When I’m restless or pre-occupied at night, I sometimes listen to talks by Earl Nightingale, one of the oldest of old-school personal development coaches. Long before Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and the like, Nightingale was dispensing wisdom with a pleasant baritone voice.
Something I’ve heard him say many times always sticks with me: If we are unhappy with our rewards, all in the world we have to do is increase our contribution. To the degree we perform a valued service, so will we be rewarded. (Or, as another ancient text puts it, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”)
Now this compensation may or may not be of a strictly monetary nature. We can obviously see examples of entertainers and athletes who receive outrageous salaries compared to teachers or social workers. But if we assume our work lives are not entirely measured by our pay, we can reap a large bounty of reward by giving our best to those whom we serve.
As one who serves others for a living (don’t we all in some way?), one of my goals is that I would never have a someone call me and begin the conversaton with “I know you’re really busy, but…” While I usually *am* busy, I want to cultivate the illusion that I always have time for that person, and then do my best to take care of his or her need. Here’s how I see it:
What I give my customers:
My Communicator button is green for you.
I will be happy to talk to you in person.
I won’t hesitate to say “I’m sorry” if I’ve messed up.
If possible, I’ll say “Yes”.
What I receive:
You challenge me to be my best.
You give me the opportunity to do good work.
You’ll understand me saying “No” as long as you know I’m doing my best.
Because of you, I have a job.
This reciprocal contribution is not only good from a career standpoint, but I believe it is part of a rewarding life. It just feels good when we are part of give-and-take relationship. And when we do our best to out-give one another, I believe our company benefits. Besides, don’t you enjoy a little competition between friends?