While recently researching a chapter for my book I noticed that a large number of successful people and many good leaders emphasised the importance of contributing to society and helping others achieve their full potential . Many leaders believed in making a positive impact in other people’s lives . A significant number who had achieved their dreams wished to help others achieve theirs. They wanted to share their success by empowering others to achieve to their full potential.
It is true that the greatest leaders are those who endeavour to help others. This has always been the case. But each of us are also challenged to care for and assist others and this may often put us outside our comfort zones .It was Jesus of Nazareth who said ” whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant “. In more recent times the Dali Lama advised ; ” Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them , at least don’t hurt them “.
These quotes bring to mind the film actress Audrey Hepburn who also had views about helping others. She reminded us that we have two hands -the first to help yourself and the the other to help others.
The best leaders , it is argued , grow the potential of others rather than seeking more followers. This philosophy is the very essence of servant leadership and brings to mind two great servant leaders – Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa of Calcutta . Their greatness lies in their unselfish leadership values of serving the needs of others before self.
If we want to grow as people we need to grow others too. There is no such thing as personal growth on your own. We succeed not only because of our personal characteristics but also through and with others .
By having an attitude of service we can all make a difference to other people’s lives . If we help others to grow we also grow. If you have been successful in life you will know that you have achieved success through others. Providing a helping hand therefore is far preferable than pulling the ladder up on others . Far better to inspire and motivate than manipulate and denigrate.
Human altruism is about concern for the happiness of others and those who value others show they are alive in spirit. It is said that we are happiest when our relationships are truly in the service of others and not at the expense of others. I once read that if you fill others with hope you fill yourself with hope; if you fill others with happiness you fill yourself with happiness .
Making a difference in the lives of others is a choice for all of us . This can involve helping others to achieve their full human potential to be the best they can be . It may also involve seeking justice and standing against oppression. Whatever we do we should feel we have made a real different in other people’s lives through our compassion , through our sharing and through our support.
Community , in all its forms , is important for all of us because it should be at the very core of our lives . Our personal motivation and inspiration can build enduring communities if we show empathy for others . While we might see success as about growing ourselves it is successful people who grow others. We need to lift more than ourselves in life ; we should also lift others. ” No-one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of others”- Charles Dickens.
I have been lucky in my own working career to have had opportunities to grow others. My involvement in education and training , in broadcasting and in business leadership provided me with many opportunities to practice what I preached. My report card could say I should have done better and that is the case. Opportunities were missed because I was careless or apathetic. As the American president Ronald Reagan once said ; We can’t help everyone , but everyone can help someone “.