The Paradox of Serving Your Way to Success

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When you first hear it, serving your way to success sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The idea of being someone’s servant even sounds a little bit demeaning. And don’t I have to focus on me to get ahead? No one else cares about me as much as me.

“I love me some me!” — Terrell Owens, former NFL receiver

That can lead to a downhill spiral – fast. You end up feeling greedy, selfish, and desperate. And, it usually leads to financial and relational struggles.

But, when you truly understand it, serving your way to success makes perfect sense. You can track every bit of success in your life to your service of others.

  • You got promoted and made more income by serving your customers, coworkers, and boss
  • Your marriage is great because you put your spouse’s needs above yours
  • Your business is thriving because of the way you serve your clients
  • You have lots of friends because you’ve shown that you’ll help them any way you can

Sometimes I forget this. Whenever I find myself pressing in my business, or feel like I’m working too hard trying to sell, I always notice that I’ve gotten away from the focus of serving others. As soon as I start looking for ways to help and serve, things start working out again.

I start to feel happier. I begin to create better relationships and friendships. I have more fun in my work. I help more people.

As a bonus, I get more speaking engagements, coaching clients, and book and online course sales. But that isn’t my focus.

Sports demonstrate this as well. You’ve heard people say about a great player, “he’s so good, he makes everyone around him better.” That doesn’t just happen by accident. The great ones serve their teammates by helping them become better. They give them tips on how to play their position, how to study film, how to be mentally tough, and more. They lead by example and by their hard work. They never ask someone to do something they aren’t willing to do themselves.

It’s true in more than just sports. The really great parents, friends, and business people make everyone around them better. And they do it by serving.

It’s amazing how the process of helping others makes you a better person, and leads you to greater personal success than you’ve ever known. Quite often it even leads to more income. That’s not why you do it, but it sure doesn’t stink.

Let’s GO!

Questions for comments:

  • How do you switch your focus to serve others?
  • What do you do to serve others?
  • How does that change how you feel and what you achieve?

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

Who Are You Trying to Please? Why? Is It Worth It?

eggshells

We all know trying to please everyone is impossible, so why do we feel like failures when some people don’t like what we do? Why do we compromise on what we know would be our best work, in order to try to please a few more people?

It’s time to try something different. Let’s figure out who we care the most about, who shares our values and try to please them. Let’s get loyal, evangelical customers for life instead of aiming for the lowest common denominator who will drop us if the wind blows funny.

My radio show is not the highest ranked show in town. In fact, it’s not in the top 10. The top show on at the same time I am on is classic rock. A “lifestyle” talk show and sports talk shows are also ranked above me. (The good news is I’m ranked above the station that is our direct competitor.)

I could get really down about my ratings and change what I do to try to please the people who are listening to the shows ranked above me. I might be able to do that. But how many loyal listeners would I end up losing? Would I even enjoy my work anymore?

My station and I are going for an intensely loyal audience that wants to hear what I have to say about the things they care deeply about. Growing that audience makes my station profitable and a great place for our advertisers to reach a loyal customer base.

Don’t get me wrong. I want higher ratings and will continue to improve my show to get them. But I want to get them by going after a special kind of audience. I’d rather have a smaller group of raving fans that I don’t have to constantly chase for repeat business, wouldn’t you?

Raving fans are special. They:

  • Feel like they’re part of your family
  • Tell everyone about you
  • Stick with you
  • Buy from you even when you’re not having a sale
  • Never go anywhere else

I’ve found that developing raving fans makes it easier to increase your profits than trying to be all things to all people. It also comes with some extra bonuses. You get to love what you do and that leads to doing your best work. The hope is that you become so good at your work that to your raving fans, and to yourself, your work becomes art.

Questions for comments: How do you decide whom to please? How has narrowing your focus helped you?

 

Being Assertive Right Away Pays Off Big Time

mary poppins

I can’t believe what that guy said to me.
Wait until you hear what our vendor just did.
That customer wastes so much of my time, I wonder if he’s even worth it.

Do you ever say things like that? Why don’t you do something to stop these problems from happening again and again?

Well, the customer is always right. I don’t want to be difficult, or rude, or impolite. I was raised to be nice to people.

I get all that, but are you confusing being nice with being a doormat?

You can be polite and nice while still being assertive. When you do, your life will get so much easier. People will respect you more – even the people who are mistreating you – and you will start to be treated preferentially.

When I was in 7th grade I got into 13 fights. I didn’t start any of them. I was a short, scrawny kid with braces, glasses and acne. I looked like I had a sign on me saying, “Please pick on me.” The bullies did.

I didn’t win any of the fights. But I never fought the same kid twice because I stood up for myself. When someone started to hit me, I hit him back. But I didn’t just hit him back, I went CRAZY! I yelled, screamed, punched, scratched, kicked and did whatever I could to let him know I was not an easy target. He might win, but he would be licking some wounds in the victory circle.

It took a while for word to get around the bully clique, but after 13 fights no one ever picked on me again. The bullies didn’t become my friends, but they respected me.

Greg, um, I don’t think it’s good advice to beat people up.

I’m not saying it’s time to beat up everyone who mistreats you. But the idea that you have to take people’s garbage and smile is ridiculous. Don’t be aggressive, be assertive.

When someone is speaking rudely to you kindly, but firmly, let them know you’ll be happy to speak with them when they’re calmer and can be civil.

When your vendor isn’t living up to the contract, politely but firmly remind them of the details and hold them to it – or change vendors.

When a customer is more pain than he’s worth, let him know that while you appreciate his business, it seems he isn’t happy with what you offer and it’s time he takes that business somewhere else.

Start being assertive right away and watch how things change. You will end up being happier, more productive, and probably make more money by doing away with so many problems. You’ll also be treated better by everyone you interact with.

Try it and tell me how it goes.

Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

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A friend said to me, “Greg, I get what your saying on how great your life can be when you find and pursue your Passionate Purpose, but isn’t it kind of selfish to focus so much on ourselves?”

Not at all. Let me explain…

When I was nine years old I flew on a plane for the first time. Everything was brand new and thrilling. One thing puzzled me. The flight attendant told the adults that if the plane depressurized they should put the oxygen mask on themselves before they put it on their child. What? Don’t they care about us kids?!

My mom explained to me that the adults might pass out if they tried to take care of the children first. Then no one could be helped.

It’s the same with finding Your Passionate Purpose. If you don’t figure out what you are here to do, how can you do your best to help others?

Once you find it and start pursuing it, you begin to do the best work of your life. That work will serve others better than anything else you could do.

Yes, it will be good for you, but it will also be the best thing you can do to help everyone else.

My favorite Zig Ziglar quote makes the point well:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Put your oxygen mask on first and then serve your way to success.

The Internet is a Small Town and That’s Great For You

Main_Street_Bldg_Chesterton_IN_2012

Not that long ago, most Americans lived in small towns. In those days you built your business on word of mouth. Everyone knew everyone else, so word got around. If you were honest, delivered a good product or service, and took care of your customers people knew it and your business grew. If not, you were out of business pretty quick.

Then the country started getting bigger and less connected. You could get away with being unethical or substandard because there was always another sucker out there to fleece.

If you were doing things the right way, your business would grow, but since people weren’t as connected with their neighbors, word of mouth spread much more slowly.

Your bigger competitors could afford to advertise much more than you could.

Guess what? With the Internet there has never been a better time to become successful by being honest and delivering great customer service.

The Internet has done two big things:

1) Created small towns again.

How?

People are connecting again. Yes, it’s the virtual world, but it’s still connecting.

The people you serve are talking about you on their social networks. If they love you, most of their “friends” and “followers” will hear about it.

If they hate you, ALL of them will hear about it.

Since you have a great product/service and you super serve your customer, this is a great time for you!

Depending on what you do, look at all the ways your customers can rave – or rant – about you now:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yelp
  • Google reviews
  • Amazon reviews
  • LinkedIn
  • Goodsnitch
  • Foursquare (not just for “checking in”)
  • MerchantCircle.com
  • Yahoo! Local Listings
  • Angie’s list
  • Insider Pages
  • City Search
  • Consumer Search
  • Consumer Reports
  • BBB
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Manta
  • Judy’s Book
  • Open Table
  • Epinions,

Your reputation is built or destroyed depending on what you provide the customer. They are talking. What are they saying about you?

2) The Internet has also allowed you to reach a huge audience without spending any – or very little – money.

How?

Provide something of value to people on your social media outlets. Show them how much you care and want to serve them. Give them some free tips/strategies/referrals/stuff. Engage with them. Serve them. (Are you catching on to how important it is to serve others?)

They will become raving fans, buy from you when they need what you have, and be there for you when you need them.

And for a pittance of what traditional advertising costs, you can reach your true fans with social media advertising, webinars, podcasts and emailings.

What a great time to be someone who super serves people!

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

–Zig Ziglar