Geoff Ables

Geoff Ables

SpeakerMatch

Relationship Success: Listen, Understand, Connect, Know

Geoff is an author and highly sought-after thought leader on relationships, digital workplace transformation, customer experience, employee engagement, and company culture. An engaging, authentic, interactive and inspiring story teller.

Fee Range: $1,000 - $2,500
Travels from Charlotte, NC (US)

For more information about booking Geoff Ables, visit
http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/WorkTogetherBetter

Or call SpeakerMatch at 1-866-372-8768.

Geoff Ables
Geoff Ables - Motivational Speaker

C5 Insight

Relationship Success: Listen, Understand, Connect, Know

Geoff is an author and highly sought-after thought leader on relationships, digital workplace transformation, customer experience, employee engagement, and company culture. An engaging, authentic, interactive and inspiring story teller.

Fee Range: $1,000 - $2,500
Travels from Charlotte, NC

Geoff Ables - Motivational Speaker

Geoff Ables

C5 Insight

Relationship Success: Listen, Understand, Connect, Know

Geoff is an author and highly sought-after thought leader on relationships, digital workplace transformation, customer experience, employee engagement, and company culture. An engaging, authentic, interactive and inspiring story teller.

Fee Range: $1,000 - $2,500
Travels from: Charlotte, NC

For more information about booking Geoff Ables,
Visit http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/WorkTogetherBetter/
Or call SpeakerMatch at 1-866-372-8768.

Good LUCK: Balancing People, Purpose and Profit

By
July 12, 2016

“When you go swimming, do you go in circles?”

Everyone laughed. Including me.

Young_Life_Camp_Saranac

It was the summer after my junior year of high school, and those were the first words Harry said to me. I was a quiet kid with a small circle of friends and I had been talked into taking a big step outside of my comfort zone that summer by going to camp where I only knew one person.

Harry was one of the most popular kids in my school. He was on the football team, dated a beautiful girl, and had a magnetic personality. But he made a habit of reaching out to people and inviting them into his circle. Everybody was Harry’s friend, or wanted to be Harry’s friend – and he made it easy for them. Harry was a year younger than me – a huge gap in high school – but I still looked up to him.

His comments were directed at my nose. When I was young my nose had been broken and as I grew up, it became increasingly crooked. So it looked a little bit like a rudder that might make a boat go in circles.

If anyone else had made the swimming comment, it would have been a typical high school comment that made someone feel smaller so that they could appear bigger. But that wasn’t how Harry worked. He could say things in a way that put a spotlight on someone even when it was a friendly jabbing – and it felt good when Harry used his popularity to make you the center of attention. I loved it … in my own awkward way.

Success came as easily to Harry as friendship did. He kept up good grades towards his engineering degree in college and helped others with their studies too. But when it came to his career, he chose to go into healing therapy so he could keep the focus on serving others rather than an engineering career in which he would have surely excelled.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
-Buddha

One nose job and 32 years after the swimming comment – almost to the day – Harry showed up on my doorstep. With no sense of purpose, joy, or identity – and no desire to find one – he had served others so much that there wasn’t much left of the Harry I had once known.

I talked to some professionals who recognized Harry’s situation as a behavioral health problem. But since that time I have come to see it as the result of serving others too selflessly.

Six months later, in spite of the efforts of many to help him, Harry chose to end his journey.

There are two sides to the old commandment, “love others as you love yourself.”

There are two sides to the old commandment, “love others as you love yourself.”

We tend to think that it means that we should look to the needs of others more than we look after ourselves. Is that because most of us tend to put more weight on the side of the scale that focuses on self-serving? Maybe. But I think there is more.

The examples of selfishness tend to be louder and more obvious because of the external wreckage that they leave.

Selflessness is more often done in quiet. And the internal wreckage that builds up over years, and mechanisms created to cope with it, often isn’t visible until it is too late. It is easy to fool ourselves into believing we are doing the right thing. Perhaps it is all the more devastating because it slowly destroys those who want to give the most.

“The biggest difference between givers who succeed and givers who fail is asking for help.”
– Adam M Grant

If you look closely, you may see as many examples of selfless serving as you will of self-serving. It’s the parent who sacrifices career and relationships to be there for children, only to lose direction when the nest empties. Or the workaholic parent who truthfully says, “I am doing this for the future and security of my family,” only to burn out later in life. It’s the co-worker who just can’t say, “no,” and who everyone thinks is so helpful – but who never seems to get ahead in their own career. The friend who, every time you connect with them, you realize you only talked about yourself.

The selfless give all of their energy away in the mistaken belief that they should put others first. Only to find that their well runs dry far earlier than it should.

Leaders never forget that people are the most important thing, and that they are one of those people.

Those who balance their needs with the needs of others end up being able to give more than either the selfless or the selfish. They can give more, because they draw on an almost bottomless well that bubbles up from their sense of purpose, and from their passionate pursuit of that purpose in balance with serving others. The selfish find energy when they are gaining for themselves – often at the expense of everyone around them; the selfless never replenish their supply of energy at all.

The fight to balance serving your own purpose and serving others isn’t just a tough fight.  It is the fight.

Most of us constantly fight a battle to keep balance. It is a tough fight. It’s a fight worth fighting. In fact, it is THE fight. And it is a fight worth getting intentional about. Those who understand the stakes, define and refine their sense of purpose, and balance their passionate pursuit of mission with passionate service to others – are those who make the biggest contribution and find satisfaction.

Businesses must struggle with the same fight.

I’m grateful to be living in a time when many businesses are working hard to serve a higher purpose than profits alone.  But, like selfless people, too many of them quietly fade away.  The pursuit of selfless serving alone will rob the team of needed resources and, ultimately, fewer people will be served.  The parallels to personal balance are significant.  It is easy to form a set of cultural beliefs that rationalize failures in a self-defeating vicious cycle.

Without profits and paychecks a business will cease to exist, but those are not the reasons why a business exists.

On the other side of the scale, the pursuit of profits alone creates a narcissistic business that ultimately becomes useful only to itself.  The worst examples are the Enron’s of the world.  The organizations that rationalize deceptive practices, that justify breaking their agreements, and that abuse the trust that employees, customers, vendors and others have placed in them.

Like personal balance, most organizations don’t err to either extreme.  Most struggle for balance – and that’s a good struggle.  But it’s important to recognize that it is easy to develop a set of cultural beliefs that keep an organization just off balance enough to keep the team from maximizing their impact.

Great organizations never forget that they exist to serve people.

Good LUCK is about businesses (and individuals) fighting the battle to turn LUCK (LUCK is an acronym that means: listen, understand, connect and know) inward, to find a purpose and to constantly fight for balance. That kind of balance doesn’t come by accident and it doesn’t come from regulation.  It comes from focused, intentional effort and constant attention.

No person and no organization is perfect.  What side of the scale does your organization fall on?  What can you do in your role to bring it closer to a healthy balance?

 

Want to learn more about finding purpose, and balancing it with serving others?  Here are some great places to start from either a personal or a business perspective:

Originally published on by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau