You and several business associates are at dinner with a potential client that your boss has actively been pursuing for years. You find yourself sitting next to the Big Cheese of the new client camp. You are trying to be engaging and friendly and feel you are swiftly juggling the conversation topics between personal and business, hoping you look more relaxed than nervous, fully aware that getting this contract would be a huge feather in your bosses cap.
Just as you finish your salad, you look over at Big Cheese and notice that he has a lettuce leaf stuck between his front teeth. Do say something, potentially causing him embarrassment (and risk losing the contract), or do you say nothing, and take a chance he’ll notice it when he visits the men’s room and wonder why you didn’t tell him (and risk losing the contract)? Is there a way to win in this situation? What do you do?
Probably, what you end up doing is what you feel is the best thing for that situation. You try to help from your point of view and hope he can accept and appreciate it from that viewpoint. You feel your job is on the line, and you like your job. You want to do your best, get ahead and help the other guy.
It’s very normal to be concerned about what one is doing for himself to improve his business, and how it affects others. We are concerned with our own goals and our own desires to better our business in order to create more success in our lives, but we also do want to help the other guy and offer him something that will solve a problem for him.
Confusion can come from volleying these two sides: “Which is more important: getting ahead for myself or helping the other guy get what he wants?”
This is the gray area of negotiation. Successful business owners and managers strive to find exact solutions where everyone wins. It’s not at all selfish to think of yourself and what you want, but could there be a way to focus on helping someone else and, in that, get what you want?
I think so.
In business and in life, we have a common purpose to help others, and I think if you stop to think about your goals, and about the choices you make in your daily life, you will be astounded at how much those goals and actions revolve around helping others get more of what they want. Period. We do our jobs to the best of our ability because we care. We work hard to take care of our family because we care. We get involved in our church and other groups because we care. We read self-help books to help ourselves improve so we can help others, because we care.
Whether we realize it or not, our own individual successes are billboards to others that success can be achieved, and encourages others to reach for theirs too. The prosperity we attain also helps put a stop to those voices (in our heads, or from the mouths of those around us) that tell us we can’t, that we don’t deserve it, it won’t last, it’s impossible to attain, ad infinitum. Working hard and accomplishing things at work is fun, and it’s the basic purpose of most of our lives.
Didn’t Lightning McQueen learn in the Disney movie “Cars” that you will not get far if you only want success for yourself and yourself alone? No one will want to help you, as they will observe only your interest in helping your own self and your disinterest in helping anyone else. Think of someone that is powerful and successful. They fully realized they can’t reach their goals alone. Like raising a child, it’s a team effort, and they know that when their associates and peers succeed, they do too. The atmosphere, energy and emotion of a winner is far preferable to someone who is not winning. Right?
You do want others to win, as much as you want to win yourself. Here are 7 easy things you can do to help your associates, clients, friends and others improve – and, consequently, you’ll see improvements in yourself too. Take a subject, whether it’s work, a relationship, a sport, a hobby, etc. and apply these suggestions and watch the improvements happen within it.
- Find his securities. Each person has things they are confident about, in any area. Find and point out those things. Not only does it feel really good to be acknowledged, but validating the areas one is secure about will contribute to his feeling that something can be done to make it even better, and will pave the way for him to find even more ways to gain confidence. Success breeds success.
- During a confusion, find one certainty. When the boss is asking for ten things that urgently need to be done yesterday, it’s hard to know which way to turn. “Uh – which of the ten things should be first? Will the boss agree? Will I get in trouble if I do the wrong one and don’t get to the right one?” The wrong thing to do here is to hesitate, waste time and get even less done. Get the person to see right now, the present, and have him pick one and get it done, then another and so on, and the confusion will vanish. As this is practiced, one begins to feel like he can handle anything, and will naturally and quickly prioritize the tasks he’s confronted with, confidently.
- Ask what he enjoys about the subject you are working with him on. Getting someone to find things he likes will remind him why he chose that group or subject in the first place, and he’ll feel a newfound energy for it, and a refreshed desire to be active and get things done.
- Get him to control things he needs to use to succeed. Sounds silly but it’s really not. Just spending time in the area one works by touching, letting go of and moving things around will remind one of the control he possesses in this area. Feeling in control makes one feel powerful, and powerful people go after (and usually get!) what they want.
- Remind him: In the end, it’s a game. It’s all a game. Life is a game. Whether it’s a game of winning, or a game of playing the victim and losing, we all have the ability to see the freedoms, barriers and purposes in our activities and find ways to make light of any situation. The more serious things are, the more things matter and the more they matter, the more problematic they tend to be. When things are light and breezy and “just a silly game we’re playing” it’s fun, and when you’re having fun your production tends to be out the roof.
- Find out if he really understands what he’s doing. Does he have the information he needs to do his job or get what he wants out of something? Is the data real to him, can he see a benefit, and can he communicate about it? Having a full and true understanding brings a calm happiness where working hard at something is easy. Don’t underestimate the power of having information, and what it means for getting things done.
- Get him to do some behavior opposite from the usual. Especially when one sits in front of a computer screen all day, it’s a magical prescription to get outdoors into the wide open air. Same goes for staring at a windshield for half your day (especially those of us that live and work in LA). Anything worth doing requires focus to get it done correctly. After working or during a break, find something that doesn’t require so much focus. Find something that requires focus from a different distance and get into an opposite behavior. For example, take a walk outside and look far and wide if you are most often sitting still; sit and take a break if you are normally very active. In the evening, exchanging a computer screen for a TV screen isn’t the answer, though, even if the TV is across the room. Doing something different, at a different distance, gets you out of any monotony, and yields a renewed vigor to work.
It feels good to help others, and like at Christmas, giving is receiving. Finding ways every day to help others – strangers, co-workers, family, pets – can change your life in ways you didn’t imagine it could be changed. You can even use these on yourself – or better yet – help someone else and then let them help you.
Isn’t it the little things in life that matter the most? Your renewed energy for life in helping others will guarantee the exact success that you want, and deserve.
Let us know what successes you experience by applying these suggestions.