Several weeks ago, Melissa and I met a couple who runs a site showcasing all things going on around the city of Birmingham, AL. They frequent the new shops, go to concerts, and even post pictures of yummy food from new restaurants. It was very easy to tell that they loved what they were doing. Getting to run the social media marketing and being invited to all of the cool events were just icing on the cake for them. Being more of a business-minded guy, my first question was, “So, how do you make money from that.” The response: “We don’t…it’s just a hobby that we use to help people out.”
I won’t say that you shouldn’t ever get paid for your work. As a matter of fact, the husband behind Happenin’s in the ‘Ham got a job in social media marketing because of his work on the website – it’s definitely paid for the time investment in the website, for sure. But meeting the creative minds behind it really inspired me.
It inspired me to not always have something I need to gain from the value that I add to other people. Work to provide for the needs of others. That’s what I try to do every day. Now, I do get paid for that. But I should be looking for opportunities to add value to people without expecting to receive anything in return. There are a myriad of benefits to giving away value but here are a couple off the top:
I know it sounds weird, but when you pour yourself into other people just for the sake of pouring yourself out, you actually have more energy than you would have if you were just doing it for yourself. Don’t believe me? Try this: Mow the lawn for someone who would otherwise have a difficult time doing so themselves, then go mow your own. Next weekend, just go over your own lawn twice. Guess which of the two is going to feel best energy-wise.
You get a deeper sense of fulfillment from helping someone who can’t help you back. If you have a hard time coming up with individuals to work with – go volunteer somewhere. They won’t complain that you’re there to help, I promise. Have an attitude of someone who wants to help and wants to contribute. Keep that at the forefront of your mind because that will get you through whatever non-glamorous task you’re privileged to perform.
Taking the time to pour into others where you’re needed is something that all of us need to do more of. Kudos to those of you who do it regularly. Let’s all spend some additional time adding value to the lives of others for free. The return on that is how much better off they are as a result.