Service and blessing other people is a big part of our reason for being over at Lemonade Stand. I have written about this before (Build Then Bless, A Lemonade Stand Thanksgiving, The Fred Factor), and I will most definitely reference it in some form or another in future articles, but I wanted to take a moment to write specifically about selfless service and how it can help you to have a happy and successful life.
There are many, many reasons why this would be true, but I am going to focus on just three of the reasons that I believe actively engaging in selfless acts of service will make your life better all around.
Fulfillment and Something to Exist For
If you live your entire life thinking mostly of yourself and how to get ahead of other people around you and how to always be benefiting yourself whether that be in relationships or in day-to-day transactions with people, you will, most definitely, get to a point where you look at yourself and the grandiose life that you have built and think “why am I so unhappy? I have everything that I have ever wanted in life. I should be the happiest person alive!”
But you probably won’t be the happiest person alive.
A big part of this will stem from where your focus has been for too long. You’ll need a shift in your perspective and your lifestyle.
We, as human beings, actually get very little satisfaction and fulfillment from doing things for ourselves compared to when we are doing those same things for other people. If I get myself a brand new iPhone, I will be happy as a clam and as excited as I could ever be for about a week or two before that becomes just a normal part of my day. If, however, I bought that same iPhone for someone who had not been able to upgrade their phone for years and years, I would be overjoyed every time that I thought about that act of service and how happy it made them and how much better their life will be because of something I was able to do for them. Now, you don’t need to be running out and buying everyone an iPhone just to make yourself feel some fulfillment from life. That was just an example, but it is definitely something that I would love to be able to do for someone at some point in my life!
The next time that you are going out to do something for yourself or to buy something for yourself, try doing or buying that thing for another person in your life (or even a complete stranger), and I can promise you that you will experience so much more joy (and lasting joy at that) than if you were to do or buy that thing for yourself.
Make service and blessing others your reason to exist. Filling your days and your life with opportunities to take care of other people who are in need will lead you to the happiest and most content life you could have ever lived.
You’ll have to bear with me on this section as it, initially, won’t sound like a completely selfless reason to serve. And maybe it isn’t.. but I do think that it is a very valid reason to perform service nonetheless.
There is a concept that I first read about in Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” referred to as the “emotional bank account.” The basic premise of this concept is that, in a relationship, you will make “deposits” and “withdrawals” from this figurative emotional bank account. If you support, serve, encourage, etc. the other person in the relationship, then you have made a deposit into the bank account. When you, in turn, are in need of support, service, or encouragement, you are then making a “withdrawal” from the bank account. The point is, you can’t be continually making withdrawals if you are not depositing anything from which to withdraw in the first place. You have to have both sides in a relationship or else the bank account will run dry, and you might cause issues down the road.
I believe that we can apply a similar concept when it comes to service. I do not think that you should perform an act of service with the sole intent of being able to call upon that person later to “make your withdrawal” from the bank of favors that you’ve built up. That’s not the point I’m trying to make here. What I am saying is that, what goes around really does come back around.
If you live your life in a way where you are always out and about serving other people and taking care of other people, then, when you are inevitably in need of help from other human beings (as we all are at some time or another), people from your past or people who know your reputation will be more than willing to step up to the plate and help you in your time of need.
The opposite is also true here. If you never help anyone aside from yourself, you might be pretty hard pressed to find someone who will be filled with glee at the idea of helping you out of a sticky situation.
If you do not make any deposits into the “service bank account,” it becomes difficult or impossible to request a withdrawal from the bank.
Growing Your Business
The premise of this article is to serve selflessly, without any thought of oneself. That does not, however, mean that no personal gain or benefits will ever come from serving. You just need to have the right attitude going in.
The final reason that I want to touch on for performing acts of service is the way that it will help your business to grow and even flourish.
I can speak to this point firsthand as I have witnessed it time and time again while I have been here at Lemonade Stand. If you take care of your clients or customers, really take care of them – take time to form a personal connection, take time to help and serve them when they need it, give meaningful and personal gifts because you are friends with them and love them – then they will always take care of you.
This can come in many ways, also. It doesn’t mean that they will forever and always be your client. I cannot tell you the number of clients that have had to pause or cancel services with us for any number of reasons who have turned around and started to refer more and more clients to us because of the relationship that we built with them and the way in which our team members served them.
They will always take care of you.
Building relationships is absolutely pivotal to helping a business to grow, and one of the best ways that I have seen to be able to build relationships is by selflessly serving the people around you.
Selfless service is a key secret to a successful and happy life!