Help Others To Help Yourself

Depression had caught up on me. I was feeling crappy. Something was not right. My business was off and my mood had been blue for too long. It was not my greatest hour. I was stuck in a rut and felt like my successful career had hit the end of the road. Then it hit me like a voice from beyond – “help others to help yourself”. Duh- givers get (I have heard that a million times).

About the same time someone asked for my help. My initial reaction was to ignore the plea of this virtual stranger who wanted to “pick my brain”. I hear it time and time again from speakers, authors and coaches who sneer at those who ask for free consulting over coffee.  They want to charge for every minute of their brilliance. But I remember how many people sat with me in my younger days and shared advice from their heart. How can I say not. I need to pay it forward.

The Go-Giver and Give and Take

Then suddenly I remembered my friend Bob Burg and his famous book “The Go-Giver”. I had read it years ago, and like to think I am a person destined to serve others. His books coupled with the research of Adam Grant (author of “Give and Take“) made it clear I needed to do this. I want to be a go-giver, not a person who gets myopic on my own stuff and takes too much. A feeling of wanting to do little favors for people began to fill me up. I knew inside me that it would change my situation. It was they way of my funk.

I decided to say “yes” to helping and to seek out ways to be a resource. It was in that little shift of focus that I would began to feel better. While I think I was always a “giver”, I was going to turn up the heat. I was going to work harder and faster to assist people.

Immediately I felt good. I saw that the path out of my situation of dread and up the success ladder was to find ways to help more people. I wanted to be a true go giver, not just a true go getter. Research shows (from professor Adam Grant and others) that successful givers win in the long run.

The Me Society

Many are are obsessed with how many people viewed or liked a post on Facebook or Instagram. We all post the pictures and memes that show us in the best light (guilty as charged personally). “Look at me” is the theme of our society.

The trick is to preserve and equal balance of promotional activities with a wide range of things that are really just done to assist other people. I decided to reach out to all of my LinkedIn contacts and ask what I could do for them. While most do not respond to random inbox emails from some person they may or may not know that well, I was happy how many did respond. I ended up setting up a ton of coffee meetings and opportunities to promote some folks by interviewing them on my podcast.

Additionally I re-launched my old group coaching program, “The Potential Mastermind Project”, but this time the group will have not fee. It will be a place for people who listen to the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast or see me speak at a company meeting can come find fellowship and inspiration. The mastermind has a Facebook Group, and a twice monthly live video call. I am not sure where this will go, but I know people are hungry for connections and I want to facilitate growth for anyone interested.

Selfless Givers

I am not sure I am really a “Selfless Giver”, as I do want to achieve my own path toward success. Yet it is so easy to fall into a state where you are just looking to self. The world is full of givers and takers, and there are times we all end up doing both. In the long term I believe that givers succeed, and even if they do not, there is something right about knowing every action was not selfish.

Some call this philosophy of radical giving and helping to be a revolutionary approach to success. But I think for centuries this way of living has helped people make connections, find jobs, start and grow companies, win elections, etc…

The givers I know are getting sick and tired of the takers. Help others to help yourself just seems like a good fit for me. Plus, I am working on a keynote speech on this topic for a client later this summer. They watched my TEDx Talk, “The Art of Giving Small” and asked me to combine it with my talk about managing career potential and success. The timing on my mental shift could not have come at a better time, as I now this speech will touch people and inspire me to continue along this path.

Join Me

If you want to be a person who gives more, join me. Get into my Facebook Group, “The Potential Mastermind Project” and find someone in that community who needs your brilliance. And just help them.

Thom Singer is a motivational speaker and professional master of ceremonies / emcee. He is the host of the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do podcast and the author of 12 books. He is here to help. If you read this post and you think he can help you in some way, reach out by email or social media.