One of my favorite lessons or stories about my oldest son, Jasper, is this one.
This was not that long ago, and Jasper just turned four. We were just having a little bit of difficulty with Jasper, just being a typical toddler, such as telling us no, would not eat or get ready for bed, etc.
We put typically put Liam, my other son, down for bed around 7 pm and Jasper usually goes down for bed at 8 pm.
Well, one night, we put Liam down at seven and we were trying to get Jasper ready for bed, but we were just having such a tough time.
And Liam jumped out of his crib, and he fell. It was the first time he jumped out of his crib.
Jasper immediately went downstairs and grabbed an ice pack. He also went and grabbed a medical kit. He brings this first aid kit in to see his brother. Then he takes all the pillows off the couch in his brother’s room and lays all these pillows down by the crib. Jasper refused to go into his bedroom. He wanted to sleep with Liam to make sure he’s okay.
“Wow. Jasper is really at his finest when he’s serving others.”
And as soon as AJ said that, it dawned on me that it’s not just Jasper that’s at his finest when he is serving others.
We are all at our best when we are serving others.
If there is one thing that I have learned about leadership, it is this– if serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.
This, at its core, is what truly influential leadership is and what it looks like.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which has been a huge contribution to humanity and helped us. A lot of us understand what it means to be human and our desire to feel safe and this has been super powerful.
But I think, as powerful as this is, Maslow missed it.
I think he was one rung short because he talks about self-actualization, which is the desire to become more than one can be, which is to experience the height of our potential.
And we live in a world where we have the luxury of many of us have our physiological needs met for the most part. We’re safe. A lot of us have good companies and decent families- hopefully great families.
We have self-expression galore through social media and yet people are still depressed.
People are still burnt out and that’s because I think Maslow missed it. I think there is another rung that is a level higher, which is not self-actualization– it’s others-actualization.
How to Find Your Purpose
It is helping others become the most that they can be.
In fact, there’s nothing like the feeling you get when you actually help someone else succeed.
It’s a richer feeling than making more money, getting an award, getting a promotion, or a title.
It’s the experience that we have and I never really understood it, even until I was a parent.
I never wanted to be a parent. It wasn’t in my plans but as a leader and as a parent, there is something so powerful and deeper knowing that you helped somebody else succeed rather than helping yourself succeed.
It’s realizing that your highest self is to be your highest value to others.
That is where you experience happiness. That is where you experience joy. That is where you experience peace.
It’s a pursuit that never ends, but it is a well that fills much, much deeper than money, power, or title.
It is just realizing that I played a role in helping that person succeed.
People ask the wrong question. People often ask the question of what’s my purpose?
It’s not necessarily a bad question. I just do not think that that’s the question that is going to lead people to find the feeling that they are seeking.
Instead of asking the question of what’s my purpose, we should ask the question of how can I help?
And if you ask that question, your life will be filled. It will be rich. It will have value. It will have meaning.
It’s not about you.
Finding my purpose is like a self-defeating behavior but when you ask how can I help, you’re putting your life in the context of not just you but that the purpose of our life exists through the context of how we help and serve other people.
How about you? How are you helping others succeed today? I love to know.