The first time I met Dr. Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was at an event that he hosted in his home. A mutual friend introduced us and told Stephen that I was writing a book. Stephen asked what the title was and I said, The Two Most Important Days Of Your Life. Then he asked if he could give me some advice. He has sold over 26 million books – so I said of course. 🙂 Then he said , “Make sure you write the book for the reader, and not the writer. “ Not fully understanding, I asked him to explain. He then taught me, “Life is only fulfilling when you focus on contribution, not achievement. A book will be successful when it is written for the reader; to help, teach, and inspire. Authors who write for their own agrandizement ironically never achieve what they desire, but those who focus on serving others never lack for success.”
Dr. Covey’s advice is not just great advice for writing a book – it is great advice for life. In business, in relationships and in life – the more we serve, the more we get in return. If we approach our customers, employees, family, and friends thinking – how can I serve them, we are going to succeed.
I was asked to participate in the coversation with www.33voices.com and answer the question, What is the most important idea an entrepreneur should be thinking about right now?
My response was – As the world continues to struggle in the economic downturn, we face more problems than maybe any other time in our history. Millions of people have lost their jobs, families are hurting, and confidence is at an all time low. Technology is changing entire industries and making many products and services obsolete. I believe that we are rewarded for the amount of service we provide. If we learn to serve more people or to serve people in a more impactful way, we will be rewarded in greater ways.
Entrepreneurs by nature are problem solvers. They get paid to solve problems. The bigger the problem, the bigger the payday. The world is facing some big problems right now. How do we create jobs? Feed families? Reinvent industries? Or fix the broken system? Right now is the time for entrepreneurs to solve problems and serve people. When you think in terms of service, you are solution seeking. Identifying the problem, but focusing on the solution. The solution becomes your business plan, the service you provide, and ultimately the reward you receive in return.
Albert Schweitzer said it best when he said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”