Have you ever noticed how our greatest love stories typically involve someone sacrificing their life for the good of another? Stirring stories like the love story of Titanic, William Wallace in Braveheart, and Mother Theresa’s life awaken something deep within us. We know love to its core is placing others above ourselves. It’s about caring more about someone than our own selfish wants and desires. It’s about the joy of sacrifice.
We know truly loving others means sacrifice right? And in our mind we think we’d jump in front of a bus for our loved ones, but yet we often have such trouble doing the small things daily that communicate love and kindness. Taking out the trash, communicating more kindly and thoughtfully to our loved ones, creatively serving our customers and co-workers instead of just doing the bare minimum.
Everyday presents opportunities to serve others in our work and in our personal life. Let’s be mindful and seize those opportunities touch the lives of others.
6 more tips for Embracing the Greatness of Serving:
- Recognize and Applaud it. When you see others serving well, whether it be your waiter, a customer service rep, or a friend, genuinely compliment them. Encouragement is a form of serving.
- Model it. Read stories about those who have a servant disposition in their character. Spend more time with those who have a humble serving attitude towards others rather than those who tend to only live for themselves. Unconsciously the way our mind works, we tend to adopt the patterns and behaviors of the stories we read and of the people we’re around.
- Visualize it. Imagine your typical day playing out with a servant attitude. Imagine waking up and going through your morning routine more aware of how you can serve people. Imagine being thoughtful and considerate throughout your workday and how it feels as you interact with people differently. See and feel their response. See yourself really enjoying serving your customers and co-workers in practical ways. And when you return home, imagine having a servanthood attitude towards your roommates or loved ones instead of being consumed with your own world.
- Practice Thoughtful & Spontaneous Generosity. The girl I’m dating was leaving the airport with her mom and sister in Buenos Aires recently and an Irish guy asked her for help. He didn’t have any cash for a cab, so she invited him to ride with them to the area of town he needed to go and proceeded to help ensure that he got on the right bus from there. Generosity at 1:30 a.m., when she was really tired. Good stuff.
- Challenge Cultural Norms. Have you ever been to Apple’s Genius Bar? Instead of following the norm in the computer industry for customer service of shipping things to central location or outsourcing customer support to Asia, Apple designed their retail stores with the customer in mind first. First priority for Apple: how do we enrich the live’s of our customers, not how do we most inexpensively provide customer service. Your computer or ipod has issues? Bring it in and you’ll talk to a real person speaking your language competently who often will fix the computer on the spot. In 15 minutes.
- Secretly serve. 5 guys in a house. Lots of trash and not a clean house & no one liked to take out the trash. After college, that’s where I found myself. We had a huge trash can, but it filled up nearly everyday. First few months we often took turns, but the other guys would usually forget. I’d get angry and frustrated. Then I realized I needed to grow in the character trait of servanthood and here’s the perfect opportunity. I took the trash out for 10 months every time without telling the roommates what I was doing. No one commented. I came to really enjoy it and grew a lot in embracing the value of servanthood. (Obviously not so secret anymore).
Who do you want to serve to today? How?
“Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
-Jesus of Nazareth.