I used to be a believer that a new year swept my slate clean and brought new tidings – renewed purpose, great work ethic, and luck to tip life in my favour. I used to look forward to the clock ticking midnight as we danced away the night with my crew.
Now, not so much.
I have come to see that it is only the dates that change on a new year. If I am not changing intrinsically, I’m carrying the person that I was in 2020 into 2021. Events don’t transform a person. But they can fuel a short-term change in attitude that results in sudden actions that tend positively to a meaningful objective.
And this is partly why I have been struggling to find an inspiring topic that goes with the New-Year-feel.
It dawned on me that Marvelous Helpers are often working from a place of commitment and rarely from the energy that comes from a motivational talk that they heard or the inspiring persona of their Number Ones.
External influences that excite our systems to perform extraordinary gymnastics that are not ingrained by habitual practices are often impermanent. They give us an inconsistent character. You know that person in your life that you say, ‘That person is so good at ABCD. However, you have to catch him/her at a good time.’
What does this ‘good time’ mean?
They are unpredictable. They are brilliant when high on energy and low when they run out. Unfortunately, when you are in a position to refer someone of this sort, you hesitate because you don’t want to chance that maybe, this is the time they are going to disappoint. Because inadvertently, the references you give tend to reflect on your person. Your word is your bond. Therefore, word of mouth remains to be the most powerful tool in marketing – a service, product, and in this case a person.
Introspectively, imagine that this person you’re viewing in this light, making calculated moves so that you don’t look bad is in fact YOU! (I can see you don’t like where this is headed…)
So let me give you a short story about me…
I used to be a very inconsistent person in regards to keeping my word where crowds were involved, until I met my husband – talk about straight up tough love.
I would promise to show up for an event, and my knowing (actually assuming) that others would be present, and thinking perhaps I’m not so significant in the equation, I would justify not showing up. I would sleep in and allow laziness to lie to me that I could get away with it (this is a series for another day).
Unconsciously, I was playing into the Bystander Effect. This is a psychological theory that states that in a group setting, we always assume that someone else is going to take the expected action. We remove ourselves as equal and capable candidates to intervene with the required action, hence no one takes action. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell retells the dreadful story of Kitty Genovese who was murdered in Queens, New York as her neighbours looked on.
This diffusion of responsibility is what we are constantly playing into. It might not be in the same degree as watching someone lose their life as you do nothing, but it’s in the little and significant things. I say significant because our unconscious mind is always collecting data.
The next time someone will be in a position to promote you, but they will have a feeling about you. An uneasy feeling about you.
They asked for someone to sit with the Head of IT at your company and discuss with them technological improvements for your department; you never volunteered. You said, ‘That’s so and so’s responsibility.’ A colleague lost a loved one. Since the burial was on a weekend and it was a day’s journey, you felt it would inconvenience your birthday plans. Either way, you don’t have a close relationship with him/her. So you were not part of the 3 people sent to represent your division.
You get my drift…
A Marvelous Helper is a leader who goes above and beyond to lessen the burdens of others. This can only be done through pre-decisioning.
And it starts with small things. You have to decide that if someone is needed to clean the dishes after a day of indulgent feasting at your in-laws, you’ll be the one to do it. Yes, I know one of your relatives, the one who never seems to lift a finger should be forced to do the dishes. But that’s why you’re a leader. You gain respect by your works, not your ideas.
This year, you CAN go further with a decision and a commitment to that decision. Being over reliant on motivation and inspiration quotes will leave you where you were when the year began.
Like one of my mentors says, motivation is overrated!
The same way sportsmen build muscle memory to make their body responses effortless, you can build your ‘decisioning‘ muscle to work effortlessly for you, in following, serving, and leading even in these hard times.
Because there is always a need for Marvelous Helpers.
Thank you for all the comments and feedback on last year’s blog posts! I feel extremely grateful to have a community of avid and responsive readers. As always, I love hearing from you. Subscribe below so that you are notified of our blog posts whenever they are posted and do leave a comment.