In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about the power of what would happen if we loved our customers. I then gave some practical ideas about how to do this.
Today I want to give us one other practical way to live out loving our customers. I want to do this by talking about what I’m calling “Two Revolutionary Approaches To Business & Life”.
I saw a story that Bernie May told in his book, “Learning to Trust”. He said this….
For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the Mazatec Indians in south-western Mexico. During this time she has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful people.
For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share (truth) with each other.
If asked, “Who taught you to bake bread?” the village baker answers, “I just know,” meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone’s help.
Eunice says this odd behavior stems from the Indian’s concept of “limited good.” They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge.
To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well–“Have a good day”–means you have just given away some of your own happiness, which can’t be reacquired.
The way that some people live and do business around us everyday, you’d think they believe the same thing about “limited good”!
But limited good is lie. The opposite is actually true!
When we give, we don’t lose. We GAIN!
Today, I want to talk to you about a way of living and doing business that could change what you do and why you do what you do.
This way of living can be seen in two approaches to living life. These two approaches are so powerful that if everyone in the world used them it could solve many of the world’s problems! What is this way of living I’m talking about?
I want to use symbols as a way to show you this idea this week… There are two ways to live life:
+ Add to others and this world.
– Subtracting from others and this world.
It basically comes down to living to give or to get. You either live to GIVE to others or you live to GET from others!
There’s a book by a guy named Matt Rawlins called “The Lottery – A question can change a life”. This book is one of those modern parable books like a lot of business books are today.
In this book, Matt Rawlins tells the story about an eccentric old man who spent the last years of his life trying to find the keys that would save mankind from destroying themselves while creating hope for tomorrow.
He spent his entire fortune, which was a pretty large amount of money and hired thousands of researchers from around the world. He had a computer system built that could compile the data. No one but himself was allowed to read all of it.
Historical archives were carefully examined. No page was left unturned as these researchers looked for the keys to success in helping humanity move forward. The research was compiled and placed very carefully in two identical books.
After this man died, he gave the two identical books to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC so that they could auction one off to the highest bidder and give the other book away in a Nationwide lottery.
They held this fancy event have the auction and lottery. There were wealthy and well known people there who all wanted a chance to buy the one book. All of the major news outlets where there to see who got the two books and they also wanted to find out what was in the books.
They held the auction and a really wealthy guy paid a lot of money to get the first book. They then had the lottery. Anyone around the country was allowed to enter their name so everyone was watching to see if they would win.
They finally chose a name and it was a guy named Mark Stephen who won. All the media started trying to contact him and see what he was going to do. He was trippin’ and didn’t know what he was going to do at first, but finally decided to at least go down and see what was in the book. They brought him to a bank vault to see the book.
When he opened the book he was totally shocked! On the first page was a simple question mark. That was it! All the other pages were blank. At first, he laughed and thought it was a joke. But he quickly realizes it’s not and the whole rest of the book is about this journey to discover what this QUESTION MARK means.
He eventually learns the message and it’s what I want you to understand today…
He discovered that succeeding in life is all about asking the right questions!
He learned that questions create a focus and because of the focus of the questions we don’t see other things that might be important. The questions we ask set up what we find.
The author says it in this was through the character Mark…
“The right question, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people is one of the most powerful tools in the hand of any man, woman or God.”
If we change one simple question in our lives then amazing things will begin to happen!
Let me read forward of the book “The Daily Drucker” (which is a book filled with different quotes, concepts and ideas from a man who was a the late management guru Peter Drucker) to show you an example of this change. This is what it says…
“His generosity of spirit explains much of Drucker’s immense influence. I reflected back on his work, ‘The Effective Executive’, and his admonition to replace the quest for success with the quest for contribution. The critical question is not, ‘How can I achieve?’ but ‘What can I contribute?'”
We need to go from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”!
John D. Rockefeller is an example of the benefits of giving. He achieved what our culture calls success. Rockefeller had amassed more wealth than he could ever spend.
By the time Rockefeller was fifty-three his life was falling apart. Throughout his business career he said, “I never placed my head upon the pillow at night without reminding myself that my success might only be temporary.”
He was the richest man in the world and yet he was miserable in every sense of the word. He was sick physically, mentally, and emotionally. There was no humor, balance, or joy in his life.
Then a transformation occurred. He determined to become a giver rather than an accumulator. He began to give his millions away. He founded the Rockefeller Foundation, dedicated to fighting disease and ignorance around the world. He lived to be ninety-eight years old and was a happy man in those years because of his new and revitalized definition of success.
There are 4 ways you can give to others: time, talent, knowledge, or money. As far as I can tell, those are the only 4 ways!
All of us are probably generous/good at giving at least ONE of these things. But all of us are probably stingy in with at least one of these things. This is probably true in your business too. It has a naturally generous area and an area where we run it in a more stingy way.
My challenge to you is this: keep being generous in the areas you already are, but try be generous in a new area!
Here’s a new question to ask yourself daily:
“Which one of these 4 things will I give to others?”
For business owners:
“Which one of these 4 things can we give away to our prospects and customers?”
Think about this…
Mother Teresa: “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.”
Or how about this quote…
Sir Henry Taylor said it this way: “He who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.”
True giving means to give what is valuable to us to others.
These two approaches giving and serving will change what you do and why you do them.
You will do NEW things. And the things you do that are the same will have a new REASON behind them. They are so powerful that if everyone in the world and every business used them it could solve many of the world’s problems!
Mother Teresa once said, “It isn’t necessary to move to Calcutta to do something significant.”
I thought of this as I was preparing this post…
To feel needed is important. But what you might not realize is this…
by offering yourself to others you become needed. You share your gift!
Let me end with this one last story to show you how giving to others reverberates back to you…
A man was driving down a road and he almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.
He said, “I’m here to help you ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan.”
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire, but he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.
Bryan never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past…
He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Bryan added “…and think of me”.
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take home. It was a dingy looking restaurant.
Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor – it didn’t ring much. Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strains and aches change her attitude.
The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back.
She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on the napkin under which was 4 $100 bills. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote. It said, “You don’t owe me anything, I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.
She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s gonna be all right; I love you, Bryan.”