The Most Powerful Habit You Can Imagine
By Bruce Kasanoff
Last year, I set
out to come up with a single sentence that could guide both
and personal decisions. It turned out to be, Be generous and expert,
trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present."
Only after months of living by these words did I realize
that all these elements
came down to a single powerful habit, which is
to start every interaction by
thinking: help this person. Let me explain...
Generous means to start every personal interaction with three words in
your head: help this person. When you answer the phone, when someone
knocks on your door, when you
get introduced to a new colleague, your first
instinct should be to help
that person. Yesterday I was driving my 14-year-old
son back from a
school event and I made an observation about the event that
entirely positive. His response was, "How is that helping this person?"
quick exchange taught me two things. It's not enough to say you are
generous, you actually have to work hard every day to live that way. I'm
hard, but it is challenging, I admit. But more importantly, I
learned that my son
now has these words in the front of his mind, and
that is a very good thing.
Expert means to be
talented enough in certain areas that you can help others
meaningful manner. This is where many people completely miss the mark.
The main reason to become a expert is not so you can make more money;
this attitude will limit your potential. The main reason is so you can
people, more often.
to be someone others turn to both in times of need
and of opportunity.
In such moments, other people are especially vulnerable
and they need to
know you will not only respect their confidentiality but also
on your promises.
Clear means that you fully understand your role is to be someone who
helps with a purpose. You
aren't just a Good Samaritan; although your first
thought is to help
others, you also have a set of goals to achieve for yourself,
family and your organization. You make it easy for others to understand
these goals. In this way, you will have the time to help others and
still be able
to accomplish what you need to do.
Here's a really tough one: open-minded means that you are willing to help
people you initially might find
unworthy of help. Yesterday at an event, a
woman pushed right past my
colleague and I - who were patiently waiting
to talk with the host - to
capture his attention. At first, my thoughts about
her weren't too kind,
but as we again waited our turn, it dawned on me that
her behavior was
perhaps generated by anxiety or a pressing need, and that
probably in such a state of tunnelvision that it never even dawned
her that we were waiting. People in this state are the ones who need
help the most.
Adaptable means that you
are not just a helpful person with a hammer,
trying to pound everything
into better shape. When one approach doesn't
work, you are willing to
try others. Don't just tell someone, "Here's what I'd
do in this
situation." Think hard about the best strategy for helping them,
their personality, preferences and position.
Persistent means to be serious about helping others, and not just superficial.
not simply suggesting you start holding the door open for more people;
I'm suggesting you become a force who helps other people in a
way. The people who need help the most won't be helped by a
Present means to pay
attention to the people around you so that you can
spot those who are
struggling, confused or uncertain. Most of us try to put
on a good face,
and you need to see past the superficial layer of daily life.
ADD ALL THIS UP, and you become the type of person others love to have
around them. You
become someone who listens, who is genuinely interested
in others, who
is capable and dependable. Who you are - and how you approach
the world -
And now comes the personal payoff: you will be dramatically more capable of
achieving your own purpose.
If you can remember and live by this sentence, you can achieve anything
you set your mind to do Anything. Be generous and expert, trustworthy
and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and Present."
If you want to hear more from me, just click the Follow button below. You can also
download my free guides at Kasanoff.com, or read my book with Michael Hinshaw
Smart Customers, Stupid Companies. On Twitter, I'm @NowPossible.
Image credit: theleticiabertin/Flickr.
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