Do For Others To Succeed

As MLK Day comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on what you have done recently to help someone else succeed in life.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
– Martin Luther King Jr.

If can be as simple as letting someone in front of you in traffic – maybe they are late for a job interview and you just made up a little time for them. Perhaps it is a bigger gesture – supporting a local small business and buying their product or service.

If you are only looking out for yourself, your best interests, you are missing a boat load of opportunities. When you do something for someone else, it comes back to you over the weeks, months and years.

Early in my campaign for Congress, rocker Melissa Etheridge tweeted her support. We had not spoken or seen each other in over twenty years. Yet, she remembered how hard I fought to play her music on the radio when the male programmers I worked with wanted to limit female rocker airplay on the station. Melissa remembered I did for her and years later she came to do for me.

Being kind and doing good can and should go hand in hand with your business strategy. Customer service software leader ZenDesk recently held a huge tech conference for customers and vendors with an emphasis on combining empathy and doing what is right with a drive for better technology and success. It is possible to work AND succeed within the realm of honesty, integrity, and compassion for others.

As a family, we give laptops and tablets to high school students trapped in poverty. Our only criteria are the student must be working hard to succeed despite odds against them and they must be doing for others. How does this work? We keep a couple of laptops and tablets on hand, watching for sales and special deals throughout the year. When we meet teachers during our travels, we ask them to keep an eye out for these special students and let us know. You can do the same no matter where you are. The best part? When you hear from one of these students about their success years later. You can do this as well – as a family, as an individual, or as a company. Start here, buy a Chromebook, and find a teacher. They will find you the student. It is that simple.

The more you do to help someone else be successful, the more successful you will become. It may the simplest yet most powerful business lesson you add to your method of operating. And, you will feel better too.