This excerpt is from Failing Forward by John Maxwell
Many people believe that touching the lives of others can be done only by some elite group of specially gifted people. But that’s not the case. Any ordinary person can make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Some unsuccessful people tell themselves that as soon as they achieve considerable success or discover some unseen talent, they will turn their attention to making a difference in the lives of others. But I have news for them. Many people who struggle with chronic failure do so because they think of no one but themselves. They worry about what other people think of them. They scramble to make sure no one gets the better of them. They continually focus on protecting their turf.
If you continually focus all your energy and attention on yourself, I have a message for you: Get over yourself – everyone else has.
If you have a history of repeated failure and you dedicate most of your time and energy to looking out for number one, you may need to learn a new way of thinking – where others come first.
The first time I read this I thought it was rather harsh. Labeling people as unsuccessful or failures can be a slap in the face to some if not most everyone. But, the message stands the test of time. When we focus all of our energy on ourselves, we tend to lose sight of the big picture and that is, we’re all in this together. And, if you have the means to brighten someone else’s day – JUST DO IT!!
You don’t need money, or even time to do this. Take for instance, the woman on either Facebook or LinkedIn, I can’t remember where I saw the video, who takes homeless to lunch. She said, I’m going to lunch anyway so why not spend a few extra dollars and make sure the homeless feel ‘seen’. Love it!
There are many ways to focus your energy on others. It can be a simple as a smile given to a stranger, holding the door open for someone, saying hi as you walk down the street, helping carry groceries in for a neighbor or calling a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. None of these puts financial weight on you and all it takes is your time. And I realize all to well how valuable time is but, when someone believes in you – everything can change.