"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up." John Holmes quote seems appropriate for Valentine's Day. So, if you have a need, help someone else succeed.
If you are a servant leader at work or a servant leader to the world, take a moment to pause and lift someone up today. It's the fastest way to lift yourself up.
When we have a need we tend to worry, obsess and continually focus on that need. Maybe it's a financial need, or a need for recognition, love, a new challenge or companionship. We are typically drawn inward by our needs in hopes that we can somehow come up with a way to meet the need. However, our inward focus often turns into a spiral of despair. We can quickly find ourselves consumed with fret, worry and wallow. This is a self-absorbed spiral, not to mention a futile one.
So, the next time you have a need, help someone else succeed by asking the right question. Instead of asking, "What's in it for me?" ask the WIIFO question: "What's in it for others?" Get your mind off yourself and direct your actions toward someone else. If you find yourself feeling discouraged, visit children in the hospital or cheer up a friend who is lonely. If you are looking for a job, help someone else with their job search. If you want to get the best from yourself, first give the best of yourself.
Helping others not only helps you shift your focus outward, but also stimulates feelings of gratitude. There is nothing like a dose of gratitude to pick us up. Most importantly, meeting others' needs brings out our true spirit - it reflects our positive human character.
But here's the caveat: If you expect something in return for your help, your act of kindness is really an act of trading favors. Be a giver, not a trader.
Mike Haynes is a stellar example of this. Mike had been an innocent bystander when a fellow college student went off the deep-end and bullets went flying at the University of Texas campus . Mike was hit.
He was rushed to the hospital where his heart stopped during surgery. Mike's mom remembers lying next to his hospital bed on a cot, praying more than sleeping for nights on end.
Once Mike was finally able to leave the hospital, he made a life changing decision for himself and many others. He decided to change his college major from accounting to rehabilitation so he could help others. In spite of needing much help himself, Mike soon began helping others who, like him, now rely on wheelchairs as a way of life.
Today you will find Mike at some of the most challenging Triathlons. He manages open-water swims, rigorous bike courses and equally taxing runs.
He is also a nationally-ranked tennis player. More importantly, Mike's passion is working with others who are recovering from injuries and accidents, coaching wheelchair basketball teams, volleyball teams and individual sports. He also helps athletes prepare for the Paralympics. Mike had a need and now helps many others succeed.
The help you give others is an important part of the legacy you leave. If you don't know where to start, start close to home or work. There is always someone worse-off than you are. If a colleague has a Little League game he needs to attend, pick up his load so he might leave early to get to the game. If a neighbor is not feeling well, buy an extra take-out dinner portion on your way home from work. If a friend is struggling with a relationship, lend an ear. If a young new employee is having trouble adjusting to a new company, offer to show her the ropes. Help is not help until it is given, so turn your intentions to help into acts of help.