Today, we want to talk about engaging in a cause greater than self, and it’s the last in the five points that we’ve been talking about are the five sessions we’ve had on how to apply personal greatness, to the three foundational issues that we talked about of leadership, those foundational is our clarity of vision, the certainty of intent and the power of values, and the five that we’ve applied from to achieve our personal greatness, to those three are committed to a higher level of discipline, live with purpose, act with intent, make conscious choices. And today, engage in a cause greater than self. And so, we want to talk about some ideas today in the midst of this pandemic, in the midst of this global catastrophic event, about how we can give to others. And it seems incongruous doesn’t it? That we would actually be talking about giving to others when our concern is largely for our own safety, our own welfare, our own challenges? And yet it’s time for us to reach out.
I was asked once – “what’s a good definition of service?” I said this: “Help someone who can’t help or hurt you and have no one know about it.” There’s an anonymity to service and it’s very important because that’s what purifies the heart. We know a lot of people who want to be recognized for their service and their names are on buildings, or they seek fame or fortune by what they give to others. But the reality of it is, true service and a gift to others are when we give it anonymously – when no one else knows about it. It’s just you and the person or institution to which or to whom you’re giving. And so, in the midst of this pandemic, our families have been touched, our economic and financial security has been touched, and certainly, and our communities have been touched. How are we thinking about service to others?
We’ve got the medical, scientific, financial, and economic communities all working on this great project together and governments are consumed by it at the present time. And sometimes, we forget about the individual lives – those of us who are struggling each day to deal with the ramifications and outcomes of what’s transpired. It is not easy. It is a big challenge. I’ve heard from many of you who have lost everything, I’ve talked to others of you who can get through the next 60 or 90 days, and I’ve talked to others who seem to be okay and will get through whatever time frame this is happening.
It’s an interesting time for us. It’s a time when we could be insular, we could become protectionist, we could withdraw, and we could focus on self. But what I have found is, and I hope you have found this in your community and in your country as well, that people are willing to give to others, to reach out to others, and to help the hurting of other people during this time. We’ve turned from “I, me, my” to “we, ours, and us.” And that’s an incredible transition and isn’t something we should be doing all the time. I believe there’s inherent goodness in people. I don’t believe that people are inherently bad. I think people are inherently good and look for opportunities to help others and benefit others in numerous ways. So, the questions I have for you as we think about this time are:
- Has this pandemic, has this time, softened you in any way?
- Has it healed you in any way?
- Has the Earth healed in some way?
And are we in a healing process that, perhaps, this whole circumstance in the situation was to make us more aware, more self-aware of who we are, what we have, where we’re going with our lives?
There is this notion that there are invisible people that we pass every day – we don’t acknowledge them, we don’t see them, but they’re there. They’re present. They might be the homeless people, they may be those in poverty, they might be our next-door neighbor, or they may be people we’re passing on the street. Can we become more aware of these invisible people? Can we acknowledge them? Can we respect them? Can we be with them in a different way?
Our homes and our communities have been touched in the last 90 days in dramatic ways that we probably never thought possible and this is the first time something like this has happened in our lifetime to this magnitude. So, we’re all reeling from that and we’re all working with that as best we can.
Perhaps it’s a time to stop worrying about how we feel and start worrying about doing good. Perhaps the focus isn’t on us and it’s not our personal tragedy. Perhaps it’s the tragedy of civilization and that we need to think about it in that way and that each of us has a piece of that, a reconciliation of that. Each of us has an opportunity to do good in this process. So, the first step in service to others is this: the subordination of one’s interests to the needs of others. It’s the ability of us to step back from our needs and subordinate those needs and take care of the needs of others. That’s really what service is all about and that’s the definition of service leadership.
Watch Episode 9: Engage In A Cause Greater Than Self as I share ways to engage in a cause greater than self during a time of crisis to help you continue the momentum of your life.