It’s just so easy in day-to-day life to focus on our own interests, isn’t it? On the quest for success at work, at home, in the gym, in our relationships. And the overriding message out there seems to be that getting ahead requires you to keep your mind on your own needs. If you don’t look out for number one, who will? Especially when you’re trying to juggle what is likely at least 3 full days worth of activities and stress in any given 24-hour period.
The influences we have on television and in the media don’t really lead us to think any other way either. Reality TV is all about winning, about knocking out the competitor in order to get to the top. Any cleverly worded sales pitch or advertising campaign will straight away show you the “what’s in it for me element”. We’ve learnt that being able to do it all or have it all requires putting ourselves first at all times. And certainly if we’re going to be able to reach all our goals we need to put constant effort into them, don’t we? Even if it does occasionally mean we have to cancel on a friend, skip some quality time with our family, or – god forbid – listen to someone else’s woes for any length of time.
It seems that the faster our lives become the more we drift away from the concept of community and into the idea that ‘it’s all about me’.
It wasn’t always this way. John Kennedy (certainly one of the 20th century’s greatest success stories) said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. These weren’t just empty words, and nor were they a new idea. In the Bible, when Jesus’ disciples asked him the secret to wealth and greatness he told them it is “to serve the many”.
So how does that work?
Well it’s not necessarily about volunteering all your free time for charity work, and nor is it about offering to take on your colleagues’ project. But maybe, just maybe, it’s about considering the idea that in order to reach our own goals and get what we want out of life, we can stop once in a while and help others get what they want. Of course, it’s a concept that comes naturally to some, but still easily forgotten amongst life’s many busy turns.
As a Personal Trainer for the past decade my focus has always been on building a successful business that expands both in and out of the gym. And although it’s ever-changing and I constantly set new goals, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at achieving this. The funny thing with Personal Training is that you simply can’t be successful without focusing on others. It’s all very well for me to set my mind on achieving a certain income, or introducing new services, or even building a successful blog, but the very thing that’s enabled me to do all this is helping others. Were I to ever forget about the people – about you and your needs – the business would be over. And I hadn’t really thought about this until recently. By nature I’m a pretty selfish person. But on those occasions when I do give up my own needs, or even just my time for someone else, it’s a pretty great feeling.
Making a commitment to support and build other people up is easily done in just about any area of your life. And the best part is that it’s easy to create your own success as an outcome of this.
Want to improve your fitness and lose some weight? Make a commitment to help a friend be accountable with their own exercise and eating program. Exercise together, set goals together, follow-up on their progress when you don’t see them, and just watch your own motivation and commitment change. The Bible also says that “when two or three come together with purpose, then nothing can stop them”. And it certainly sounds easier than constantly going things on your own, doesn’t it?
Trying to get ahead in your career? Go above and beyond every once in a while. Offering to do the gritty tasks or the extra hours isn’t a smart plan if you do it every day and turn into a doormat, but holding up your hand to help your boss or co-workers out during a busy time highlights you in only the best possible way.
If you think about it this way, the sales people have it right when they focus on the “what’s in it for me”. The trick is simply to be one of the people who focuses on others, not one of those who constantly asks what is in it for them.
Life is Now. Press Play.
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