Our lives are busy and it is easy to get caught up in getting our own crap completed. Many people work hard to reach their goals, and the laser focus can undermine doing anything to help others. But does this attention to our own stuff limit our future success?
If we want others to sing our praises, we cannot make all our own actions self-serving. We have to "give to get". Why would anyone help me if I do not do anything to serve others in my community?
The New York Times recently ran an article called "Is Giving The Secret To Getting Ahead" in which they profiled the success of Adam Grant, the yougest tenured and highest ranked professor at the Whorton. The gist of the article is that this 31-year-old has achieved his success by always going the extra mile to help other people find their own success. He daily does things beyond what is expected of him, and he has achieved more than most of his peers.
The Times article is a bit too long, but the idea that giving to others brings more success to the giver is something I agree with in principle (and hopefully in practice). I have seen that the real givers always seem to have more opportunities coming their way over time. This does not mean that selfish people do not succeed.... we see that all the time too, but the givers are the ones who clearly enjoy their victories because it brings them more chances to give even more.
If you read this article online, do not miss reading the comments section. I am shocked by how nasty and hateful some NYTimes readers can be when an article gives praise. Wow, the cynical nature and excuse making that appears in some of the comments confirms much of what the article says. The bitter people who claim he must be a bad parent because he works long hours or state his success is solely because his wife does not work outside the home is hard to read if you are an optimist! Some of those who left comments clearly will never understand the power that can come from connecting the dots to help others. One person went as far as to claim that "selfishness is the secret to success". YUCK.
As a professional speaker I am amazed at how many of my peers admit to never referring other speakers. In this job it is an exception to be invited to deliver the keynote at a conference two years in a row (yes, yes, it does happen... and has happened to me, but it is NOT the rule). Because of this, I know that I most likely will not be back at the same event back-to-back. Thus, I tell my clients if they ever need a speaker, I have a list of friends who can WOW their audiences. Not all take me up on it, but I regularly am asked to refer another speaker to a former client. When I ask peers how often the refer business, many look at me like I am from Mars.
One speaker told me she never talks about other speakers because she might be giving up the chance to be brought back if she praises others. Ummmm, meeting planners know there are lots of great speakers in the world, and I would rather see the opportunity go to my friend instead of a stranger.
It is often exciting to refer others. By doing this it keeps me in long-term contact with clients, and the speakers I refer sometimes return the favor. (I can only refer those I have seen speak - and like their style - so my list of those I send business is a short, but a powerful group!!!).
Giving is the secret to more success!!! I believe this. Nothing anyone can say will convince me otherwise, and I give credit for much of my success to the strong connections with other speakers I have met through the National Speakers Association. My circle of friends seem to all have a natural inclination to give (the takers don't fit in with this circle). We find joy in each bit of success that comes to our peers, and together we look for ways to lift each other higher.
If you ever need a speaker.... call me.... I would love to work with your company, association or other group.... AND if I am not the right fit, I will gladly refer you to several FANTASTIC options!!!
Have A Great Day.