How Helping Others Can Boost Your Own Career

Every time you encounter another person, think: help this person. It's not altruistic. Nothing else can so quickly supercharge your career and improve the quality of your life.

I wrote these words in university, and since then a debate has raged - well, ok, simmered - between two groups of readers.
One group argues that if you help other people with the knowledge that doing so will help your own career, then such behaviors are insincere.
Another group says that you can do both: be genuinely interested in the needs of others, and still recognize that helping others is a brilliant career strategy.
I'm in the second camp.
I do my best to help others because I want to live in a world in which people help other people. It gives me enormous pleasure to recognize that my actions have made a significant difference in the life of another person, especially when that person really needed my help.
But I'm also motivated to be hired as a speaker or consultant, and the more people I help, the more often both of these things happen.
The same will be true for you: the more people you help, the better your career will go. You'll enjoy a reputation as a positive, helpful and accomplished professional.
Wait a minute, there's a catch.
Here's what you can't do. You can't help someone, then expect an immediate reward. In English, there is a phrase for this; it's "clumsy jerk." Only a clumsy jerk would donate money to a charity, and then the next day call the charity and ask, "Now what are you going to do for me?"
The same prohibition applies when helping others. If you see a new employee struggling at work, don't help help and then expect an immediate favor. In fact, don't expect a favor back, ever. That's not how helping others benefits your career.
Many times, the people who help you are not the same ones that you have helped. They are people who notice how positive and proactive you are. They notice how you show people respect and genuine caring. They notice how much you get done, and they appreciate your big heart.
I want to be crystal-clear. It's not "I help you, then you help me." It's "I help you, I make a positive difference, and good things happen to me because I make a difference."
As i mention, I love dogs. But in the early days of the Internet, it was considered very uncool to create a web site and put a picture of your dog on your site. We had a term for such sites; we called them "lame."
But now two decades have passed, and it's time for me to use a dog - not one of mine, but still a dog - to push these three words deeper into your brain: help this person.


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