How can I help you? That simple phrase has become the greatest symbolism of generosity I’ve heard in quite some time. The people who’ve uttered it lately are definitely born, raised.. and probably the mayors of “Givington”.
Strangely enough, towns like “Givington” seem to be much more prevalent in the Bay Area (West Coast of California) of the United States than anywhere else on the planet.
Recently my network has predominantly grown in the San Francisco & Silicon Valley area of the United States due to a recent business trip my wife made for her company. She likes to regularly connect me to like-minded individuals to share the most amazing experiences.
As a business coach & mentor, I often donate a percentage of time to people who come across my path, all in the spirit of “giving-back” and or “paying-it-forward”. However, having had an intense two week period of back-to-back phone calls with highly sought after professionals themselves, I was absolutely blown away by how many conversations started & ended with “how can I help you”. These guys were really insistent, and to be honest, I’m so not used to it that it actually felt awkward!
Are you giving or taking?
If you’re thinking of your response whilst listening to someone share their perspective on something.. you’re not really “listening”! When was the last time you stood in front of someone and just gave of yourself without expecting or wanting anything in return? Whether it’s being absolutely absorbed and giving someone your full attention, or just authentically asking the question “how can I help you” at the end of their sharing. When was the last time that you just gave?
Cynics will state that there’s always a form of “taking” because even when you don’t expect anything in return, the fact is we at the very least walk away with a sense of fulfillment for having been of service. But does that really count against you? I say NO!
The Boomerang Effect
I don’t give because I expect anything in return, unless it’s a professional engagement where fees are obviously expected in exchange for my services. But I will guarantee you that in one form or another “the reward” will come!
Last year someone came across my radar through a blog post & I ended up volunteering a few mentoring sessions based on the journey they were on. Soon after, a few months to be precise, I got an inquiry from a Fortune 100 firm asking me for a quote on the exact type of empowering services I love to work on. If that wasn’t enough, even though they had negotiated my rate down based on volume, at the time of payment I found myself getting a healthy BONUS. When I inquired as to why, my client simply said I had worked harder than anyone they had hired before & that based on the results they were witnessing.. I deserved it 🙂
I later found out that my services had been referred from that original individual.
In each of the cases where my recent conversations started off with “how can I help you”, you’d better believe that I’ve still got them top-of-mind and that I’m looking for ways to reward their generosity. I’ve been pretty much all over the world in my lifetime, and other than Sydney Australia where people just seem to be naturally high on happiness & good life, I’ve never encountered such a “how can I help you” culture as in the Bay Area.
How can I help you?
If you post a question in the comment section below, I promise to respond within 24h with practical solutions as long as I have the experience. If I don’t have the relevant experience.. I’ll at least try to point you in the right direction.
So tell me.. How Can I Help You?