Knowledge Center


Article -> One Word to be Selfless

Date Added: September 2011

Note: This article appeared in the September 20 2011 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Visualize the following scenarios: someone asks for assistance at work, your spouse asks you to clean the house, you ask your child to cut the grass, or you are asked to volunteer or contribute to a non-profit agency.


We’re continuously faced with decisions. Our response is something we’ve all done. We put our head down; pretend we didn’t hear the request; or think, “Can I?” We look for reasons not to help. We’re busy. Someone provided me with one word to consider. Instead of thinking, “Can I?” What about, “How can I?” The word “how” is amazing.


How can you help your organization? You can offer solutions that may include your assistance, a team effort, re-prioritizing strategies, or seeking an outside resource. All are potential solutions and better than no response.


A well-liked employee recently left an organization. The communication could have resulted in declining employee morale and increased employee workloads until a replacement was hired. Several employees asked the leader, “How can I help during the transition?” How refreshing!


For years, a colleague has said he’d like to change the world. Recently, he began asking “how” and is formulating a plan to change the world. The impact he’ll make in the world is amazing because he’s asking “how.”


Another person mentioned he has one daily request. “The wisdom on how he can best serve.” He doesn’t ask for wisdom for himself (this seems ego-driven). He doesn’t only request wisdom to serve (this could equate to being self-selective in where and who to help). He asks how to best do so. Again, consider this impact on others.


Leaders ask “How can I lead,” rather than “Can I lead?” Leaders ask “How can I serve,” not “Can I serve?” There have been 3,457 Congressional Medal of Honor winners. None wondered, “Can I” because they already determined “how.” The world progresses because people ask “how.”


Next time you’re presented with an opportunity to help, serve, lead, do anything; consider the word “how.” Be selfless vs. selfish. This can do wonders for youself, your organization, your family and our community.

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