I've seen plenty of entrepreneurs and established business leaders who believe they have to do everything on their own. Yet accepting help from others is not admitting weakness. And the same can be said in reverse.
In business, people often forget how valuable it is to develop a helpful mindset. Being helpful to other people is never going to get in the way of your success. The sooner you realize that we're really all in this together, and that there's plenty of room for everyone to thrive, the more successful you'll be at achieving your goals in life and in business.
To help you (see what I did there?) become more successful, here are seven habits you should start practicing to get better at identifying and acting on opportunities to be more helpful to people in your life:
1. Be there for people in their moments of vulnerability.
It doesn't matter how high someone climbs, everyone has moments where they fall. When you get the chance to be there for someone who really needs you, be there. Even in noncrisis moments, if you know that someone really values something that's within your power to deliver, then do it.
2. Personalize whenever possible.
Personalization isn't always viewed as something that's helpful, but I consider it one of the best ways to have a human-to-human connection with another person -- and that results in the opportunity to help that person more.
For example, I published my book, "Top of Mind," this year, and when I'm face-to-face with a reader, I haven't let a single copy leave my hands without personalizing it for him or her. The goal of publishing the book in the first place was to help people become better at engaging others consistently. Personalizing the books gives me another chance to connect and engage, which can result in readers retaining more information and putting it to use in their own lives, too.
3. Look out for others' blind sides.
Every once in a while, I'll get an email from a friend with a link to something he or she thinks should be on my radar. It could be a potential competitor or a list of industry trends I should know about. Whatever it is, receiving a short email about it gives me the heads up. This act is as valuable as it is simple. As soon as you identify something of value like that, just think of someone you know who could benefit from it, and send a quick email.
4. End conversations by asking how you can be helpful.
I know this sounds simple, but you can honestly be your own best researcher; you just have to know what's truly helpful to other people. I used to make the mistake of trying to help people by doing what I personally thought would be nice, such as sending introductions. It simply wasn't the right approach, though, and it can do more harm than good. Now, I make a concerted effort to ask about and understand what is actually helpful to each person I speak to.
5. Create a habit of recognizing people.
This is probably the easiest of all the habits. Next time you have a positive experience with someone, find that person's boss and share the praise with him or her directly. You'll learn that by helping people identify who their top performers are, you not only help the leadership team, but you also help out the person who delivered an exceptional experience to you. Everyone wins. Too often, we jump down people's throats for bad experiences, and we don't recognize the positive often enough.
6. Give selfless feedback.
You know the feeling you get when people give you advice that's really only intended to make themselves feel better? I've been guilty of this myself in the past. I wanted people to feel that I was giving them feedback they could use, but in reality, I'd usually end up coming across as a showoff, just trying to display my authority on a topic. Now, I always ask myself this question: "Am I giving this feedback to truly help this person become better?" If the answer is anything but an unqualified "yes," then I need to shut my mouth.
7. Write down meaningful things.
As soon as you meet someone you know you can help, write it down immediately after you chat with him or her. This could be as simple as jotting down a note on your to-do list. Now, let's say a contact mentioned his wedding anniversary is coming up or that he loves wine. At the right time, that kind of information is extremely valuable in helping you do something meaningful for that person.
No one expects you to start doing all of these things tomorrow, but if you start with the low-hanging fruit and keep at it consistently, the repetition will start training your brain to naturally think like a more helpful person. I adopted some of these habits a few years ago, and the changes have been incredibly positive -- not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well.