Disseminating the New Business Paradigm
Part 4—How May I Serve
For many years, marketing experts were taught to create language around, “What’s in it for Me?” in order to better sell to consumers. This language has permeated our workplaces and our personal lives. Fortunately for all of us, this perspective is evolving.
The gift of service can be one of our best allies. When we are fully present with an intention of service, a shift happens from rigidity and closed-mindedness to authenticity and heart-mindedness. This shift can have a profound impact not only on the person who has the mindset of ‘being of service’ but on the people around them as well.
Now here’s the trick, we need to let go of the outcome—the ‘what’s in it for me’ part—and it’s not as easy as you’d think. We’ve been taught to carpe diem enough that often times, our Ego steps in the way with a myriad of racing, conspiracy theory type thoughts on why you might not want to make that decision or take that action. Well, we need to reprogram.
This is where self-development—and the work of Uplift—steps in. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the primary text on yoga philosophy, says that true non-attachment stems from the awareness of Purusha (soul, the Self, pure consciousness) and that we cultivate contentment by directing our attention inward. This inner work then changes the way we think, communicate, and behave.
Growing up, I received great advice from one of my best teachers—my wise Mother. When times were challenging, she said, “Paula, be of service. Use your time, even when you think you don’t have it, to get out of your head, go out, and help people.”
When we show up to a situation and ask ‘How May Help?’ or ‘How May I be of Service?’, from a genuine, heartfelt place, we immediately begin to separate ourselves from our Ego and create a feeling of belonging. It’s human nature to want to belong and ultimately harness that power to arrive with enlightened, refreshing choices for all involved. Our practices at Uplift do just this.
Google, through their Search Inside Yourself program, encouraged employees to volunteer inspiring great work that made a difference. It had a profound impact on their employees as well as their local communities. This TED talk explains how.
You see, being of service is good for business; it’s even profitable.
In this era of sustainability, the ‘what’s in it for me’ pitch is becoming less attractive to many of us. ‘We’re in this together’ is the new approach, where our exchanges are not so much about fame and fortune as authenticity and integrity. The recently released book, Can’t Buy Me Like, refreshingly speaks to the importance of creating relationships with authenticity. The authors dare to ask the question ‘why do I need to care?’.
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
~ Desmond Tutu (via ‘Can’t Buy Me Like’)
From a leadership perspective, the same approach to creating relationships holds true. Let me explain. Your choice to move into a Leadership role needs to be for the right reasons, not solely for your own gain. I mean that ‘personal gain’ goals are driven by, for the most part, pure Ego. Choosing a Leadership role can’t come from ‘what it’s in it for me’ or ‘what am I going to get out of this’ (for example, title, status, shares, control, power, or other fortune). The choice needs to come from a preparedness to lead—because you care, and your ability to lead fuels the greater good.
True Leaders are challenged with leading from an inspired, authentic, conscious, and heartfelt place. In a time where the pace is fast and noisy, where the traffic distracts many from their own brilliance, Leaders need to be self-aware and understand the impact of their actions on others and their businesses. They need to lead with inspired intention, with great respect, clarity, kindness, and compassion.
Leaders of the new business paradigm ask:
- Who am I?
- How may I serve?
- Are my actions aligned with my intentions?
- Is the pulse of the organization grounded and focused?
- Are people genuinely happy and at ease or is there a sense of distress, anxiety, and fear?
“Leading from the soul means that you take responsibility for more than the group’s needs. You have a concern for everyone’s person growth. This responsibility begins with your own evolution. In eight areas of your life you have the power to be guided by your soul: thoughts, emotions, perception, personal relationships, social role, environment, speech, and the body. In all of these areas your behavior affects the people you lead. If you evolve, so will they.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Now is the time to set the stage for a new and refreshed way of working. When we drive a culture asking ‘How May I Serve?’, we show up in ways that support each and everyone of us.
I often tell my clients at Uplift that when it appears work has gone off the rails, when stress is high, and perhaps we’re not seeing the bigger or driving force behind why we’re doing what we’re doing, we need to get out of our heads and into hearts. When we allow our walls to come down and we get to know ourselves much better, we can move into a place where we can be of service—not only to ourselves but to everyone else in our lives. This work is about being aware of our limited storyline and skillfully creating conditions to move beyond, instead asking how we can help.
Are my actions in my day to day helpful to myself and others?
A big piece of ‘How May I Serve?’ is how you understand yourself and your connection to the rest of the world. After all, we are in this together.
When clients find themselves in places of transition, they’re often struggling with those internal pointed questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? We become so attached to the title, the status, the material goods, that when we strip it all away, we feel very raw and vulnerable. The transition is regularly experienced as a loss of self, a loss of identity, but it is so important to recognize the gift being offered.
Transition is an opportunity to ask the greater questions of ourselves.
Yoga teaches us that when we strip down to our essence, over time and with skillful practice, we get a glimpse of Who We Truly Are. This fundamental goodness is a force much larger than the titles past and this goodness is the key to happiness and success. From this strong and grounded place, we can ask how we can best be of service and know that the answer is true.
I connect so greatly to this poem attributed to the Chinese sage Wu Wei Wu, from Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society:
Why are you so unhappy?
Because ninety-nine percent of what you think,
And everything you do,
Is for your self,
And, there isn’t one.
At Uplift, we’re playing a big role in the new business paradigm. We can help you find solid ground, so that you’re in a better position to step and rise up into the Leadership role you were made for. Let’s support one another. No matter our role in business, we’re all human and we all have a role to play.
In the next post, we’ll look at how opening to change and embracing transition, makes for a better you and therefore, better business. Then over the next several posts, we’ll take a better look at this refreshed approach and how it might take shape. I’ll also share some resources I find inspiring and show you how Uplift is helping to lead the way.
Love and Light,