Power Habit #3: Other People Thinking – Developing Your Mindset of Service
Developing Your Mindset of Service–I Will
The next component of developing the Power Habit of Other People Thinking and building the Power Element of Value is to develop your mindset of service.
When you serve others, you add value to their lives. It’s as simple as that.
But just because you serve someone, it doesn’t mean that you are their servant. Service is not servitude.
You are not a slave bound to a master because you serve. You are free to serve as you choose, not as others choose you to serve.
How you develop the mindset of service is by aligning your Intention with your Attitude. In regard to adding value to others, this means to align your intention to serve with the attitude of The Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The value of your service is best achieved through free will—the freedom to decide who you serve, why you serve, and how you serve.
When you serve others, you add value to their lives. It’s as simple as that.
But just because you serve someone, it doesn’t mean that you are their servant.
Service is not servitude. You are not a slave bound to a master because you serve. You are free to serve as you choose, not as others choose you to serve.
It is your free will to decide on what service you give, which is why, again, your attitude of service should always be front of mind. Always be thinking,
“How can I make this moment bigger? How can I help? What do others need right now that I can give?”
It isn’t always money. In fact, it is rarely money that other people need from you. Many other things take precedence.
Ideas to SERVE
Here is an acronym to remember when you are stuck for ideas on how to serve others: I SERVE!
Who is the most important person on the planet?
You, of course. At least in your opinion, which it should be. But everyone thinks this way.
Everyone thinks they are the most important person on the planet, and that’s also the way it should be. Everyone should value themself and their self-worth as vitally important to others.
Next time you meet someone, whether it’s an old friend, a customer, your mother, or you’re meeting them for the first time, remember that they consider themselves to be the most important person on the planet.
So treat them that way! Treat each person as though they were the most important person in the world, because to them they are.
Treat them well. Serve them well. And watch how you are treated in return.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes a smile is all someone needs. A smile can be a ray of sunshine for someone under a heavy cloud.
You can help shift the mood of someone simply with a smile. This is because your brain has a type of neurone called ‘mirror neurones’. They exist in birds, primates, and humans.
One way a mirror neurone works is to mimic the actions, moods and behaviours in others.
This means that when you see sad people, your mirror neurones ‘fire’ and mimic the sadness you see, causing your mood to dip and feel sad.
When you see angry people behaving with aggression, your mirror neurones ‘fire’ and mimic the anger and aggression you see, causing your emotions to become hot and angry too.
The same happens when you see happy people smiling and hear them laughing. Your mirror neurones ‘fire’ and mimic the happiness you see and hear, causing you to smile and feel happier.
This is why we say that laughter is infectious. When you hear people laughing, your facial muscles twitch in response and a smile begins to form on your face. Soon you’re laughing with them.
So serve others with a smile and make the moment bigger and lighter.
This is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone else.
It’s the ability to put yourself in their place as if you were them, to ‘walk in their shoes’, and offer guidance or help should it be appropriate.
It isn’t sympathy, which is to feel sorry for someone.
Psychologists identify 5 types of empathy:
- Cognitive: this type is considered ‘perspective taking’, which is putting yourself in someone else’s place and seeing the situation with their perspective. It is a rational, thoughtful, logical, reasoning, understanding empathy rather than an emotional empathy.
- Emotional: this type is considered ‘personal distress’, and involves an emotional response like the mirroring we discussed above in S: Smile. There is a ‘contagion’ aspect to this type of empathy, when we ‘catch’ the mood of the other person and is ’emotion-based’ rather than reason-based.
- Compassionate: this type is considered ‘personal concern’, and involves the concern for another’s situation with the added behavioural aspect of taking action to help them find a resolution to their problem or issue. Compassionate empathy is usually the most appropriate type of empathy.
- Somatic: this type is considered ‘personal pain’ because it involves actually ‘feeling’ someone else’s pain as a physical symptom. You might even say, “I feel your pain” when you witness a friend or colleague suffer a mishap, like twisting their ankle or hitting their head against a low ceiling. You might even wince and blurt out, “Ouch!”
- Spiritual: this type is considered ‘personal enlightenment’ and most closely resembles Buddhist ‘detachment’, whereby you are able to see the world and the events unfolding around you from a 3rd person perspective without the investment of personal emotion, desires, needs, and ego. It’s to see the world and others as would Higher Intelligence.
So understand your best type of empathy that best suits your personality. The next time you encounter someone who is in need of empathy, serve them a big dish of it and help them to digest their problems in a way that they can find resolution.
One of the most basic, fundamental human needs is to be recognised and acknowledged.
In my book, Being YOU! Awaken to the Abundance of Your Natural State of Being, I discuss the 5 most basic human needs: joy, security, acceptance, peace, and freedom. You can pare these down to one thing: love. We all want to love and be loved.
Paradoxically, it’s also why we crave more money, power and possessions. Money, we believe, will buy us happiness. Power will give us the freedom to do what we want. Possessions will make us wanted and desired by others.
That’s why we chase after these things, so that we can feel happier, safer, wanted, at peace, and free. We’ll be more loveable.
But probably the greatest need of all is the need to feel accepted by others. We all need to feel worthy and respected.
One way to look at this is inclusion versus exclusion. When others welcome us into their group or tribe or family, we feel a sense of inclusion and acceptance. We feel we’re ‘one of them’.
But to be excluded is to suffer. I recall the pain of my young daughter one day after school when she came home in tears because her friends had excluded her from their group.
As it turned out, it was over a misunderstanding, as is most often the case, but her pain was real and raw and emotional. She had been rejected and she felt unworthy and humiliated.
Now, school kids are always excluding one another. It’s part of the powerplay of friendships that we all experience at one time or another. But it reflects our innate human need to belong and to be accepted by our peers.
As Brené Brown puts it in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Hazelden, 2010):
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick… the abscence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.”
It is a human need to be needed. It is a human desire to be desired. It is a human want to be wanted.
We crave acceptance and belonging, and when it isn’t forthcoming it leads to personal suffering.
So give the greatest gift you can to someone: Recognition.
Serve it as often as you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can, and watch how you improve the lives of others and your own recognition, respect, and self-worth improves with them.
Every moment is an opportunity to serve others and add value.
Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, says that the most important attribute of a leader is the intention to add value to others.
Whether you’re a leader in your own business, in a team, in a club, a school, or in your family, your consistent attitude of adding value to other people is what will determine your level of influence as a leader, without which nobody will listen to you or follow you.
As Theodor Roosevelt said,
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
It’s how much you care as a leader that will determine your effectiveness as a leader.
It’s interesting that research into employment trends show that most people resign and leave their job not because of the work, but because of the boss.
Most people seem to like the work they do, but their work becomes intolerable because of their boss or manager.
This has been true in my own experience. I have resigned my position as a junior doctor and sought employment elsewhere because I couldn’t stand any of the consultants that I worked under. They were slave drivers, looking after their own interests first and not caring about their junior staff.
I recall one hospital where I did not respect any of the consultants in my department because of their ‘me first’ attitude and the dismal way they treated their underlings.
When I looked at them, I said to myself, “I do NOT want to be like you… or you… or you… or you… or you!”
There was not one single boss I looked up to and wanted to emulate. They didn’t care about me, and I didn’t care about them. I’m not even sure they cared about their patients. I had to leave.
So the lesson is this:
You will have no influence whatsoever until you care about the people you want to influence.
You will not be a leader until you care about the people you want to lead.
And one of the best ways to show people how much you care about them is to continually add value to their lives. Find out what they need and give it to them.
When you add value, you serve as a genuine leader.
E: Educate and Empower
Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
That’s powerful. When you can educate someone to the extent that they become self-determined, you’ve empowered them for the rest of their life.
Which is why knowledge is power. It’s also why self-knowledge is inner power.
Over 2,500 years ago, on a column in the forecourt of the temple of the ancient Oracle of Delphi, were inscribed three maxims, of which the most famous is:
Know Thy Self.
When you educate someone in the techniques to better understand themselves—who they are, what they can do, why they’re here, how they can achieve—you help them become the person they are capable of being. You help them activate and maximise their potential.
You help them to live a fulfilled and valued life.