Coaching folks from success to significance, I’ve learned that there is a transformation that must take place. It’s the replacing of the programming of pleasing to that of serving others. As children, we quickly learn that when we please others, we are praised. Society reinforces this. This can often take the form of good behavior, acting as others want you to so you cause the least interference or distraction, and also perhaps mirror their hopes, fears, and fear-based desire. Sweetness, obedience, and passive, polite charm are just a few of the major qualities that we find rewarded. Hence we quickly learn to please. Work within the rules and don’t get into trouble are messages that resonate from caring families as well as society.
In contrast, how often do you hear someone praised for being really courageous or expressing themselves in not a socially acceptable way, but rather a childish one? Sure, it happens occasionally, but the norm has and remains to fit in, don’t rock the boat, etc. and offenders are usually punished. Along with this, we are introduced to many limitations, limitations about creativity, rules, laws, etc. We are also rewarded if we imitate our elders and accept their long-held beliefs, even if they are flawed, out-dated, or destructive. We then take this deep programming of continuing to please right with us into adulthood. You probably know many people who either ostensibly or inwardly are people-pleasers. I’ll go so far as to bet that you have this trait yourself. Most of us do and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, but can you see its limitations?
“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.” – Jim Carrey
Here are some questions all around the same theme that you can ask yourself everyday or many times a day. “How can I make a positive difference?” “How can I serve others?” “How can I add or be of value?” “How can I be outrageously good providing acts of service?” When you quiet yourself, the answers to these questions will automatically come to you. In trying to please others, you stifled this creativity with trying to fit in, but you are innately a genius if you just let your fear and ego get out of the way.
True service not expecting anything in return can transform your life. What’s more, it can also lead to wealth, not only spiritual wealth, but often material wealth as well. It comes with great benefits, new friends, expanded horizons, and what means the most in life, growing and advancing our soul. Treat everyone from your family, co-workers, customers, suppliers, and fellow man with the idea of providing customer astonishment instead of the people-pleasing customer satisfaction and you will transform you life to a new level, and rather quickly at that.
Enjoy the ride!
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan