To Be of Service
I want to expand the conversation that was started in The World and You Deserve Your Best, where I mentioned that personal development work often has the most profound effects for people other than ourselves.
It was January of 2014 when I began Airman Leadership School, an intense course for enlisted US Air Force members that is required for promotion to Staff Sergeant. This course was tough for a variety of reasons, but I positively recall many moments during this time in my life. Of particular interest, I remember that there was a sign above the main entry doorway on the inside of the schoolhouse that read “Serve Like a Champion”. It was a great sentiment, but I appreciated the most that this sign was on the inside of the building, so as students were leaving, they would receive a simple reminder to take their lessons out into the world.
Surely, my experiences in the Air Force were formative to my perspective on personal development and it is mildly humorous to me that the military was teaching servant-hood in its leadership courses long before “Servant Leadership” became a buzz phrase.
I mention this for a couple of reasons. First, this is further support for the conclusion that personal development work is not (or should not be) all about oneself. Understand that when you develop personally, it affects the world around you. Your actions, whether positive or negative, affect those around you; this is your personal power that must be understood and used responsibly. Second, I mention this because, frankly, I don’t think the world has received this message yet. For many of us, it seems like we’re in it to win it with little consideration given to how our “winning it” will affect the world around us. So, it’s important to me that the notions within personal development are housed within a broader desire to be a consciously positive force in the world.
A Simple Call to Action
While being a champion of service is a timeless idea, we must acknowledge that people are really struggling right now during the COVID-19 crisis. To me, this makes the work of personal development even more necessary. This inspires me to bring out more of my best self in order to reach out and help where I can. Please understand that you make a difference in the world; you have many tools already to be a real champion of service to others. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, we should be the change we wish to see in the world. But I don’t just want to say cute things; I want to take bold actions and I want to see others taking bold action. If there’s anything you can do to help someone during this difficult time, I challenge you to do it. I challenge you to be your best and do your best because it matters and your influence is an awesomely powerful force in this world. Just be you and acknowledge your greatness!