“It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Research has shown that when we volunteer, when we give of ourselves and our time to help others, we benefit too. Our happiness grows. We feel more satisfied with life. We have more energy and, at times, more creativity. We have more to give.

I’ve noticed this pattern with my clients as well. When they succumb to the gossip and bad-talking about others on their team, or when they get caught in endless venting and complaining about their boss, direct report, or peer, they seem to stay endlessly caught in that loop, and their frustration seems to spill over into other areas of their work (and life). It can lead to a lack of enthusiasm for a new project, a sense that organizational changes are “just another fad” before the changes have had a chance to potentially make a difference, or irritation with colleagues and meetings that never seems to fade.

At the same time, I’ve also seen my clients go out of their way to help someone on their team or to pitch in on a project that has very little – or even nothing – to do with their immediate work, and I’ve seen my clients benefit from these seemingly selfless actions. My clients have told me about the stronger relationships they’ve built at work and the fun they’ve had working on new and interesting projects. They’ve told me about the ways the people they’ve stepped in to help have stepped in to help them back. Or have publicly given them credit for the project to their boss’s boss. Or have lent them resources when they needed them or given them a heads-up about projects coming down the pike.

We often think that when we’re giving of ourselves, we’re only giving of ourselves. But we often get back at least as much as we give. When we step in to help someone, we often turn out to be helping ourselves as well.

How have you benefitted from helping someone else? What have you learned?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.


For support in helping others and yourself, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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Photo Credit: PixelsAway/Bigstock.com

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