It’s safe to say that we are all born with an innate feeling of having a purpose in life. The details of that purpose will probably change throughout our lives but will always have a common underlying desire that is a drive to succeed at whatever we do. The pathway to success is no straight line. It involves hardships and trials, failures and lessons and more often than not, people along the way to assist you on your journey.
If you have ever had to struggle to achieve a significant goal without the support of others, then you know how challenging that can be. Whether it’s trying to quit smoking, lose weight, train to run a marathon or find a job, striving for any goal is overwhelming on your own. People who help you can come in many forms; a friend, a co-worker, your boss or a family member. When we have received genuine help from someone who is interested in our success, it always leaves a positive and lasting impact on our lives. Why wouldn’t you want to spread that help to others?
I recently ran the Buffs Marathon, not for myself but for, and with, my friends. I am an incredibly competitive person, and normally entering a race means that I my aim is to gun for a PB. However, this race was very different for me as I embarked on running it with my training partner, and getting her to her marathon goal time. At first I wasn’t sure how it would pan out or how I would end up feeling, but the rewards far exceeded my expectations.
Where I thought I would get frustrated, I was overwhelmed with immense pride. Where I thought my competitiveness would overtake me, I was filled with an intense sense of selflessness.
Running this marathon changed me! In running this marathon without a goal time, showed me how to motivate others, and bring them to a place where they could realise and achieve their goal. It humbled me and made me realise that in helping others, I was actually the one who succeeded.
You see, you don’t have to be an ‘important’ or ‘exceptional’ person to be able to also provide the support that makes the difference between success and failure for someone who is trying to achieve a goal. You can be the person who kick starts a person’s desire to achieve something they never thought possible. You can boost their confidence and self-esteem, reminding them they are capable and deserving. You can refresh their reasons for why they wanted to pursue something in the first place.
There is a wonderful freedom and grace in realising that by helping someone else to succeed and reach their goals, it doesn’t mean YOU have any less opportunity in life. This is not about competition, it’s about using your unique talents, strengths and wisdom to empower others and, in return, often left feeling empowered as an unexpected reward.
A good leader sets their goals around creating ways that also help others to succeed. The good news is that you can do this in any environment; If you are a manager at your work, you can achieve your goals for success by helping your employees achieve their goals. If you are an attorney or accountant, you can assist your clients in reaching their law-related or business goals and in doing so, achieve your own. If you are a marathon runner, you can use your experience and wisdom about running to help someone train and achieve their running goals. It’s all about clarity of intention, awareness and action!
To have a mentality of ‘every man for themselves’ is an outdated and secluded way of thinking. For one thing, none of us make it on our own; we need the help of others to advance our careers, our personal ambitions and to find a life partner and satisfying relationships. We want to be happy but in order for us to be both happy and successful, we need to recognise that the same people willing to help us may also be looking for the exact same thing for themselves. When we make an active effort and choice to become personally invested in someone else’s success and happiness it tends to leave a compounding effect of interest that helps elevate us in our own pursuits. Greatness is not what you get, but what you give, and what you inspire in others to do.