Serving others as a way to help yourself. This is a thing. It is real. Life can be difficult and many people battle with feeling lost. As an entrepreneur who works alone, I have had many ups and downs in my business, and those struggles often overlap into my whole life. I have never dealt with extended periods of depression, but I do understand that emotions and feelings are powerful. When facing harder times, counseling is the right answer.
But I regularly have struggled with feelings of being lost in my journey. I have a sense there is something more I could and should be doing as a businessperson and as a person. I am one who wants to learn from my triumphs and my failures. Yet every now and then the failures seem to dominate and I do not know what to do to change course.
Ever feel this way? For some you are saying “nope”. Others are nodding your heads right now. For you I wish I had an answer that was easy. When you get into that space where you feel you have slipped down into a hole, there often seems like the well is deep with no way out. But there are many things you can do to switch your mood and get on a path.
There are many things written about how serving others helps give people a sense of meaning and purpose. Whether it is volunteering in a religious cause, civic cause, charity, etc… people can find their own way when helping people. This is good to know. When my own mood goes south and I feel the weight of the world is on my shoulders, this is an important reminder.
I often wish I had a guide or mentor. Or God. Something or someone who would show me the exact answers and tell me what to do. But even with guides, mentors, or a higher power, there is not clear path. You have to take actions and adjust your own course. Sometimes it is debilitating to have these feelings of being lost or a failure, but the older I get the more I can remember that these feelings are usually short lived if I can find an answer and take action.
Serving others is my answer. It is easy in our current world to get wrapped up in our own problems. We don’t often see the suffering that is happening all around us. By suffering I am not even talking about the serious issues of that people face with illness, homelessness, oppression, etc… Suffering is often not as visible and there are not non-profits formed to deal with these things. The people very near you may be heavily caught up in their own private demons, and they are not putting these problems out in public.
When I have been caught up in what seems like heavy problems, helping someone can bring me out of my funk (often it is my mind making small issue into a big one. My brain often overthinks situations and creates unnecessary worry). Serving others can lighten my load and fill me with a rediscovered sense of purpose.
Yet in our busy – busy world, it can seem like we have enough on our plate, and serving others would be an addition to our own problems. The opposite is often true, and serving others does not take that much time (most of the time).
The key to serving others is to be an observer. You have to be able to spot those in need. I try asking on social media “anything I can do to help you?”… and I think someone would have a request. But nobody every replies. So for me I try hard to make business recommendations. The best way you can help most people is to find a way to boost their career. I also am always willing to chat with anyone who wants to be a speaker or start a podcast. These are things I know a little about and it is a great way to serve.
I also have the benefit that my career as a speaker can often be a way to be serving others. Not always, but often my work brings joy to people and the message is needed. When that happens I feel better. Also, if I can make people laugh it feels good, as I know how badly I need to see humor and joy on days when am blue.
But I want to do more. I want to find a way to really serve others, and I am not even sure what I am seeking. There has to be a way I can make a bigger impact, and at the same time help myself deal with my own feelings of being adrift. I think the purpose of this blog post is as much advice for someone reading as a plea for ideas on serving others in a more meaningful way.
Have a great day.
***ALSO – listen to my podcast about Helping Others.
Thom Singer is a motivational speaker and professional master of ceremonies / EmCee.