. (Torture! don’t tell her I said so, lol) The most rewarding of the service activities I do is mentoring other men.
Now I am not any smarter than the average guy. I have no great life awarenesses that make me qualified to work with these men. I have no degree in psychology. But what I have is experience doing the things that I have been writing about this past month and a bit. More so I have results. Ones that even I have to acknowledge. Because, yes, it is true that we are always the last to see change in ourselves. I regularly check the mirror of another to see change in myself. Those closest see the changes way before me.
Helping others almost becomes an addiction! One that if you find the right balance makes your life immensely better. But this is a business blog so let me bring this back to that. As I help others in everyday life I see opportunity and need for placing my actions in business on the plane of service also. Rather than trying to sell a customer what I think they need so my numbers make the grade at the office, I look for that which benefits the client. And along the way I become surprised at the results. I may even see more customers. And that can never be wrong!