When I nervously asked my now father-in-law for my wife's hand in marriage nearly 25 years ago, he gave me prophetic words of wisdom. It was a less than memorable day for the most part, by that I mean we were working on a couple of projects on his "to do" list. After waiting for what seemed like forever, I mustered up enough courage to throw out these words, "Mr. Benny, Bridgette and I want to get married." Waiting for the world to shake with anger, excitement, joy, he calmly in his trademark kind of way simply said, "we thought you might." After a brief pause, he went on to give me a golden nugget that has proven to be so important to us in our marriage. He said "I can only tell you this, if you will both always try to out give the other, then you will be just fine together." And that was it! No "yes," no "maybe," and I suppose no "no." Wow!
What he was saying I believe is this- We must always seek to serve others before demanding to be served. This is a basic concept lost in our rush-to-success world that is filled with instant gratification, blame game tactics, and a marketplace concerned more about terminating the one who caused the bad experience and less about providing legendary customer service.
Here are Six Ways to Serve Others Before Being Served:
1) Look for ways to serve.
In every community all over the world people need you. You may not need to go half way across the world to work with the homeless, helpless and hopeless. Many of these folks live just up the street.
2) Be willing to take second place.
It is not easy in today's world to find people who are willing to take second place. As an athlete and coach for much of my life, I love the game and mostly I love to win. Finishing second has never come easy for me. Serving others requires that we sometimes put our plans on hold, forego a vacation, sell our car or even let someone else get in line before us. So what!
3) Give it away.
Don't be a credit seeker. Give more than you take. There is little value in hanging on to something that someone else needs more than you.
4) Show compassion.
People who are willing to show compassion are certain to find ways to serve. Professionally or personally, you encounter people everyday who need your service or your help. Organizations like the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and others work tirelessly to show compassion. For you and me it may be more direct, like taking time to help a co-worker or customer.
5) Listen more and speak less.
The noise of life sometimes drowns out the cries of our customers for help. We get really busy trying to give them our product, our way, that we miss out on what they really want. Sometimes they just want us to hear them out, not sell them more. Be still and consider what might be needed.
6) Open your door, sit back and visit for awhile.
The pace of life drives us to the brink sometimes. Slow down every now and then. Open the door of your office for co-workers, sit down at the dinner table and listen to your children and go visit someone who needs a friend. Life will meet you at these places.
Looking back at that afternoon with Mr. Benny, I see more clearly the real wisdom in his words. He had lived them all his life and even today continues to show those around him how this mantra has sustained him through so many challenges in life. Thanks Papa.
If you need help working through the process, consider using the resources at Coates and Associates, Inc. We would consider it an honor to visit with you about developing a process forward.