The Only Reason You Are Here
The simple, uncomplicated principle of success is you are here to serve. The better you serve – the more value you add – the more success you’ll enjoy.
- Reject distractions. Anything that requires your attention and doesn’t serve people is a distraction.
- Stop the irrelevant. Activities that don’t directly or indirectly serve people are irrelevant.
- Minimize structures. Stop using systems and structures as excuses for not serving people.
You’re not selling products. You’re serving people.
You’re not making money. You’re serving people.
- Serving is an others-first activity. (The reason to take care of you is to enhance your ability to take care of others.)
- Serving is giving before receiving.
- Serving takes humility.
- Serving elevates everyone.
Servant-leaders get ahead by helping others get ahead. It doesn’t take brains or talent to obscure the simple, complicate the clear, and forget the essential. You are here for one reason, serving.
What makes us reluctant to serve?
What does serving look like in your world?
We are reluctant to serve, Dan, because we must put aside our ego, pride, and sense of station yo freely give to others. In our cultural mindset, the servant is beneath everyone else. In an age where we are busy “being all we can be” the is little room to consider ourselves less than.
In my world, both my worlds, service looks like giving the best that I have to offer to others. It means being respectful of myself, and granting others the grace and respect to be themselves.
Good post, as always
Thanks for adding ego to the conversation. Sometimes I don’t serve because I’m worried about people serving me.
Serving is giving without expecting anything in return.
I think I’ll go serve up that last piece of key lime pie for breakfast. ;-p
Thats why it’s so hard… (I’ll take pumpkin, please)
Serving and generosity go hand in hand.
Thanks for joining in, LYnn
my number one job is to make my boss look good in front of his boss.
Now that’s practical service. Thanks
Than was so – Right on Dan. This is how I see it too. You ask what makes us reluctant to serve A good question that I have been pondering about – for years!
What have I come up with? – i think the reason is pride! simple and stupid pride – P R I D For if others serve us we think we are somebody. This is so false. We already are somebody. It is not easy to explain the unlogical and the unexplainable. For there is no logic in our desire to be served and to be better than others. It is plain stupid. There is a logic in that however: we can’t all be better than the next guy and better at what may I ask? The only true way of being a leader and a good one is to serve the best of your ability. Serving here also means sometimes to advise people to take another view on the matter. I remember well your photo of the Hola hooper – I loved it and I have used it in a presentation. So now I also get the chance to say thank you Dan – for serving me!!! 🙂 Have a lovly sunday. Here in Norway the sun is shining right now and I will enjoy our breaf summer. God bless you
Thank you Anne. You encourage me.
The shift in thinking from being served to serving runs against the grain. It takes courage and humility. It obviously is wise. Think of the great leaders who changed the world in positive ways. They served others. Think of those with negative impact. They served themselves.
Perfect. A great reminder. Back to the basics. It’s like parenthood or the philosophy of great teachers. We put someone else’s needs before our own to elevate them and enhance their lives.
We must take that same motivation into business.
So why has this phrase become so accepted? “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”
These concepts are at complete odds. Business people with the latter philosophy seem to win in the short term. It takes lots of patience to wait for the long term intrinsic rewards of serving while you are witnessing the short term glaring successes of greed.
But nothing else is worth the wait.
Thank you Dauna. It’s important to bring the long-term view to this conversation. It’s harder to serve with a short-term, immediate gratification focus.
I recently refined the questions I ask people to follow Bobby Umar’s example. (1) How can I help you?; (2) How can I make a difference?; (3) How can I help you make a difference?
Only through service to others can we truly make a difference.
Thank you Dan. I absolutely love the progression in the questions you offer. A great question is better than a statement.
Thanks for sharing your heart.
Right to the point. Love it.
Cheers!! Thank you Dak
I find serving involves helping folks to build their confidence and competence. Also helping other leaders ecpand their capacity to serve.
Thanks Lets… Adding confidence to effective serving is wonderful. We serve others when we build their confidence!
Generally we reluctant to serve. But intention or reluctant to serve generally comes from our Xenogram. Our surroundings make us reluctant to serve. Among the many root causes, one is comparison. We try to compare ourselves with our colleagues, people in terms of material success. This makes us to modify our definition to success differently.I strongly believe that our meaning to success decides our intention or reluctance to serve.
Serving is a great philosophy that makes life meaningful to live.I also believe is serving is about sacrificing. It is neither expecting nor comparing. It is just feeling compelled to serve.It is intrinsic desire to serve those who are in need. Serving makes sense when I serve underprivileged, poor, needy and all those who seek service. Serving to capable and privileged is waste of effort and time. Servant leadership is perhaps the greatest form of leadership. It is purely a human act. So, serving humanity is a great philosophy.
Thank you Ajay… your addition of comparison to this conversation is profound and challenging. As we know and accept who we are we may find it easier to stop comparing and serve in ways that align with our own values. Very helpful
A very interesting and thought-provoking post for every one from a commercial and social angle. Serving others requires a good mind-set and readiness to provide an effective support to render satisfaction.
Reluctancy comes when the team is not of right type, it is not equipped with relevant training and it lacks more of self-confidence & commitment more than the resources they need to keep the approaching parties really happy with the desired solutions.
Good serving reflects the management principles, its people, organization culture and the road to long-term success. The entire cycle of productive results will not be complete unless the serving takes place in a silver platter! This is the real secret of business, and happiness in social and family life.
Thank you Dr. Asher.
The importance of confidence comes up again. Perhaps people wrongly think that serving is a lack of confidence. It’s actually the opposite… thank you for adding value to the conversation.
Reblogged this on lewandog and commented:
Another great post from my leadership hero “Dan Rockwell” aka Leadership Freak.
In all ways, in all things, in all respects, simply put, we are here to serve!! The wisdom of this small phrase is immeasurable, yet oh so attainable by anyone…
Read the comments, and (opinion) avoid those around you who say they agree and then add 1 of the great negators…”but” or “however”, etc.
Thank you Lewandog.
Serving is attainable to anyone…KaChing…
Fantastic post Dan. This helped me collect my thoughts for a conversation I need to have. Greatly appreciated!
Thank you Costrike.
I love how getting back to basic ideas and core principles help us address specific situations.
Great post Dan,
I have found that many people don’t believe they have anything to offer that others would appreciate and value. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, everyone has something to offer others. The greatest leader ever, defined the foundational principle of true leadership as serving others. I do not think it is an accident that the source of the greatest joy human beings experience is from the realization that they have made a positive difference in another person’s life.
Thank you ephesians.
All leadership begins with the belief that we matter and can make a difference. It’s not selfish arrogance when we see ourselves as servants.
Interesting post Dan ….. thought provoking, service …..
Could it be that some people think to serve is beneath them ?
Could it be that the induction training in business, just focuses on the business’s needs to survive and not the customers needs who are supposed to being met ?
Could it be that so many employees become wrapped up in how they are viewed, how they perform is rated and monitored, that to serve others is not the norm ?
Could it be that time constraints in how customers are dealt with are so limited that people feel under pressure to push them through the sales process like they are on a conveyor belt ?
Serving takes time, getting to know your customers, building relationships, sharing relevant information and allowing the time for them to get to know and value your business and what it can do for them, maybe not today, but possibly some day in the future. If the time element keeps being limited and reduced, how can a business expect it’s employees to serve long term when all that matters is the short term.
Thank you Imelda,
Your questions are challenging, even crushing when we get off base.
What gets rewarded gets done….why are organizations honoring asses and neglecting servants?
Dan, thanks for this. It reminds me that leadership is not about power, but service. Thanks you
Thank you John.
Serving is powerful. 🙂
Excellent topic and comments. Service is key and the reason why we are here – I agree, though variations on what service is and who to serve are where the differences lie. I believe the service should be to life (or call it love) – all life not just human, compassing the entire planet and eco systems. Something it is taking us long to wake up to. Until we realize and wake up to the fact we are creating our world by our thoughts and feelings, true service may hard to come by…
Thank you Bridgett.
There is too little talk about love in the business/leadership arena. Servant-leadership is a great place to bring it up.
I think about the passage in the Bible where John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He was speaking about Jesus, but this is the attitude we should have with everyone. Work on elevating others, not ourselves.
Thank you Joshua.
Very challenging and applicable idea. Steve Farber calles it GTY.. greater than yourself.
Too many people still confuse serving others with being servile. We forget that Christ washed the feet of his own disciples as an act of service, as a sign of gratitude and honor. There’s no better way to inspire others to follow than by being willing to place yourself below them, to serve them. It doesn’t make you less of a leader, it makes you a greater leader.
Thank you Bret.
Wonderful and important distinction… Serving is a privilege.
I agree that when you serve others you have to do it without expecting anything in return, not even influence. Or else you’ll be disappointed every time someone dos not respond to your service. It has to be done out of an attitude of championing others success.
Thank you Anthony.
I enjoyed the expression, “championing others success.” Real punch.
I read the following quote somewhere many years ago…it is one of the quotes that I keep coming back to every so often, it took me a long time to fully understand, I guess for some people to understand comes very easy for others simply never happens, wonder why…
“To learn to serve others unconditionally is special virtue of those that take a business to extraordinary success”
As allways, thank you Dan for all the wisdon you share, you are trully a servant leader.
It’s a kind of fun place when you get your head into just doing things for others, for the heck of it – no strings attached – and walking away without placing any expectation on it at all.
I rather like it when I can remember, and I’m certainly not perfect, or consistent at all.
But I’m trying to be better, because I enjoy it.
Serving is the perfect cure for a selfish and “entitlement” generation. The cure starts with a mom and dad who teach their children to serve each other and those around them. I’ve started having my kids serve dinner to each other and help one another clean up a mess, even if they didn’t make it. It seems to be working! They play better with each other and we have more fun being together as a family. They still argue and get upset with each other but they learn how to listen and work things out when they learn to serve.
Dan, most appropriate and challenging. I would include activities that we undertake to renew ourselves as being important and relevant to being a good servant. Even Christ withdrew often in order to renew. Serving is the ultimate gift of ourselves. Sometimes it is simply being present. Sometimes we get to use our gifts in the process, and sometimes we develop or strengthen gifts that we need along our journey. Regardless, service gives us a better perspective on our own life, which can lead to increased gratitude…always a good thing.
In Romania people are reluctant to serve because such a philosophy is not yet implemented. They see the serving leader as a weak one, too democratic and without possibility to constrain. Here your philosophy will gain ground maybe in ten-twenty years. There are few young people applying this, but they are still too few to create the real change.
Good post Dan! I am part of a ministry whose very foundation is servant leadership. As a visual descriptor we use an inverted traingle which puts the front line people at the top (the wide part of the pyramid) and the various “executive” levels down in levels toward the bottom (tip) of the inverted pyramid. This is certainly contrary to the accepted “power” mode in the secular or business world…but really shouldn’t be…so I thank you for suggesting that servant leadership is important and valuable in every organization! Pride and ego are the stumbling blocks as this kind of leadership really does require true humility! It requires a “re-think” of how we see leadership. However, it is a wonderful learning curve to undertake…it is exciting to see how people flourish in this kind of environment….and go on to serve others!
Thanks for reminding the “serving people” point. sometime we really tend to forget about it.
In case some one is interested, you can find more details about this concept, in the great article “Practicing Servant-Leadership” by Spears, L. C.
Dan, this post is years old, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to it. It serves as an excellent reminder and goal-setting touchstone for me. I’m so grateful for it. Thank you.