The holiday season inspires us to take stock of relationships and reflect on the things for which we are grateful, but for many leaders it can also be a season of angst. As the end of the year looms, we may worry about unmet goals, unsolved problems, unfulfilled promises and customers not yet served.
One challenge we as business professionals face is learning how to take the crushing weight of unachieved advancements and change their trajectory. Stepping outside of our normal behavior patterns and altering our perspectives helps us discover better strategies for effecting change.
For instance, through volunteerism I have broadened my network of relationships to include people who have expertise outside of the areas I typically serve. Tapping into these new worlds has allowed me to build a bridge of understanding, has taught me about my own biases, has given me greater compassion, and has helped me understand the powerlessness that individuals or groups can feel in communities and in the workplace. It has profoundly redefined how I serve my customers. The net effect of helping one has a multiplying effect of helping many.
So how does one pay it forward? Do the unexpected. Give in generous ways. Increase your self-awareness. Here are some examples of how this behavior looks in real life:
- Offer an encouraging word to an employee or peer
- Invest in others by listening and mentoring
- Empower a team by helping them envision success
- Volunteer in the community by providing food and gifts to families in need
When our focus is genuinely on others, it serves as a powerful motivator and confidence builder to strengthen resolve and bolster perseverance of individuals served. The givers’ passions and perspectives change, increasing their capability to lead from the heart. Giving back reveals our authenticity and core values. Be grateful for the skills you have; I challenge you to use them in impactful ways this holiday season and pay it forward.