In watching an Oprah show on The Secret the other day, I was reminded of an important rule of the law of abundance – to give – or in other words how can I be of service? Many times we get caught up in the struggle for money that we forget how we can help others. We are looking more for how to make a buck than how to give someone a good quality product. Yet, many people are probably wondering, if I focus on service/giving will I just be taken advantage of? or will I be rewarded for my service? So, let’s take a minute to look at some of these questions.
Why is service so important?
Usually our focus in our society is on receiving with thoughts such as:
• How can I increase income by $10,000?
• How can I become a millionaire?
• Can I make more money in business for myself than working for a company?
However, what we fail to recognize is that for each act of receiving, there is an act of giving. We usually focus on receiving because we know there are opportunities that we missed over the years (such as not paying off our credit cards quickly enough or not taking full advantage of our 401(k) match or not getting paid what we believed we deserved). However, there is only so much that we can do to improve the efficiency of our receiving before the return from our efforts begins to diminish. Thus, it may make sense to work on our giving portion, as well, because as the saying goes “as you give, so shall you receive.”
Many people have given at work and feel that they never received what they gave. So, does it make sense to burn ourselves out by giving too much? The question is not how much did you give rather how did you give? Many times we give our energy in a very scattered manner where our energy goes everywhere and accomplishes next to nothing. Thus, turning up the level of energy that we give does not accomplish its purpose. The real question is asking your boss, “How can I serve you?” to make sure your energy is focused where it has the most effective (as I discussed in Ask for a pay raise discussion instead of demanding a raise).
When we give (be of service), we can not help but to have it come back because energy flows in a circular pattern. The receiving may be delayed, yet “no good deed goes unrewarded”. Even in the act of giving, many people feel better just knowing that they are helping that it feels just as good as receiving.
Why shouldn’t we focus on making money?
I remember reading a book from an author who said that if you want to become rich than just do. He said writing a book was easy because you just need to write it and put it out there. It sounded to me that he would recommended rushing a product out even if it isn’t your best work (as evident in his book). Well, this was the only book of his that I ever bought (even though he is a semi-popular author who has written many books). Ask yourself, would you buy a car if it had poor quality? Maybe once, yet there is a reason we do not have Yugo cars anymore and why American car makers are suffering. Even though the quality of American cars has improved, it is hard to improve your reputation once it is ruined. By focusing on making money, we often lose focus on service. You need service to stay in business in the long run.
In addition, per the law of attraction, we get what we think about whether we want it or not. There is a paradox in wanting more money. When we want more money, it is usually coming from a feeling that this is something lacking (in other words, we feel poor). If we want to be rich, we actually may remain poor because as I wrote a while back, we get what we have not what we want. If our focus is on being rich to avoid being poor, we can become so desperate trying to avoid being poor that we rush and make stupid mistakes. It is one thing to want money and go for it; it is another thing to rush after it like a fool because “a fool and his money are soon departed”. The key is to see what you have is already enough and work towards an even more prosperous future. This way, you get more of what you already have.
What if I am taken advantage of if I give too much?
I have been thinking about this lately because at time I (for a few moments anyway) feel that my clients take advantage of me on occassion. In my wife’s and my business, we have a lot of clients cancel appointments at the last minute. At times, it is good for me to have a cancellation in that I have extra time to write and spend time with my son. At other times, I feel cheated that I prepared to meet with my clients and then (if I am lucky) got a call that they are not coming. For me, it is alright to have a client cancel every once in a while. It is not that big of deal because my wife and I do not live paycheck to paycheck where I would be desperate for client to pay my bills. I use the cancellation as an opportunity rather than seeing it as an inconvenience. Yet, am I being taken advantage of by giving in to easy?
In thinking about this article, I have learned that the situation where clients repeatedly cancel is not about me being disrespected by a client rather more about my client not respecting their time and money (or their health in the case of my wife’s business). Missing an appointment is a fact of life. There is times when something comes up (like the flu) where an appointment needs to be cancelled. However, when clients put other things first (in a non-life or death situation), they are really disrespecting themselves. They are putting other things in front of improving themselves. At times this is needed, if it is not a common occurrence while for others it is a constant occurrence. It is similar to an article I wrote a few weeks ago in resistance keeps you in the struggle, where a client put working on her business ahead of doing her budget. By putting off her budget, she was only making it more of an uphill struggle to getting her business going. By running around at the last minute all the time to find money to pay her bills, she wasted a lot of time that she could have put into marketing. So, her avoidance of a budget was about disrespecting her own time (her time that she could have used for other things).
So next time you feel disrespected in anyway, see the situation from the other person’s shoes and what they are probably going through. If they are disrespecting or taking advantage of you, they are probably disrespecting themselves at the same time. For example, they may be trying to cheat you out of money. Yet, they are only disrespecting themselves, feeling that they need to cheat others to be able to get ahead (lack of self-worth – not able to do it on their own). If it is a minor occurrence (a few bucks), let it go because it is not worth the energy worrying about. When it happens repeatedly, you can help the person by showing them how they are disrespecting you or by setting a clear boundary with them. For myself, when clients are constantly canceling, I talk to them about it and I can either charge a fee for their cancellations or stop seeing them until they get serious about dealing with their finances. Being of service does not mean that you need to put up with being a punching bag for others.
Do we always see the outcome from what we give?
No, many times we are not going to see a direct result. This is a problem that many businesses are facing with their employees. We live in a society where people want instant gratification. Thus, when businesses can not give an instant raise, workers get disappointed because they give so much and get no reward. No wonder there is a rush to start your own company these days where they can get an instant reward when they get a new client instead of waiting for a raise as an employee. However, many people do not understand that wanting this instant gratification gets in the way of their happiness by needing a reward to be happy. In addition, even though they want an instant reward, they do not want to instant penalty to goes along with it (for example, an employee getting docked financially for making a $10,000 mistake or being docked a days pay because their attention was on an argument with their spouse instead of on their job). We always want instant gratification, but not the consequences that go with it (such as paying $10,000 for a mistake when they own their business).
Life is not about instant gratification. We should be grateful for this. If all our thoughts came to us in the physical form instantly, we would instantly have that $1 million that we wish for, yet we would also have all our other negative thoughts as well (for example, get cancer when we fear of what would happen if we get sick). This is why they say “patience is a virtue”.
You never know when being of service will pay off. You meet someone when volunteering that can help you to get your next job or to help you start a business. Sometimes when you blog, you can get noticed by a larger publication and turn you hobby into a full time job or you may get $20 from a grateful reader. You never know how things will work out. All you can do is your best and know that everything is well, thus there is no need to receive right away because everything is working out the way it should.
If you have other questions that you like me to answer, please leave me a comment or e-mail to let me know how I can be a service to you.