How often do we think, “What will I accomplish today?” or “What will the day bring for me?”, nothing at all wrong with these questions. But what if we woke up every morning and instead said, “How may I serve today?” What would open up for us, and others, if we commit to making things happen around this intention?
Best-selling author and spiritual leader Dr. Wayne Dyer, in a blog post titled Authentic Self Seeks Meaning, said that the difference between our authentic self and the false self, created by ego, is that the authentic self wonders, “How may I serve?” rather than the ego’s attitude of “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie.” His premise involves the law of attraction where, he says, if we choose to live in a demanding environment (gimmie), then the universe will demand more of us. However, if we choose to live in a non-demanding environment (giving), then more will be given to us.
So then how do we sustain a mindset of “How may I serve?”, especially when our circumstances can present a need to focus on oneself? We may not have a job, a relationship could be failing, our finances might be bleak. It takes getting out of oneself to be able to serve, right? To create a life of service (not necessarily volunteer work, but can be), a good place to start is to identify the authentic self ― who a person is based on unique talents and what brings joy and meaning to his or her life. Only when we do this kind of self-introspection, can we really uncover how best to serve humanity.
Self Knowledge Leads to Authentic Expression
Acquiring self knowledge is one of the biggest gifts people can give to themselves. Many of us, however, rarely take time out from our harried schedules to become observers of our own lives and who we are being. We get bogged down in daily activities, finding ourselves unsatisfied with life and not making what we truly want a priority. But once we recognize what makes us happy and gives us purpose, it naturally parlay’s into serving others in the most real and powerful way.
For example, I have a friend who worked, for many years, at a job that she was not happy with; it wasn’t suited to her talents and passions. She, recently, left this job and is now pursuing her sailing chartering business, which she had been doing part-time for years. Sailing is her passion, and she is a people-person so the combination of the two creates a fulfilling and joyful business for her. The contentment and satisfaction she gains from doing what she loves allows her to serve others by giving them the experience of sailing in a most delightful and memorable way.
When people enjoy their work, their enthusiasm translates into better service experiences for others. We’ve all seen people who aren’t happy in their jobs and often it shows with a less than expereince for the people they are serving.
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) once said, “The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.” When people truly love what they do and are being their authentic selves, they become a fully-expressed person, serving others best, based in freedom and joy.
Define the Authentic Self in a Sentence
One way to help identify your authentic expression and how best to serve others, in a simplified way, is to define yourself in one sentence. That is what playwright, journalist and Republican Member of Congress Clare Booth Luce advised John F. Kennedy to do in 1962. She was worried that he was spreading himself too thin with his ambitious agenda, which included managing the Cuban Missile Crisis, starting the Space Race, and deciding how to handle the conflict that became the Vietnam War. She said to Kennedy, “A great man is one sentence.” Abraham Lincoln’s sentence: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.” Franklin Roosevelt’s: “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.”
What’s your sentence? How do you want to be remembered? Based on this knowledge, you’ll be able to answer the question of, “How may I serve?” with passion and intention.
Note: What is one sentence that defines who you are? Please share it with us below and help inspire others.
Doreen – It sounds like you have a great formula for your personal success and fulfillment in life. You make time for all that you love to do and what can be better. I always feel better about myself when I make time for what’s really important. There is a quote that I love by Goethe, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” It reminds me to not put off important personal projects and make what you love to do a priority! Thanks for your comment!
Doreen Pendgracs says
Great post, Stacey, and very timely for me, as just yesterday someone asked me how I find the time to do all I do! I replied, “I divide my day into 3’s: I spend 1/3 my time on paid work, 1/3 my time on volunteer work (giving back to various communities and non-profits) and 1/3 my time on life (spending time with my family, friends, and normal life activities.) I have lived this way pretty much all my adult life and it defines who I am.
Carl Richardson says
Thank you Doreen, you realize work, our society and family need to be balanced. Your time is how you ensure they are. Brilliant!