I live in a great small town. It’s very idyllic—kids always riding bikes and playing in the park. As a result, I have some neighbors who take pretty good care of me.
One such neighbor is named Mike. Mike was referred to me as the go-to mechanic to fix my mower and tractor. (Yes, I said tractor. I live in the country). Mike tends to fix things for me, but he never charges me. He was at my house the other day to fix something and said he would “Write it off as benevolence.”
Mike works as a mechanic for a living, plus he fixes all of the buses at the school. This is how he makes his living. It got me thinking that Mike’s strategy is an intelligent one.
How much of your time and energy are you offering up as “goodwill”? I realize we are all here to make a living, but goodwill has a huge return on investment.
I went to a very inspiring breakfast this morning honoring women who have succeeded in the STEMM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine). The stories that these women told about the challenges they have faced in mostly male-dominated fields were amazing. One story especially stuck with me. A woman said that “30 minutes of her professor’s time changed her life.” That professor encouraged her to think outside the box with her civil engineering degree and pursue a specialty in water to satisfy her desire to work in environmental engineering.
Have you changed someone’s life by offering up your time, talents or even advise? We all know the “bank account” analogy for our personal relationships, but are we making deposits with our professional relationships?
Mike doesn’t change my life by helping me fix my tractor but I have had some conversations that have. My friend Kristine is the one that encouraged me to start running. My friends Holly and Ronan are the people that really encouraged me to take the leap and start my own business.
Are you speaking at engagements such as this breakfast? Are you mentoring someone who is a junior staff member? Are you taking time away from your busy workload to help a colleague solve a problem (personal or professional)?
One of the best church sermons I have heard is how you can be a blessing to others and the answer to their prayers. How amazing would that be if someone out there in the world was praying for something and you happen to be the person who—through your time and words—answers their prayers?
My message for today is “Be Like Mike.” (and Kristine and Holly and Ronan) What time or talent can you offer as a benevolence to others?