It was Booker T Washington who said “I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
Wow, Wow and Wow again! Dr Maya Angelou (who is Oprah Winfrey’s mentor) said something along the lines of “We learn in order that we may teach”. Actually now that I think about it, many of the individuals that I look up to for wisdom and guidance, all talk about ‘giving back and doing for others’.
Ironically my Toastmaster’s speech this month is about not only having a hero, but also being one. For me, in that place deep down inside of us where we know the truth, I know that my life’s purpose is to teach, to share, to motivate and to inspire and I can honestly say that I am at my happiest and the most at peace with myself, when I am standing in a classroom, in front of a whole bunch of new business owners or SMMEs (small, medium, micro enterprises) or entrepreneurs and I am sharing my experience or teaching them about the ‘how to’ of starting a business or explaining how important the business infrastructure is to ensure that deliverables are met and to ensure sustainable business growth.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the ‘ah-ha’ moment look on the faces of people who have just learnt the lesson, got it, seen the light (insert anything you like here), quite frankly it’s is worth more and is more precious than any financial gain. It is truly a wonderful experience.
Be warned though, you can only help people as much as they allow you to and you cannot live other people’s lives for them. Sometimes they just have to learn the lesson for themselves and there is no amount of advice and pleading and begging and shouting and fighting with them that will change that. Once you have handed out the advice you have to step away and let them get on with it. Think about it for a moment – when a child is learning how to use feeding implements, you show them how and pretty soon they want to do it for themselves and you let them (I mean who wants to be feeding a 30 year old down the road!) Sure they make a mess that you will, in all probability, have to clean up, but in essence you let them go and get on with it. Why is it so difficult then, to ‘let go’ once you have given someone advice. The reality is that once you have given the advice, it is up to them to use it or not. It is no longer your problem.
So don’t be afraid to ‘give back’ or pay it forward. Don’t be afraid to share the experience or life lessons that you have learned. You will be all the richer for it and the Universe is a strange place – often you will get back far more than you ever gave in the first place.