The Freedom of Being of Service

i-wanna-hold-your-hand_lToday,  with the blessing of my client, I want to share with you the gist of an email I sent to her .  She is at an exciting and challenging point in her career where she is designing her next position in her organization with the encouragement of its senior people.   It is the ultimate professionally-related answer to “what do you want?” My client has been figuring that out.   She responded to my email with “I LOVE this! I think you have just found your next blog post!”  With that vote of confidence,  how could I not blog about it?

So, here’s the email message:

Hi S, 

I was thinking of you on my morning walk with the dog today after dropping my daughter off at school.   I encourage you to keep a mindset of service while you are designing this work.   Keep it front and centre and that will help ground you – how can you being of service in your own unique way help your clients and your organization?  If you are of service in this way, you will be fulfilled and rewarded – all those good things.    Like in the blog post I wrote “Elements and Leaps in Las Vegas” – how can you do what you love in service of those who love what you do?    I wrestle with this myself – being so focused on our uniqueness is great but it’s best in the larger picture of how that helps us contribute to the world.  It takes the pressure off too.  It’s freeing – it’s about those we serve, not us. …  Otherwise our ego can get in the way and cause us to be critical of ourselves and get hung up on that and feel drained…  Does this make sense? 

Thinking of you with great confidence and excitement! M

Here’s my client’s take on why she loved this message:

This email was so well timed for me.  I had been grappling with feelings of unidentified selfishness in this space of “what do I want”.  It was critical for me to be reminded, at that moment, that I am “in service” and that in my uniqueness and my passion I am making a contribution .  It allowed me to believe that in my own fulfillment, my contribution could be super-charged.  It removed the negative feeling of “selfishness” and put me in a more positive stance.  This freed me up to move forward and let go of my fears.

So dear reader, what about you?  How could you cultivate more of a mindset of service as you go about your day?   Maybe you already have this mindset top of mind. In either case,  I would love to hear your stories.

warmly, Milisa

PS Here’s an example of how having this service mindset top of mind helped me in my parenting the other day.   Background: over the last few months I have been doing some extra reading of parenting books in a quest to improve my parenting of our youngest son with whom I have been having some power struggles.   I have made lots of progress and there’s definitely learning still to be done.  At any rate, one of the books I read was “Honey I Wrecked the Kids” by Alyson Schaefer, who has an Adlerian psychology take on parenting, which fits well with my coach training.  As part of that philosophy, one of the assumptions she makes, and therefore I am experimenting with, is that children (and adults for that matter) all want to feel like they are contributing – which I am seeing as “being of service”.  So, a child who feels like he is not able to contribute, that he doesn’t count, may “misbehave” ….That’s the background.

So, the other day,  my little guy came home from school, just having had a long bus ride, and I had to tell him we were immediately jumping in the car to meet his older brother at the doctor to deal with an injury.  He responded with: “I want to get a hot chocolate from Starbucks!”.  In his thinking, if we were going out, it was about him getting a treat.   I mumbled something non-committal to give me time to figure out a response.   Then I came up with this: “Your brother really needs our help at the doctor’s office. We need to go be with him and talk to the doctor and help him feel better.”  I repeated this mantra on the drive and in the office.  The hot chocolate requests petered out quickly.     Then my older son picked up on the theme and thanked his little brother for helping him.  Hot chocolate avoided and, more importantly, my little guy felt so good because he had helped his big brother. He was of service.  And, also I feel like I was in service too: to my older son who needed me at the doctor and to my younger son, modelling and encouraging him to think of others besides himself and acknowledging him when he did so.  That’s a much better treat than a hot chocolate, even from Starbucks. 🙂

Photo credit: Josep Ma. Rosell / / CC BY



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