Putting the needs of others before your own needs, desires and convenience.
When is it convenient to be selfless? Rarely! It is an oxymoron to only exercise Selflessness in personally convenient moments. If we wait to put others first when it is convenient, those moments may never come. That’s why Selflessness is hard.
It’s not convenient when:
An employee shows up in your office with a problem while you are completing the report you had procrastinated doing.
You are walking by a stranger standing in a doorway without an umbrella waiting for a break in the weather—and you have an umbrella to share.
At a parents’ preseason basketball meeting, you realize nobody has volunteered to be an assistant coach.
Stepping forward in these moments would require us to work later, get us wet, or cause us to be out of the house at least two nights a week. What would you do in these situations? How often does the inconvenience of these situations make us rationalize our inaction?
At work or home, Leaders of Character consistently ignore what they want to do and put the needs of others first. They listen longer. They take the time to coach and develop others. They offer help without seeking anything in return. They serve others without expecting to be served.
The biggest challenge is the fact that exercising Selflessness is rarely convenient. This is why we commit to follow a selfless Leader of Character. We know when they choose to serve, they are also sacrificing their convenience. They have the Courage and Humility to put aside what they want on behalf of the good of others.
Ask yourself, “Would you follow you?” I had to ask myself this question often during my early struggles as a sales leader. Unfortunately, my answer was not always clear. I’d listen only when I had “time” to listen. I’d coach someone only when they were fun to coach. I’d help someone if I thought someone important might see my labors. I’d serve others, only if it served to launch my career further because I did it.
Even if we perform selfless acts, we must ask ourselves, “What motivates me to do it?” Is it recognition, advancement, or for sake of reputation? If those are our motivators, then the act may not have been selfless after all.
Selflessness purifies our motives in the eyes of others. If they see us sacrificing our own needs, desires and convenience for other people, they are less likely to question our leadership—even if we ask them to do something hard or unpleasant. A selfless Leader of Character builds credibility and therefore builds trust. That is why selfless leaders inspire us to follow them.
Again – ask yourself, “Would you follow you?”
Dig Deep Questions:
Have you ever observed someone act selflessly and their action stood out to you? If so, what stood out to you about that moment?
How does exercising Selflessness instill trust in others when we act upon it?
Exercising Selflessness takes work and is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Selflessness daily, which is why we have created FREE tools and resources to guide your journey.
To make it easy to keep the definition of Selflessness visible on your screens and devices, we would like to share our FREE Selflessness backgrounds for desktop and mobile available for download at: https://www.becomingaleaderofcharacter.com/tools-resources