How do we take simple truths from life and apply them to our business? Why do we so often forget that the way we conduct business is a reflection of the way we live our lives?
M.L.K would ask if you plan to, "..walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
I have long held the belief, probably based on my early exposure to Dale Carnegie and Zig Ziglar, that the way to get the things I want is to help other people get what they want.
I watch PIs hoard secrets all the time. Find a new method, a new gimmick, buy a hot new gadget and then try to keep everybody else from learning about it. I see established PIs try to discourage others from learning their particular skill.
"I am the one who does surveillance the best. How dare you try and do what I do?"
"How can you consider yourself an expert? You haven't done as many murder cases as I have." (Actual quote from an older investigator to one of the best criminal investigators I know.)
"I've spent years learning how to research, why would I dream of helping someone take my business?"
These attitudes are short-sighted. I like the idea of giving, freely and openly, without any specific agenda. Not just a Christmas box of cookies to the guy who assigns stories. (Though this is not a bad thing, it's nothing but marketing.) A gift of time, information, or friendship-sweat-equity, throwing in a few extra hours to help make a friend or colleague's life easier.
Seth Godin says, "Sending someone a gift over the transom isn't a gift, it's marketing. Gifts have to be truly given, not given in anticipation of a repayment."
The winner, the gal who is seen as the leader in her industry, is often the one who freely trains and advises. The winner, the guy who owns the most successful company, is often the one who has time to grab a coffee. The winner, the boss who is a true leader, is often the one who encourages you to create your own business.
Winners are not afraid of losing. They know that helping other amazing people reach their goals is the easiest way to maintain their position of influence. And they honestly enjoy lending a hand.
Pay attention to the leaders in your community. Church, industry, rotary, chamber of commerce, whatever...the leaders, the ones who stand out, are always giving. They always have time to volunteer, to write a post, to share their tips, to lead. They always remember your name.
Here are a few leaders in our industry. These are the people who take the time to share their tips and tricks, their stories, their ideas. Pay attention to these folks, they are leaders. They give.
Pay attention, too, to leaders in the business of encouraging startups: Seth Godin and Chris Guillebeau constantly inspire me with their energy and optimism, their generosity and approach to life. -THH