“Remember this: Every daughter wants her father to be her hero” ~Meg Meeker
You and I work with other people every day. There is very little that we do in our lives that doesn’t require us to interact and collaborate with other people. In today’s interview I talk with two people who are focusing on how to help each of us work and think with people who think […]
When someone is in need, what do you do? Whether it’s a friend, a stranger, a family member, or someone who works for you, how you respond to people in need defines who you are and what your legacy will be. So, how do you respond? Well, it starts with a lesson from a four-year old.
Earlier this summer, our four-year old daughter and I went out to pick up some dinner to bring home. As we left the restaurant and came to an intersection, we both saw a homeless man off to the side asking for money.
I drove on, instantly forgetting the existence of a man in need. My life is too busy, too important, and too comfortable to worry about someone else. I moved on. Aracelli did not.
She began to cry and told me something that I will never forget. She said:
“When someone is in need, you don’t leave them behind. You help them.”
That’s what you do when someone is in need. You help them.
One of the things I like best about Matt’s blog is its emphasis on the importance of giving back, and having a purpose beyond just making money. Abraham Maslow famously developed his “hierarchy of needs,” expressing the things (starting with food and water, and moving toward purpose and fulfillment) that a human must have in order to thrive.
The highest point on the scale, Maslow realized, was self-transcendence, or going beyond our own individual experience. Self-transcendence can be understood spiritually, but it also reflects a fundamental truth about thought leadership: once you’ve achieved your own goals, the next—profoundly fulfilling—step is to help teach others how to achieve theirs. It’s rare behavior in a world filled with so many constantly striving professionals. But it’s one that legendary marketer and author Seth Godin has embraced, and one we can all learn from.
Godin, whom I profiled in my new book Stand Out, may be unique among top business thinkers in running his own periodic internship programs. It’s quite likely the interns would shell out substantial money for the opportunity to get to know Godin; but as part of his ethos of generosity, he does the opposite and pays them. His program is so popular, its acceptance rate is lower than Harvard Business School’s. Tim Walker, who interned with Godin in 2013, describes the practices that make Godin a great mentor – and which you can follow to up your mentorship A game.
From the moment I met my wife, Tara, I gave her an impossible task. I gave her the responsibility of making me happy. The result was disappointment for me, frustration for her, and a relationship that neither of us expected or wanted.
I’d love to write a redemption story here and tell you that Tara and I have the model marriage today, but the reality is that like any marriage, ours is messy, often broken, and too often unfulfilling. And the reason is very simple:
I gave her the responsibility of making me happy rather than living to make her happy. Rather than living to serve her, I placed an unfair burden on her that no human being can live up to…and I didn’t even tell her.
Take a moment to answer this question: Who have you always wanted to connect with? It’s probably someone you admire like your favorite author, entrepreneur, or business leader. The problem is that those people are very difficult to connect with…until you know how.
We all have people we look up to and wish we could connect with. We read all their books, watch all their speeches, follow them on social media. and listen to every interview they give. We know their stories and we feel a connection to them.
But the question remains…how do we connect with them?
When is the last time someone told you, “I’m proud of you”? Not for what you’ve done or accomplished but just for being you. If you are like most people, it’s been far too long.
Those four words are some of the most encouraging words we can hear. That’s why I whisper them to our daughter every night before she goes to sleep.
No matter what she did or didn’t do that day, no matter what she accomplished or how she acted, she will hear those four powerful words:
“I’m proud of you.”
Have you ever actually listened to an economist on the news? They might be the single most depressing group of people on earth. I’ve never heard one actually say anything optimistic.
Here’s what a typical interview sounds like:
News reporter: Good news! The economy added 200,000 new jobs last month.
Economist: Yes, but…doom and gloom, obscure economic principle, the end of the world is near, etc. etc.
200,000 people who last month didn’t have jobs now have jobs and somehow Mr. Economist manages to find the negative.
I’ll admit it. The title of this post is deceptive. Many of you read it and probably did a double take. Did I really just tell you that you’ll never be happy? No…I told you that you will never find happiness.
The pursuit of happiness
Seven years ago, I was pursuing Tara, who is now my wife. Every day was a new adventure. One day I sent her flowers, the next I wrote her a poem, the next I’d surprise her at her house when she got off work. Every single day I did something intentionally to deepen our relationship.
I never expected for her to just accidentally fall in love with me. I never expected for her to just find love in her heart.
The same is true for happiness. You will never just find it. It must be created intentionally. It must be worked for.