Did you ever hear that old adage “It’s better to give than to receive”, and then you thought your parents were crazy. It was Christmas! Tis the season for Santa to plop his big ol’ belly down your chimney to litter your living room with presents that were going to make Christmas day a melee of paper ripping and excited shrieks of joy. It didn’t make sense that giving would be as satisfying as Tickle Me Elmo.
As I grew older, my satisfactions changed. It was supplanted with a desire to receive accolades professionally and a status in my personal life that was envied by those around me. After all, I deserved it! If you weren’t going out and taking what you wanted you would never get it. If you didn’t outperform your colleagues, you would be forgotten in the masses that you didn’t care about. You wanted to be it. The number one, the winner, the one that was making the news and putting your name on the map. You could dance to that music. However, the lyrics said failure was not an option, and everyone either there to use or was trying to take what’s yours.
It was an exhausting way to go about life. A cycle that was repeated ad nauseum to the same result: mental and emotional breakdown. Breakdowns can be great though. You have a choice which path you want to take from that place. You can choose the same winning strategy in a different situation, or you can go outside your comfort zone to choose a different way. Neither choice is right or wrong. They yield different results based on the context you approach your situation. So you look at the map and choose which road to take.
In building my business as a life coaching, I was running into a similar problem. Desperately, I wanted to have my business be a success. This was my calling. It had to succeed! It was the way that I defined success that was determining the context that I approached it. When I started this endeavor, success meant the number of clients I signed up to coach. It was going to provide me with an income, a new profession and the freedom to create my own world. That’s the business I’m in, we make dreams possible. It was the context of the Go-Getter Salesman, one I had been so good at using, that was deterring me. I wanted a better way.
This came at a spiritual retreat that I go on a few times a year to recharge my batteries. I scheduled a private session with the retreat master, and I told him about my dilemma. He just looked at me and asked me, “Why don’t you treat it like a service position?” It made sense. I was in this business to help people, but I was so caught up in my own needs. This was not a novel idea to me, but it was a novel way of being. I declared that it was the way I was going to approach my business. I am going to help people, and I was going to let the results be up to God.
Two days later, I had a sample session with a prospective client. I was on fire. My intention was to support her in getting what she needed to move her career to the next level. At the end of the call, she thanked me for the value she received from our conversation. I’d like to report that she signed up right away. That wasn’t the case, and I’m ok with that. What I did get was the fuel I needed to continue to search out new people to help. That was more priceless than the paycheck because I know that I will have those who are attracted to me for what I have to offer. I am invested in them and not in me. It’s bloody fun to live like this!