In the first "Lead Your Career" article I identified one act that makes me happy and that's "making other people successful". At its core, that's my purpose for writing these articles; Sharing with others actionable ways to make a positive difference in their life, the lives of others, and give them the tools needed to lead their career. But the concept can be tricky. First off, success is defined differently for everyone. Success might be every additional day of sobriety, getting elected to local office, or for many working parents of school aged children right now, just making it to bedtime. Secondly, not everyone is actively trying to master something. Not everyone wants to "be all they can be", plenty of people are happy being who they are right now. Lastly, you may not feel you have anything worth offering even if people were interested in improving themselves. So a lot of assumption goes into the idea of "making other people successful". This article is targeting that last barrier, aimed for the ones who feel they don't have much to offer, when in fact they do.
So how can you enable success in other people? How can you make other people, from best friends to complete strangers, successful? In a previous article I called out the importance of being a Mindful Mentor. That is a very specific way of making some of the people around you successful. Possessing a mindset to "generally make other people successful" is different, though it takes just as much intentionality. So how do you go about doing this regardless of where you are in your career? By being grateful, being kind, and being human. Lets dig into each of those a little more.
This is the #1 lesson I'm trying to teach my kids, specifically when someone is going out of their way to put you in a better situation than you were before your interaction. I'm not talking about someone trying to cover your college tuition here. It can be someone grabbing you an extra napkin, opportunities from your project team at work, or the grocery bagger deciding to not put your bread in with the milk. Good fortune and kind treatment are not entitled to you, it's the result of good people making good decisions. Be grateful, even for the small things.
Never have a "that's their job" mentality. Someone's financial compensation for their profession should never be an excuse to quell your gratefulness.
Gratefulness shows you respect someone's time, energy and value and that they succeeded in what they were trying to accomplish. In this situation you didn't make them successful, but by showing your gratefulness you made them aware they were successful.
I subscribe to the platinum rule of "do unto other's as THEY would like done unto THEM". Kindness is not a one size fits all approach. I talked about the importance of knowing how people liked to be thanked in a past article, and principle holds true here.
Give people the benefit of the doubt. You don't know where they're coming from or what personal demons they may be fighting no matter how well you think you know them. Who knows, you may be that one ray of light that changes their day.
Don't defend your position by hiding behind an unjust policy or a historically perpetuated myth. We're all human and should be owed that same level of dignity no matter our background, upbringing, political affiliation or belief system.
Choose compassion over competitiveness. We're all on this grind together. There are some out there that have it worse than you and some who have it better. No one cares to know who you have it better than, people would rather know who you helped make it better for.
"No one cares to know who you have it better than, people would rather know who you helped make it better for."
So don't think you need a title, or a developed network, or a coaching book to make other people successful. Being grateful, kind and human only has one prerequisite, and that's a desire to be a good person. We all have the capacity and potential to do this. In doing so, you will notice those around you and those who interact with you are the ones who prefer to be in your company. They think better of themselves when you're around. You are the person in their corner, their cheerleader, their champion. You are helping them to be in a better position than they were prior to your interaction and as such, you are making them successful.
I ask two things of you this week
We all have our own struggle. We're all on that grind. Everything you feel, see or perceive is relative to you, so don't judge. Stay grateful, stay kind, stay human, stay you.
Intentionally keep an eye out for 3 different people this week that could use a dose of outward gratefulness, kindness or humanity and give it to them. You'll notice quickly that once you start looking for it, you'll see people everywhere that could use it.
One word of caution. Be careful getting carried away and being too grateful, kind and human to everyone. If you do it too much, people may start to look at you as a great leader, and who wants that?
Note: All of the opinions expressed in this article are my own, and are not a reflection of the viewpoint of my employer.