From surviving to 'serve'viving
"You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar
We humans have been on this planet for quite some time now. As a collective we've managed to overcome incredible challenges to reach a population of over 7 billion. What's got us through to now is our ability to survive in the face of adversity and bounce back over and over again.
Recently I went to the park with my daughter to climb the 'spider web' for the first time, a massive structure with interconnected ropes about 15 metres high. As we started our ascent climbing higher and higher it got to the point where I could see that my daughter was pushing right up against the barrier of her skill level and comfort zone. In that moment she said, "Dad I need you!". I had 2 choices, stop the climb because it was the point where she couldn't go any further on her own, or I could do what any other Dad would do - take her by the hand and help her climb as high as she wanted. Together we climbed to the highest point we could where there was a seat positioned for us to rest and take in the view. When we reached that point I helped her take her place on the seat and watched her eyes light up and a huge smile came over her face as she proudly looked out over the play ground, like a mountain climber taking in the view after making it to the peak of a majestic mountain.
Kids have no concerns asking for help, yet as adults, particularly men, we don't ask for help as often as we should when we need it. On a daily basis we're all given opportunities to help others deal with challenges they are facing. What can get in the way of us putting out our hand and helping them through it could be one of many reasons - I'm busy, I'm tired, that's not part of my role, you should know how to do it......the list goes on.
I reckon we need to shift our collective mindset from one of surviving to one of 'serve'viving - being more in service to others when they need it. It's the way our brains are wired naturally. But often the weight of the challenges we face day to day cause us to narrow our focus as we do our best to survive the day. When we help others our body fills with natural chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin, which promote positive feelings of connection with others, and most importantly, reduces the impact of chemicals like cortisol, which fill our bodies at times of stress and cause us to focus inward on managing the discomfort and avoiding threats.
So when you notice those around you doing their best to survive the challenges presented to them but need a helping hand, consider putting on your 'serve'viving hat and do the very thing built into your DNA - help them find a way through it. It's an attribute we can all learn to do better at, and as leaders, it creates trust and loyalty that builds strong relationships and cultures - something that often gets overlooked due to the busyness of life.
Like the spider web adventure I had with my daughter, you have a choice each and every day to find opportunities to help those around you and make their day just that little bit easier. You never know, one day they might just do the same for you at a time you need it the most!