Sometimes figuring out how to serve and who to serve is a little more complicated that we thought it would be. Not only is it tricky to make the original decision but we also have to keep adjusting because we change, the people we serve change and our personal goals change.
In a recent Seth Godin interview on a Tim Ferris podcast I came away with three major concepts that will immediately help you focus your place of service.
What does success mean to you?
It’s easy to get into numbers, money, lists, or units sold in order to define our success. But Seth says, “a win is to change one person, teach one person, impact one person.”
Wow! That really personalizes the effort. That allows you to feel the length of your own reach, and to understand how you impact others with your work.
One person. Change. Teach. Impact. That’s success.
What’s the change you’re seeking in the world?
This is huge. Have you thought about this? Have you imagined how your work can change the world? What do you want to happen because of what you do or say or offer? What specific people do you want to affect?
I had to work on this one. I know what I want to do – help people sing a Deeper Song. The change I’m seeking for us is a deeper awareness of our inner voice so that our choices fully express our passion and our gifts in unexpected and far-reaching ways.
I want to go exploring in the spiritual realm and share some of the insights, ideas and concepts that call to me and guide me. And I also want to help the people I serve have the confidence and willingness to share their wisdom and uniqueness with others in the world in an impactful manner. I want them to sing their Deeper Song loudly and harmoniously in our world.
Knowing that is the change I want to see in the world, I can now make thoughtful choices about what I write in my posts, what I say in my podcasts, the focus of my videos and the message of my ebooks. But I must keep in mind that my goal is to help one person see the world from a different viewpoint, take one step past the edges she has set for herself, understand and appreciate her value and know that her wisdom and expertise and experience must be shared.
Learning that the Incas believed our lives affect seven generations back and seven generation forward has prompted me to take my own work more seriously. Seven generations forward is a lot of people to change or inspire or teach with the work we do today. That’s a couple of centuries into the future. And that’s a big responsibility. We need to do our work consciously and well. And we need to put our work out there for others to find.
Your story helps others want to learn from you
Seth again: “Your brand is a story you tell that helps people tell themselves a story about you. Your story needs to match what they are telling themselves about what they are doing.”
You might need to read that one again. What are they doing? What do you do for them? How do you let them know that? What story do you tell about yourself so that others know you are exactly who they need to help them?
People have to identify with you. They probably want someone who has similar interests, similar life situations, similar beliefs. And they probably want someone who is a few steps ahead of them in the journey or has experienced the steps they need to take next. They need a teacher or mentor who understands what they need even if they don’t understand that yet. They need someone to light the way.
My story is about my journey. I think other people are on similar versions of their own and in some places I’m a few steps ahead.
It’s partially a story of aging – about staying relevant, having a purpose, and making a difference even when you’re old.
It’s about not giving up. It’s about leaving a legacy. It’s about valuing your own wisdom and experience to the extent that you purposefully and mindfully leave a message for generations to come.
It’s a story of a spiritually inquisitive woman who is drawn to Rumi, to Emerson, to Taoism, and to metaphysics. She explores spiritual philosophy, figures out how to apply the ideas that resonate with her life, and shares what she uncovers.
That makes us explorers together – searching for clues, making discoveries, trying new routes and leaving markers for others along the way.
What’s the change you want to make in the community?
The idea of making change in your community puts what you do into a very large perspective. My community is all over the world. The world needs a lot of help right now. Who do I want to help? How do I want to help them?
Bring it back to one person. How can I, sitting here in my apartment in the middle of the United States, produce one small project or do one small act that’ll help one person change and who’ll then turn and change someone else?
What’s the change I want to make in my world community?
The Long Cut
Rather than taking a short cut, Seth says: “Long cut is the most direct route to get where you want to go. What does this community need? How do I do a kind of work that matters that is identified with only me? That only I can do?’”
The beautiful part is that we are all unique. The tricky part is that we don’t always identify what makes us unique and how we can use it to help others. Know yourself. Recognize your passion and your gifts, and follow them!
Back to changing one person. Who do you want to help? How do you want to help them? What can only you do for them?
Seth suggests we keep our projects small. If you look at every project you undertake as making a change in one person in your community, then it becomes a very precise doable, deliverable project.
Push your boundaries to find your place of service
Identify what you love to do. Decide on the change you want to make in others. Take that idea out to the edges of your consciousness and explore.
How can you, in your infinite uniqueness, define a product or service that some very special people need, that’ll make a difference in their lives?
Go do that.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
The Length of Your Reach
The Many Faces of Your Calling
Mindfulness as a Path to Self-Awareness
How Do You Nurture “Different”
What Do You Do for People That They Can’t Get Elsewhere?
40 – Who Do yo Want to Serve?
32 – How to See Your Work As Art