Why Give a Damn:

Do you try to understand others before trying to have them understand you? This question is essential to becoming an effective leader. Mark Albion’s blog series explores the impact our relationship with our father has on how we build our business and life. Each post has a serial and commentary portion. It is hoped that readers will add their own commentary and discuss in the comments.

The author of this post, Mark Albion, a conflicted achiever who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong, is the New York Times Best Selling author of seven books. He has ridden a horse across Afghanistan and been hugged by Mother Teresa and Ronald Reagan—not at the same time.

There are two kinds of people in the world –
those who walk into a room and say ‘Here I am’
and those who say ‘There you are’.
– Abigail Van Buren, Dear Abby columnist

Commentary on Part Two – Do You Focus on Your Needs or the Needs of Others?

The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is an ancient, well-accepted rule for reciprocity. However, it comes up short for achieving success in business and in life. Success is not about you; it requires others. You need to help others reach their dreams if you want to reach yours. You need to connect to their memories, their desires. That means a rule like, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”—the rule a wise father followed when he selected a mentor for his son over 2,300 years ago.

You need to help others reach their dreams if you want to reach yours.  Tweet This Quote

Alexander the Great could have been a fun-loving wastrel, reveling in his physical prowess and beauty, adored by those attracted to wealth and power. However, his father, King Philip, had other expectations and called not for a king or warrior, but for a famous philosopher. “Aristotle,” the King enjoined, “Teach my son to lead.”

Ushered into the great hall, Aristotle began: “If you are not to be a despot, know that the men and women outside your borders are not beasts to be slaughtered and humiliated. That leads to resentment, uprisings, and endless warfare. Lead from your heart and mind and listen to theirs.”

Success is not about you; it requires others.  Tweet This Quote

Whereas Alexander had worked to become a master of the sword, Aristotle taught him gratitude and admiration–especially for the people he conquered. “Listen to the people you conquer. They seek to be respected and have their wisdom, their history acknowledged. Learn of their greatness–of their gods, of their ways. In this way, they will learn to trust you.

“Learn from their elders. Discuss how they can thrive in your empire. They will lift their heads and hearts to build a new world with you. They will be grateful, and you will gain the only true immortality: of life that has added to life.”

That was how Aristotle taught Alexander leadership: ethos, logos and pathos—character, logic and compassion—not just the ‘logic’ (competence) manifest by the sword. And that was how this fierce warrior acted. He put down the sword once people were conquered. He showed tolerance and respect, and was admired, even loved, by those he conquered. At 33, he reigned over the entire known world.

My girlfriend says
I never listen to her.
I think that’s what
she said.
– Drake Sather,
Emmy-nominated screenwriter  Tweet This Quote

Alexander’s story reminds us that competence/strength/smarts is just the ante to play the game. People respect brains, the focus of most education. But as former GE CEO Jack Welch observed (paraphrase), “We’re taught how to raise our hand to answer every question. The problem is that leadership, that building an organization, is all about knowing how to help others raise their hands and answer questions.”

In my experience, what distinguishes those who attain top positions or build great organizations is a willingness to help others achieve their goals. They teach, listen and develop people.

At Calvert Investments, the nation’s largest family of socially responsible mutual funds, veteran CEO Barbara Krumsiek oversees $12.5 billion in forty funds, leading several hundred people. She likes to “have nothing on my desk that I’m responsible for” so she can focus on bringing together her staff and “the work on their desks.”

Barbara knows her staff individually. She adjusts her methods of communication and motivation for each person. “We have smart people doing some great things. It’s my job to make sure they are taken care of. To do that, I communicate with each of them in ways that work for them. That might be in print, by e-mail, one-on-one, or in small groups.”

Barbara tolerates a high degree of disagreement: “Collegiality doesn’t mean I make decisions everyone supports. What’s important is that everyone feels they were heard and that I communicate my desires and decisions to them in a way that most effectively allows them to hear what I’m saying.”

Man masters nature
not by force but
by understanding.
– Jacob Bronowski,
The Ascent of Man  Tweet This Quote

As a leader, in business and in life, your every move—what you do (and don’t do), what you say (and don’t say), and how you do and say it—are watched and processed by others. When my sensitive daughter Amanda was in great pain over being so far from her family when her grandfather died, what should I have done? I don’t think a rushed phone call, as I worried more about what I was doing and feeling than about her, communicated what I, her father, wanted.

And whether it was paying for the food—something Dad and Marilyn always did—or dominating the evening’s discussion with the Rabbi, I didn’t honor my stepmother and the pain she must have been in, given she just lost her best friend of over one-half century. I’d drop in every year or so; Marilyn dedicated her life to Dad. She was lost in her memories, and I was the only one she could have shared them with that day. But I didn’t make myself available.

We get so busy with our stuff, it’s easy to forget others’ needs,
and our affect on them.

We get so busy with our stuff, it’s easy to forget others’ needs, and our affect on them. Great entrepreneurs, great leaders don’t forget. Industrialist, entrepreneur and social visionary, father of a $75 billion empire, Konosuke Matsushita was as revered in Japan as the Emperor. And he was just as busy. But he always had time to teach his executives by example about the importance of caring and compassion for others, of seeing through their eyes.

One day Matsushita went to lunch with his executives at a local Osaka restaurant. Upon his entrance, people stopped to bow and acknowledge this great man. He honored the welcome and sat at a table selected by the manager.

Matsushita ate only half of his meal. He asked for the chef, who appeared in an instant, shaken and upset. The Great One nodded and spoke: “I felt that if you saw I had only eaten half of my meal, you would think I did not like the food or its preparation. Nothing could be less true. The food and preparation were excellent. I am just old and cannot eat as much as I used to. I wanted you to know that and to thank you personally.” (Story from Matsushita Leadership)

Do you understand before trying to be understood? Do you take the time to listen and learn about others, or are you focused more on your own agenda?

From here that looks like a bucket of water, but from an ant’s point of view, it’s a vast ocean; from an elephant’s point of view, just a cool drink; and to a fish, of course, it’s home.
– Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

About the author

Mark Albion

Mark Albion

Mark Albion left his business school professorship to answer his life question: "How can I be a Marxist and still own my own Jacuzzi?" He is now a serial entrepreneur, faculty founder of Net Impact, and author of a series of books exploring meaningful careers, impact entrepreneurship, and success.

  • What do you think? Do you understand your parents given how they grew up and what experiences have affected them? What variation of the Golden Rule works best for you?

  • DrivenbySuccess

    Powerful article because everyone in the world is guilty of this, but is it a means to be guilty because you want to make sure that you have your things in order before you offer yourself or belongings to someone else? I try and live by a model of lifting as we climb. I am not always able to make peoples wishes come true but i do try and that is what I am happy about. I recommend that people look into these type of things for the sake of them feeling better because they helped someone out.

  • jbrycewilson

    I would plus one this article with the maxim “Give before you get.” I love the principles set forth on being understanding, and working hard to know the people around you. Those efforts will greatly contribute to success with others. Adding the give before you get I think solidifies the argument in helping to remember putting aspects of others before yourself.

  • mhansen11

    Thank you for this article! I liked how you said you need to help people reach their dreams for you to reach yours..It’s a strange thing to think about but it has a great message in it. “success is not about you; it requires others”. Working together means you have a greater chance than any other to accomplish something. Stay together for a common goal and you will get there. I think the for me, working on understanding people is going to be important. People are all different so understanding them and the situation is important.
    Thank you again!

  • lifting as we climb – love that expression! Could you explain a little more?

  • Love it – “Give before you get” – true giving is without expectation – great book by family friend Bob Burg – The “Go-Giver”. thank you!

  • Yes, and Chris Yeh’s article, “Leadership is not about you, it is about them,” is making this same point. It is hard to not focus on all the work you have on your desk and instead, focus on what other’s have on their desk. This transition takes time and practice — and balance, as you still have to get to and do well with your stuff! Is it the common goal that is the key, or what do you think helps us make this transition?

  • mhansen11

    I was thinking here that a common goal is a good idea to have in your mind for sure together, but instead of focusing on that, focus on the process to get to that goal. And this way you and whoever you are working with can go step by step in the progress to better whatever you will be doing or working on.
    Helping people make their goal, makes you a better person in what you are looking to achieve I would say.

  • Tyler Steinmetz

    Thank you so much for sharing this article! I have been taught from a very young age that “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the way to live your life every day. Sometimes this is extremely hard because as you said, it is very easy to get so busy with stuff that only affects you. I’m glad that my parents raised me to always think of others before thinking about myself and I really think that this teaching has made me the person I am today and the teacher/leader I will be in the future. If you give everything for the cause of your employees, students, or peers, they will give their everything for the cause that you are striving towards. Thank you again for sharing all of your thoughts Mark!

  • Kendra Larson

    Your article brings out a very good point. People spend too much time thinking only of themselves, and think rarely of others. We are all so caught up in our own worlds that we are blind to the people that really need us to be there. Although we strive to achieve our own goals, we fail to realize that in the work place, you are surrounded by so many people that want to achieve that same goal. And in order to achieve it people need to stand together and work with each other. If we all work together, it can make achieving goals at the workplace easier and can allow for everyone to be successful. Not just one individual person. Thank you for sharing this article!

  • treehugger90

    Great article! I agree that we need to think about others and not just our own agenda! This reminds me of my health topics class because we are learning about gratitude and how it feels good to give to others!

  • Logan Dohmeier

    I definitely think that it is important to look out for others because just as you stated there will be equal reciprocity (so we hope). This turns strenuous individual projects into a breeze when others are willing to help you as you have helped them. This would also apply to when you may be having a personal problem and you need others support you and give you that boost you need to make it through. Unfortunately, society in general consists of many self-centered people who could care less about anyone else but themselves. This really creates a lot of conflict whereas if there were more self-less individuals I think we would see less crime as a result, and definitely more production all around. I think the basis for getting people to understand gratitude and being self-less starts at home but is highly reinforced in the educational systems. The stories you always incorporate definitely help hit-home the point. Alexander the Great was the man and excellent article as always!

  • jack lomax

    I have always tried to put peoples needs before my own, but it can be difficult. Especially when the person whose needs you have put before your own, doesn’t appreciate the effort you have put in. I understand that appreciation isn’t why you do this, but it doesn’t make it easy when the effort you put in goes unnoticed!

  • Thank you, Logan. We live in a society focused on the individual, but societies like Biblical Judaism and African spirituality focus on the community first, followed by the community helping each individual find their way. Predominantly known on that continent as Ubuntu, you might check it out. Good Ted talk on it by my dear friend, Barbara Nussbaum. What do you think about these communal societies?

  • Beautiful sentiments, well-expressed, Tyler. Bravo to your parents, as well. Why do you think they are like you described?

  • You are teaching me. So having the right process is as important or more so than the common goal? Food for thought. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Kendra. As I respond to you from a hospital where I have been the past two days as my 86 year old CEO- Social Entrepreneur Mom goes through some tough stuff, I had to cancel many work related meetings. Still feel the tug, but who/what comes first? Am I really thinking about her first, or simply making sure I’m “acting as a good son?” Does intent matter or just the action of who/what comes first?

  • Gratitude. A Bigee! And what are you grateful for? How does it drive your daily life? Or do you spend more time on what you don’t have?

  • Tyler Steinmetz

    I believe it’s because of how they were raised and how my grandparents brought them up! Generations and generations of teaching can go a long way to making everyone think about other people before they think about themselves. I just hope I can be a good enough parent and role model to teach my children this when the time comes. If I do this, I can continue this attitude through them.

  • sarahbrooks

    Thank you! I think that this was such
    an important article to share because it gives the message that we
    should listen before we speak. Many people are so fast when it comes
    to talking and sharing their point of view, and problems. If people
    were to listen, learn, and understand one another, I believe there
    would be more stronger and healthier relationships. Do you think if
    people grew up with the message, “Do unto others as you would have
    them do unto you” (or similar to it), they would have a greater
    chance of understanding someone, rather than being understood?

  • treehugger90

    I’m grateful for my family, and my bf and his family! I’m grateful to be in school and that my parents help me pay for it. Additionally, I’m grateful to have a variety of jobs! Furthermore, it drives me to graduate and to one day be married and have a family of my own! What are you grateful for?

  • Jansscor16

    I really enjoyed all the examples and references in the article. They really give meaning and purpose to understanding ourselves and putting others needs before ours. As a leader it is important that we care a lot about those we lead. This article can help a lot of people, especially as college students. College students are paving the way towards a career and these are great tips to help us succeed.

  • As life gets hectic, Tyler, with lots of things competing for your time, please remember what you said, and I’m sure you will do it too. In a few blogs, I will have a “father bird” story that you’ll find interesting regarding this point. The attitude is in your genes, now, wouldn’t you say?

  • My wife. The God-given strength of resilience and energy. The parental gift of intelligence and role models of what I’d like to emulate and what I’d like not to emulate. Passion. Purpose. Getting to know my maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather who were alive into my 20s and 30s. And children.

  • Yes, Jack. Not being appreciated is tough. I am going through that right now actually. You have to have the inner strength to just do what you believe you should do to become the kind of person you want to be. As the saying goes, “God’s gift to us is who we are. Our gift to God is who we become.” Still, you need a stiff upper lip sometimes and not to take things personally. My Mom always said in terms of what she would run into in her business that she didn’t want to act like some people and get down in the mud with them. She would continue to act how she wanted to act no matter what they did. Good lesson for me… and you?

  • I just think it is very hard, Sarah, as our Western Society focuses so much on the individual, the entrepreneur changing the world on his/her own, that we forget about others. We need others to bring us into the world, and on the way out. Don’t you think we need others in between too? Our society doesn’t focus on that because once you do–as in poor communities–you tend to focus on their needs too as you recognize that we all win together or we all lose alone. Do you agree?

  • My challenge is that if we believe in the power of ‘us,’ of caring for and understanding others, why is our primary reward system in school individual grades. Isn’t there a better way to “score” success and accomplishment, given what you and I have said here?

  • Connor Driscoll

    Thank you for posting! I love this article because I feel that if everyone in the world read this, the world would be a better place. As a college student who holds multiple jobs, for example, I understand that sometimes we forget others and focus only on the self. But what if I need help with my job then? I am then in trouble because I neglected others and now they don’t want to help. What goes around comes around is very true and I appreciate the inspirational quotes within your article. Mark, I read your comment about scoring success and accomplishment in schools. In an ideal world, how would you like to see this done?

  • ZakFritz

    This article is very good advice for my future. I can’t always do what I think is right but I have to listen to everyone because a lot of the time they have good ideas. I want to be a teacher so that means even listening to my students because I am sure they will have good ideas to help me do my job better.

  • weidmankl15

    Very good article! This is something that many people need to focus on, caring about others and not just themselves. In my family, my mom cares so much about everyone else’s needs and always put her children and other family first. I wish I could be more like that because everyone just loves how sweet she is. You also get so much satisfaction when you makes others happy and care about their needs as well as your own. Do you find yourself putting others first more after writing this?

  • Thank you, Connor. I would like to see more “team” scores. As people work on different teams, you can get a good handle on their “individual” scores too. For example, when I was a professor, I used to write a lot of technical articles with colleagues — sometimes two or three. Overtime, as you work with different colleagues, people understand what your contribution is without the need for individual scores.

  • Listening, Zak, and understanding without judgment. Hard to do, but important. What helps you listen better?

  • Thank you for the question. Putting others first, truly first, has always been difficult for me. (That’s why I say don’t confuse the artist with the art.) I did a lot of this writing up until 5 years ago, with as many as 9 million readers per month. The message was basically the same, and I, like you, am a journeyman on the road of trying to be a better person (at 62 years old!), and trying to be less selfish. For example, just because I focus on my children or my wife, isn’t that for me too? No end, but practice and the journey is what it’s about. What about you? Do you think this article, other experiences will “get you there;” what might stop you or make it harder?

  • treehugger90

    Well said! 🙂 I am grateful to know my grandparents as well! Not many people get to know their grandparents at an older age. It’s awesome when you can bond with someone in your family at a younger age and then at a older age. Then you get two different perspectives and the conversations gradually transform.

  • Jeovany_Espino

    I find this article very interesting and has a great message. Most people today do focus on themselves and bettering themselves, they do want others to succeed but perhaps do not show it as so. It is human nature to want good for someone else but not better than them. If they are “better” or have “more” then this is when jealousy and the like come in. One has to learn to ignore that and realize everyone is at a different stage in life and travels their own paths. The article gives examples of people who follow this in their profession and daily life, but I felt a little unjust in showcasing very successful people such as Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Jack Welch, Barbara Krumsiek, and Konosuke Matsushita, I kind of got the impression that once you reach this kind of success you can THEN go on and help others. I know that wasn’t the intention but something I kind of picked up on. Regardless of that, the message is clear and make’s one question how they are encouraging others succeed.

  • sarahbrooks

    Are you saying if we focus and
    understand each other, we will move forward and have greater
    outcomes? “All win together”, like you mentioned; and if we only
    focus on our selves and only our own problems then nobody is moving
    forward and we are basically all stuck in one spot?– “all lose
    alone”. I can agree with that.

  • ZakFritz

    I am not really sure because it seems like the when I really start listening is when I realize I am doing it wrong. By now it is usually too late. This is something I need to work on and get better at.

  • I hear you, Jeovany. No, it wasn’t the intention, just the use of examples of people readers would no and aspire (for some) to be like. It is a good point, and in my regular writings (Like the companion post of seeing through others’ eyes) you’ll notice no “famous” people, just my family and friends. Thanks for your insights, especially the point of becoming successful first. Absolutely not my intent and further, I would probably define “success” differently as well. Alexander the Great was suicidal, we are told, when he died, for example.

  • I’m saying that we are all in the same boat, if you look at the big picture. That one person’s suffering is all of our suffering. Sometimes we are directly affected by it (e.g., your child is killed by someone who never had parents who cared about him, and was abused), sometimes not. But when will we learn that we are all related to one another, all members of one body? (Helen Keller quote) Or put another way, as Mother Teresa said, “I think the world today is upside-down. It is suffering so much because there is so little love in the home and in
    family life. We have no time for our children. We have no time for each other. There is no time to enjoy each other, and the lack of love causes so much suffering and unhappiness in the world.” Or as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Do you see what I’m saying, in different ways? Do you agree?

  • tjbaumeister08

    Thank you for sharing this great article. I really related to the part when you talked about your father passing. My grandma on my dad’s side passed away a month ago. My dad was pretty close with her so I knew he was really hurting but I didn’t and still continue to not really make myself available. A part of it is because I don’t know what to say to him because talking about death and how the person hurting feels makes me uncomfortable. Any advice on how to make myself more available and be there for my dad?

  • LevenhagAL14

    Love this article! Sometimes it’s hard to put the needs of others ahead of the needs of myself, so reading this article really inspired me to make more conscious efforts to do such. It helps create a deeper bond in terms of friendship and in romantic relationships. I’m a big believer of karma, and the ideas and practices behind it. How do you feel our culture responds to giving and getting in comparison to others?

  • BartuchGR11

    Thank you for posting this article. This article was really helpful because it provides us with another reminder of that we all ways seem to put ourselves first. I think this has become more common today due to our society being so materialistic. I do agree that we need to be less about helping ourselves and more about helping others because it will really help make our country and world a better place. It can be as simple as doing something nice for someone else.

  • sarahbrooks

    Yes, I understand what you are saying
    now! When you said, “ One persons suffering is all of our
    suffering”. The example you gave made a lot of sense and reminded
    me of a story my friend told me. She found out that her sister was
    suffering from depression, and was thinking about suicide, but she
    never even noticed until her sister flat out told her. So that became
    my friends problem, and then she told me and I felt like it became my
    problem; because I find myself asking her how her sisters doing, and
    now wondering if there is anyone who I’m really close to who is also
    suffering from depression, and if I’m just oblivious to it. Thank you
    for sharing your examples and the quotes. I agree 100% with you.

  • masterdan55

    Thank you for sharing this article. In our society today its difficult to put someone else’s needs in front of yours. I agree with how you said people need to care more about helping others than themselves people it can unite people in the long run. Karma to some people is true and if you do right, right will happen to you.

  • Thank you for sharing this very personal story, Sarah. What about in your life?

  • First of all, we don’t learn how to do this kind of stuff, certainly not at school, maybe by watching others. I’ll never forget the story about the boy who comforted a person in grief, as you described, simply by a hug and sitting there with them, not saying anything, just listening to them. Just being there with them, in solidarity, showing with patience your willingness to give of your life energy, your time, to help them feel better. You are connecting at a heart level without saying a word. Your presence is enough. You don’t have to say much other than maybe something like, “I’m sorry, too. I hurt for you too.” When you give someone your time, when you are willing to do so with no expectation, when you are simply there for someone else, it make an enormous difference for them. Just spending time with him, just being there when he is ready to talk — with no judgment, no answers, just understanding and interest, is huge. Does that help?

  • Great question, and lots of long winded answers, but I’m not a cross-cultural expert. For example, Americans are the most philanthropic people in the world. Italians give very little in comparison, yet Italians are much more likely to help a neighbor or friends financially and otherwise, though that is not measured as “philanthropy.” We are all challenged by giving and getting, particularly as cultures become more “advanced.” In survival economies, you tend to see more giving and sharing, as everyone knows how the other feels and knows they too are not far from being in need too. What do you think?

  • The Greeks have an expression that in English, basically says that if you throw money out the window, more will come back through the door. The challenge is not to expect “payback,” as you may very well get “payback” but not in ways or from people you expect. For example, you do a favor for “Joe.” Joe never responds, but three years later “Diane” does a favor for you. I really believe that if you are true to yourself and help others, as in Ubuntu societies (predominantly in Southern Africa), others will come to you as well and help you, just not in ways you expect. The key is for you to be open and ready for this “grace” without expectation, without attachment (a bit of Buddhism here :). Easy to say, hard to do. Can you be patient and without expectation in your “giving?”

  • Absolutely. As Sting’s old band, The Police, say, “Every breath you take, every move you make” are all opportunities to make a positive difference, to help another. I like to say that we are all angels with one wing, able to fly only when we embrace each other. When you help another, you’re happier, that person is happier, and as science has shown, any one who has watched the “giving” is happier too! Win-win-win. And you are right: it’s really simple. Few do great things; we do small things with great love. (Mother Teresa quote). Any experiences you’ve had in this way you’d like to share? Or bring in your friends to the discussion!

  • GraceFelion

    I like to think that I do take time to understand others wants and needs. Honestly I probably focus more on others and need to take more time to focus on myself. I often worry too much about how I am effecting others. This probably has a lot to do with my upbringing as well as my struggles with anxiety. Thanks for sharing.

  • Grace-what kind of anxiety? Yes, I have met many women in particular who are amazing at taking care of everyone else but themselves and as you say, often related to upbringing. Important to think of yourself, too! Makes you better for you and for others, don’t you think?

  • AmandaBrom

    The quote we get so busy with our stuff that we forget others needs and the affect on them. Its important to understand how much your actions and words can influence people. Sometimes people you didn’t even know were watching. This article helps people understand how important it is to look around you and see it from someone else’s point of view. Thank you for sharing the great article!

  • MeierKM23

    Thanks for sharing this article!!! I enjoyed it because as much as I am trying to do what’s best for me to get through college, I always love to stop and listen to people whether they are in a good or bad mood. The quote at the beginning “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” really got me because I feel like I am a helpful and unselfish individual and have always been told to treat others as you want to be treated. Also I feel like this would relate to me in my future career treating people respectfully and helping others achieve their goals. Thanks again for sharing this inspiring article.

  • Thank you, Amanda. This is a critical point also for any entrepreneur building a business or leader (or parent :). Your people (your kids) watch everything you do and don’t do, everything you say and don’t say. I used to travel to the stores of a company’s CEO and no joke, months before he would appear the people at the store knew he was coming – even before he knew. If he said something nice to them, they floated on clouds with enthusiasm for months. If the slightest criticism was ventured, they were in the dumps. How do you keep this lesson in your everyday life? Next post will get a little deeper into this subject, fyi.

  • You are welcomed. It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, it can be hard to follow this lesson. It is a work-in-progress for all of us, wouldn’t you say?

  • Hi Grace, I am very much like you in terms on focusing my energy on others rather than myself. We’ll both have to try harder to refocus on ourselves. Thank you for sharing!

  • MeierKM23

    Definitely agree!!

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this article! I really liked how you incorporated all of the quotes in the article. I really enjoy helping people. It is very hard for me to put others before myself sometimes. I don’t want to sound selfish, but I care for my needs before others. I am sure many people have this same problem as me. How do we get people who don’t focus on the needs of others to start focusing on the needs of others?

  • Zach Stockheimer

    I agree with you, I to focus on my needs before other peoples needs. I feel like we need to as humans though because if we don’t worry about our needs first we won’t be able to be happy and taken care of.

  • turbo_frey

    This is a great and inspiring article Mark. My favorite quote was, “Success is not about you; it requires others.” It is true that we can not give ourselves all the credit for our own success. Somehow somewhere the help of others got us to where we are today. I very much enjoyed this article, as I love to help others and most times worry about helping others before doing anything for myself. I strongly believe in the golden rules, “Treat others how you would want to be treated”, and “Don’t ask what others can do for you, instead ask what you can do for others.” If you focus on helping others when they need you most, they will most likely cherish that and be there for you down the road when you need them most. Sometimes, however, we need to do things for ourselves, so when do we know when to put ourselves first before others?

  • Evan Hibbs

    Mr. Albion thank you for the article. I believe to be successful a person needs to have good people around them. If a person has good people around them, those people will have your support and you have to make sure you support them as well. Belief and opportunity are a part of success. I think keeping the people happy who appreciate you is good and not worrying about the people who don’t is also a key to success. Who supports you the most? (your family, co-workers, etc.)

  • Taylor Schulz

    I agree. Success is not something that can just happen because of one person alone, success requires teamwork and, like you said, compassion, character, and logic. There is no I in team after all. The more ‘teamwork’, in my opinion, the bigger your chances for success. I have also learned this too throughout my life. although this is not in the business sense, but in my years of being on a team sport I have learned that there is no way to do well and be successful on your own. Every member of the team is important and there really is no way around it. Success and support go hand-in-hand and it really is amazing the things you can achieve with just a little bit of ambition and help from others. Thank you for posting this article, I enjoyed it!

  • Jessica Mendoza

    Wow! What a inspiring article. The main thing that I got from this article was from the quote, “Success is not about you; it requires others.” This quote is so true. I believe that in order to be successful, we need to have good people around us. Those people will be there to support us, and long as we are their to support them as well. I love helping people, so this article is really relevant to my life. Thank you!

  • Mcgrailkk30

    I couldn’t agree more with what you have to say about leadership. Great leaders aren’t the ones who can simply control their followers. They are compassionate and understanding, and they lead by example. Some people say in a time of need that you have to focus on yourself before you can help others, but I think helping others is good for the soul and can lead to you helping yourself. When would you say is a time where my statement doesn’t necessarily ring true?

  • Trevor Boyle

    This is a very interesting read. I agree that you need to help others in order to help yourself. You are only as strong as your weakest link so why not work together with everyone to create the strongest chain around? Although you do need that one person to be the leader of every group that person has to have the qualities it takes to lead a group of people and accomplish the ultimate goal. I use to go throughout my life only worrying about myself and what was best for me not caring about others needs and manipulated them to get what I wanted. It wasn’t until I got to college and starting playing college football that I realized its not just about me. In order for us to make it to the national championship and win we had to function as one, there was no more Trevor comes first. these guys are my family now and we all need to be on the same page so we could accomplish our goals. Its a hard pill to swallow at times putting others before yourself it can be quit scary to. What if they don’t return the favor?, what if they don’t want your help?, what if they manipulate your generosity? I think these are the reasons why people tend to put themselves before others, the fear of being hurt and tossed out on your ass or not being appreciate for the effort.

  • Trevor Boyle

    If you think about guys if the rich started caring more about society as a whole and started to give back more and not be so greedy about saving themselves our economy might be better off. We are all in the same boat Mark I totally agree with statement however not everyone sees it that way. The main problem with this is that not enough people care about the greater good of all mankind. The rich get richer and poor stay poor as long as they rich aren’t suffering they will never understand what its like from the other side nor care.
    Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
    Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother
    A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover
    The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
    If you never know truth then you never know love
    Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
    Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
    Where’s the love, y’all

    source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/b/blackeyedpeaslyrics/whereisthelovelyrics.html

    These are lyrics from a song written by the black eyed peas a few years ago. If you listen to the full its talking about the same thing we are that the love for society and everything going on in the world has disappeared by our own selfishness. Its a sad thing to take it but its so true.

  • Ryan Repta

    Thank you for sharing this article. I agree with pretty much all of the points stated. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it to make others around you better, it’s nearly impossible to be a strong leader. Also, if you’re able to use your power to help others, you’ll be helping not only your company, but yourself. Have you ever struggled with the idea of putting others before yourself?

  • Caitlin Snyder

    Thank you for this article! I completely agree that you need to be selfless and help others before you help yourself. It is true, you are only as strong as your weakest link, so why not help others become stronger and work as a whole instead of many individuals? Knowledge is power, and the knowledge of an entire group is very powerful. Once again, thank you for this article!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I absolutely love that quote! I think sometimes it’s tough to be completely selfless in a leadership role, but you are only as strong as your weakest link! It is definitely nice to have good, supportive people around you as well!

  • Steven Bichler

    I agree that helping others in order to help yourself is a great philosophy to live by because you’re only as strong as your weakest link (a story I was told many times growing up playing sports). However a quote that stuck with me was “As a leader, in business and in life, your every move—what you do (and don’t do), what you say (and don’t say), and how you do and say it—are watched and processed by others.” This was because I’m planning on being a teacher after I finish school and everything I do will be watched by the community in great detail, so if I help others in the public eye as I hope to do, hopefully I can continue to help others into the future through education and improved health.

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    Thank your for article I really enjoyed and agree with you. I agree that that you need to help other before you help yourself. I live my life that way. I enjoy helping other and I think that is way I choose my major. It is true, that you are only as strong as your weakest link, this is why I surround myself around strong people that can push me to do my best in life. Why would you want to surround yourself around the weakest link because they is just going to bring yourself down and not push yourself to do great things. If you surround yourself stronger people that can be a very powerful to do great things why would you not want to surround yourself around that. Thank you, again for sharing this article I really enjoyed it.

  • Jessica Walker

    I enjoyed the message in this article. To be successful in your life, yes you have to set your own goals, but there will be other people there along the way. You have to take others into consideration and not be so self-centered. Teaming up can give even better results than trying to go off on your own and becoming successful. Finding a good group to work with, you can each use each other as stepping stones to reach a final over-arching goal. In my major, I will be helping others reach their goals, which is so satisfying to me to know I am helping somebody else. By reaching their goals, I am also reaching mine. It is a very selfless way of thinking, and is really humbling. What is more rewarding to you –helping yourself, or knowing you helped someone else?

  • schrammjm26

    Thank you for sharing this article, especially since it involved matters of your personal life. I completely agree with you in regards to not being able to accomplish your dreams without the help of others. A leader becomes a leader by having loyal followers, whether that be in their business or personal life. I feel as though this article also pertains to the importance of not just hearing someone but actually listening to what they have to say in order to make them feel that they have been heard. Everyone seeks acknowledgement no matter how big or small and when someone incredibly busy or in a position of power takes the time to give positive feedback you can make an persons entire day brighten up a little bit.

  • strakaJA01

    I love what you wrote here, @stevenbichler:disqus! Teamwork is everything! In addition, being a leader means that you are being watched all the time. I think this is a concept that some leaders and aspiring leaders forget about. Nonverbal ques are super important! I always try to remember as a leader myself that my actions are like a ripple, they effect so many things! Thank you Mark, for writing this article!

  • DuCharmeDR11

    I appreciated the opening line to this article, “Do you understand others before trying to have them understand you?” It is such a mind-opening question that we tend to forget to ask ourselves on a daily basis. I completely agree that to be a true leader, you first need to seek others’ perspectives. To be powerful and charismatic, it is important to stay humble and vulnerable. There is a difference between being humble, and being inferior. I guess my question for you is how are you going to be a role model for others while staying humble?

  • Matthew Gust

    Thank you for this article! I really enjoyed reading it. A leader is only as strong as its followers. This story also reminds me of Henry Ford. Ford was famous for creating the Model T. In 1914 Ford had 50% of all automobiles in the U.S. By 1931 it had dropped to 28%. Why such a big drop? Well over that time Ford refused to improve or make changes to his Model T. His other fellow leaders in the company came up with these ideas and Ford turned them down because he thought his Model was perfect the way it was. Henry Ford made the crucial mistake of not listening to his associates. The point of this story is that you are a much stronger leader when you add people to your cause. Leaders who are willing to sacrifice some of their power to their followers tend to last and excel longer. The more minds you have geared towards working together becomes easier when you are trying to solve problems while using critical thinking. What do you get more joy from? Helping others or someone coming to help you when you are struggling?

  • Kevin Weber

    Thank you for the article! I always keep a conscious mind of helping others before helping yourself. I know I can do far better, but it takes time. Like you said, you need to understand others and where they are coming from. Don’t think of yourself, but of others needs. You need to work as a whole to become better yourself. Just like it takes a team to win championships, it takes a team to make a business successful. Also, leaders should be compassionate and understanding. This creates a better work area. It’s also true in life that we all need friends and family to help us out, as we help them!

  • Morgan Dowd

    This article reminds me of a quote from Winnie the Pooh: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” By believing in yourself, then the followers (employees/team members) can believe in you too!

  • Branden Unger

    Thanks for the article! I really liked the quote “We’re taught how to raise our hand to answer every question. The problem is that leadership, that building an organization, is all about knowing how to help others raise their hands and answer questions.” By helping other people learn to raise their hands we are able to take knowledge away from their questions as well and get different points of view on things. If there were no people to be concerned with helping other people achieve their goals, the world would remain static and nothing would ever get accomplished.

  • Frank_Stanek

    In my stress management class we just watched a video a couple weeks ago wherein they talk about how money CAN buy you happiness but statistically only if you spend it on others. It really is so easy to take those around you for granted and get really focused on your “stuff” and what you want to do and ignore those around you. You cold argue that in reality most of the problems in the world stem from people being too focused on what is good for them and less on what might be beneficial for everyone.

  • Leija2014

    I completely agree with what you said about staying humble and vulnerable and seeking others’ perspectives to be a true leader. Vulnerability is fear, creativity and joy all mixed into one. You have to be a whole-hearted person to really be a great leader. I also thought you asked the author a great question!

  • amykahl8

    It’s obviously really important to consider other’s points of view and to treat them the way they would want to be treated. However, it’s not always easy to know how others want to be treated. People don’t often just come out and say “I don’t like they way you do this” or “I wish you would do this instead” because they don’t want to start arguments. Therefore, I ask you how can someone know what another person wants out of you if you don’t feel comfortable asking them and they won’t just tell you?

  • The process, the practice, not the goal. Good food for thought. And the fun is all in the process together, isn’t it?

  • Thank you for sharing so much good stuff :). There’s an old expression, “I love humanity. It’s just people I can’t stand.” If you don’t see yourself in the eyes of others who may look and seem to be very different than you, you see no connection and, therefore, don’t care. “Let other people do it,” is often the response. It’s call in economics the “free-rider” dilemma. The problem is that as the world becomes more interconnected (smaller?), more of what happens to others, more of what happens “over there” can affect you. As an example, I wrote up a true story in 1996 about a special man with a very special son called, “Your Neighbor’s Child.” It can be found on page 4 of http://www.mtmc.co/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/NewsLetter09291996.pdf.
    It’s only about 1 page: read it if you have a chance, Trevor, and tell me what you think. And pass it around! Thank you.

  • Hurt people, hurt people. If you don’t have good feelings about yourself, how can you have them about others? Or sometimes, you have a hole that you can’t fill, and you do so by filling that hole for others. As one of our great social entrepreneurs, Billy Shore (Share our Strength) says: “Altruism is unsustainable unless founded in self-interest.” There is a ying-yang-a synergy between what is good for others and for yourself in service that is sustainable. Would you agree, Zach?

  • People tend to focus more on the needs of others when they find out how much happiness they get from doing so. Angelina Jolie just talked about this last week. She said she was a very dark, introverted person growing up, only focused on herself. However, when she began to travel to distressed areas of the world, and began helping others, she opened up more and let the light in. She was happier. She was serving herself, Jessica, by serving others. Make sense? Or not?

  • We all stand on the shoulders of giants. If my ancestors had not left the persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia, at great pains to come to America and Brazil, what would my life have been like? I think in large part, all we do is for ourselves, but we can do things in ways that help others too. The trick in this article is understanding how to do things for them not as you would like them done, but as they would like them done. That requires an understanding that is not natural for most of us, that must be learned through experience, guidance and often making mistakes. Would you agree? Your take on it?

  • My wife, Evan, though her “support” is often to challenge me, but she has put up for 35 years from a “riches to rags” husband. She married a guy making seven figures a year at Harvard, a guy who then became more interested in social impact, struggling to make a six-figure income, as we now scale down and sell our house. Her support has not been understanding me and my choices, but simply wanting me to be happy. In my last book, More Than Money, I have 12 Lifelines (guidelines for life). #10 is “Surround Yourself with a Community of Love”–illustrating your point. Who is that tribe, that community for you?

  • Just recognize, Taylor, that there are many different kinds of team and that the interdependence, therefore, is also different. For example, football and baseball are both team sports, but I am less dependent on others for a good batting average (though a good hitter coming after me in the lineup can help), then I am to throw a touchdown pass (need good receiver, good linemen, etc.) So depending on what you are talking about, the kind of team support you offer others, and they give to you, can vary. Would you agree?

  • Many hands lightens the load, doesn’t it? Really tough, Caitlin, to always have to be THE guy/girl. Really nice when others can do that, too. Great leaders are often measured by the people that they surround themselves with. When venture capitalists make an offer for a company, for example, they often assume that the founder(s) is talented. What they look for is whether s/he has assembled as talented a group of first lieutenants, if you will, to help build the company.

  • Keep on trucking, Jessica. Helping others can be such a high, especially when they appreciate it. What do you do when people aren’t that appreciative?

  • Thank you, Steven. For example, if you say that everyone is important, yet when two people are talking at your place of work and you as the CEO have something you want to tell one of them, if you don’t wait for them to finish but bud in (nicely, impatiently) you are not an example of what you are talking about. You too need to wait as EVERYONE is important. As Gandhi and many others have said, “My sermon is my life.” Your #1 job is to exemplify the values that are at the foundation of your company and your life. Your job is not to have all the answers, but to be an exemplar. Just like Abraham’s first words to God, when asked to lead a nation. Responding that he didn’t know how to do that, that he didn’t have all the answers, God replied that all you have to do to lead is “v’he’vay b’rucha” – be a blessing, be an exemplar. And others will follow. Do you agree?

  • I forget the exact percentages, but researches say that only about 10-20% of communication is what you say. The rest is “how” — body language, eye contact, etc. Said beautifully – “actions are like a ripple.” And as you practice those actions, you will change as well by your own example, don’t you think?

  • Many people have called out this “weak link” concept, actually, but I have a question for you, Ashley: How do you define “weak link?” I’ve found that often times, it is because I have defined people’s value in only one way, my way, instead of recognize their unique gifts and then trying to help them construct a job that allows those gifts to flourish. What do you think about this? I’m curious 🙂

  • What is your major, Jessica? As for which is more rewarding for you, I tend to focus way too much on myself, I think, but I realize that what puts a smile on my face and warms my heart is when someone conveys to me how I’ve helped them. That’s one of the reasons I respond to all these posts and as many emails as I can. Simply said, serving others serves me, a sentiment perfectly captured in the 2000 year old quote by Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be? And if I am only for myself, what am I?” How do you answer your question? What about for you, Jessica?

  • I couldn’t agree more. Particularly millennials, but we all want validation, recognition that we, what we do, what we say matters. What would life be like if what we did didn’t really matter? A bleak world! So when another acknowledges your value, especially someone you admire, it makes the world of difference. Much research has shown you to be right on – people want more acknowledgement more than more money in many situations.

  • Jim Collins first-rate research demonstrated two qualities of our most successful leaders: a strong will and humility. In Swedish it is known as “odmjukhet,” which intimates not raising your head above others. Many leaders teach that you lead “from behind”–set a vision, provide the tools, and they liberate your people to fulfill that vision, following from behind to help as needed. Many great leaders are unheard of, not great speakers, outwardly quiet, or even have speech impediments (e.g., GE’s Jack Welch or allegedly Moses). Humility is a reminder that you are part of the solution, part of the success, but so are others who in their own ways are equally important. It is not denying your own importance, but more elevating the importance of others. How do you respond?

  • If you are asking me, Matthew, being a control freak, I prefer helping others. I often don’t know how to properly “receive” help (or gifts) from others. It’s in my genes! But I have tried hard to learn how to receive and allow others to feel good about themselves. What about you, Matthew? Which do you prefer?

  • As we drive toward success, Kevin, many of us feel it weakens us to admit we need help from others. Instead, it gives others an opportunity to feel of value, to feel needed, to feel important. One of the most surprising comments I heard repeatedly when interviewing accomplished social entrepreneurs for my book, True to Yourself: Leading a Values-Based Business, was that good leaders lead “in doubt.” By that they meant that if they had all the answers for every question, what was there for others to do? How would they be motivated to contribute? By creating space for others to contribute (“doubt”)–clearly having areas of competence themselves as leaders–this created championship teams where everyone tried hard to offer their best. Motivation! Have you seen this in practice, Kevin?

  • Your wonderful quote (which I never heard), Morgan, reminds me of the famous quote by Marianne Williamson, delivered by Nelson Mandela that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Confidence is absolutely important, as you said, but not false confidence. Confidence in what you know with clarity about what you don’t know. Confidence about what you are good at, and what you are not good at. Confidence about how you contribute, and how you need the contributions of others. What else does “the Pooh” have to say? 🙂

  • True, Branden. The challenge is, however, that this “helping others raise their hands” requires a different set of skills — usually process-oriented, soft skills– than “raising your hand yourself,” which is typically hard, solution-oriented skills. Would you agree?

  • If we recognize Frank that “them is us,” we might get a lot further as a society and, as you suggest with the MONEY studies (I’ve seen those too), further in our own personal happiness. What is the challenge in doing this for you?

  • Then you can only know by knowing them. Or asking others who know them. Or offering different solutions and seeing which one(s) seem to work best for them. You are right – much harder to do. But for most people, if they just see the effort — and they may not be able to articulate themselves how they would like to be treated, or unable to be honest with themselves — is a giant step in the right direction. Do you have any other ideas on “how?”

  • Jen McKiernan

    Thank you for writing this article. I think we all need a reminder to think of others first sometimes. It is way too easy to get caught up in our own lives and do things that only benefit us. I agree that the strongest leaders are the ones that are respected by others and help others out as much as they can. A team of people that respect you is always way better to have than just yourself. Some of my most successful moments in life were only possible because I had support from friends and family.

  • Kait Harman

    I do not feel like it is just important for the business world to think of others first but in every career but business is a great example of how important it is to think of others before yourself. Most business people are looking for all the right things to fall into place for them but in order for them to do that they need to please customers. In teaching I will need to think of my students, parents and other facility for everything before myself. It does not matter how much grading I will have to do if it is making my students understand what they need to be taught. Is there any circumstance you can think of that we should think of ourselves first before other people?

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    That is a good point and I would have to agree with that. I would consider a weak link to be someone who doesn’t try takes everything for granted. Then when seeing them not trying just brings yourself down and makes you think well if there not doing it why should I. Or I could put it as they don’t have a care in world and just bring everybody else down with there problems. I would want to surround myself with people that want to be successful in life and keep pushing me towards my goals also, helping me alone during my struggles. This is would I would consider a weak link.

  • What were some of those examples, Jen? And how did you give of yourself so that they were happy to support you? Thank you for sharing.

  • It’s a ying-yang, Kait, but one clear example is oxygen masks on an airplane. If you need to use one, they “order” you to put yours on first so you can then help others, starting with the person sitting next to you. So it is in life: if you don’t have “oxygen” in your veins, if you don’t have the strength you need, how can you help others. As Hillel said 2000 years ago, “If I am not for myself, who will be? And if I am only for myself, what am I?” As a teacher, you need to be a good example in many ways, and in that sense, you need to take care of yourself, too. Thank you for your two comments and spread the word!

  • amandatwolf

    I love this article. Being considerate of others it the most important part of business – although it doesn’t always seem that way. In many ways, helping others is helping yourself. Not only is it simply just right thing to do, but being an involved business leader requires a consideration for the influence you are having on the world. It’s important to stay grounded to these values; as globalization is altering the course of business and culture, if all businesses were to look out for each other the system would eventually become self sustaining and self organizing. I see this as the ultimate trajectory of business. For true to success to occur, we must all look out for each other and focus outside of ourselves.

  • Fernanda Quezada

    Thank you for sharing so much. Exactly the worlds I needed to hear lately. It’s true one can get stuck in their own agenda. While I also believe there is a fine balance one must find for looking out for their own happiness and also listening to others needs; I also agree trying to understand others will bring you respect but also emit self confidence and that’s another quality people enjoy being surrounded by.

  • Thank you for sharing, Amanda. How do we get more people, more businesses, to do what you argue? What would help?

  • I think, Fernanda, that the “self-confidence” you mention is critical. How do you best develop this confidence, do you think?

  • mhansen11

    Yes i believe so!! All the fun is for sure in the process as well! You learn so much by getting to where you want to be in life. Practice your process so allow you to reach your goal.
    I think that a common goal for everyone is very important don’t get me wrong, but people need to realize the process is just as important to get you there. You can’t get anywhere when you have people wanting to do things differently when you wanna get something done. Work together and stay together for each other.

  • amykahl8

    I think another way of accomplishing this goes along with what you said about just putting in the effort. Often times people can tell when you are a good person and are doing your best to treat others with kindness. I really believe simply treating people with kindness and simply showing you care for them can go a long way!

  • Absolutely, as long as you can be comfortable not judging how they react or if they don’t “appreciate” you as you’d like. We can only love and respond as we are able, which may not be what pleases the gives. You know what I mean, Amy?

  • I love that, Leija – Vulnerability is fear, creativity and joy all mixed into one. Wonderful insight 🙂

  • What if, Caitlin, the way you think they need to be “stronger” is not the way they think they need to be “stronger”?

  • Yes, I struggle with it daily. I tend to be very focused on myself, on my expertise, abilities, needs, etc, and have a hard time getting out of myself and seeing things as others see it. That’s why I wrote the piece. We often write about what we need to know/learn the most! What about you, Ryan?

  • Your questions at the end, Trevor, are brilliant. That’s the tough stuff – when they don’t respond, act, reciprocate, etc. as you might expect. That is why to do this well, I believe you need to let go of expectations and do what you feel is necessary with no attachment to outcome or reciprocity. Certainly the team interdependence is so often critical in football. But it is different in baseball and maybe not as pressing. What do you think?

  • Leadership is not an act of control, but an act of liberation – helping others to bring out their best for themselves and the group. There are times, I believe, when a leader needs to unilaterally step up and force an issue, like some of our great civil and women rights leaders. They are often years ahead of the curve, very along, but eventually the team sees the path and has the tools and confidence (or pain!) to make the change and move there. So “not true” is often at the beginning of change – someone has to take that first step, alone. Do you agree?

  • Anthony Urbanski

    I often find my self worried with my own stuff and not caring about others problems. I need to reflect on this and make a change and this article has helped. The satisfaction you gain from helping other people cant not be measured, this is a feeling i need to experience more often. How can I obtain this goal?

  • Practice. Plan a little. Practice. Plan a little. Practice. It’s important to remember, Anthony, that if it is to be sustainable, all altruism is based on self-interest. So the thinking about others, as you decide how to implement that more specifically, must have a component of self-interest, I believe. This can be as simple as “it makes me feel good” to…. or “I answer your questions because I like feeling needed.” So it is important to also have a specific of how this helps you, too! Make sense?

  • MeierKM23

    Yes I would, and noticing it as I get older.

  • laurenkraft

    I agree with you Amanda, being considerate is such a huge part of being a business leader. I also love the saying you said, helping others is helping yourself. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  • Steven Bichler

    I do agree with you. No matter what you do from CEO to the janitor, you are setting a tone for who you work for and represent. But no matter what you do you should try to be exemplary at it, because that is how you improve in anything, and what I believe is one of the more important ways to”succeed” in what you do in life. So yes, I agree with you.

  • Alyssa Borgrud

    I agree with you Amanda. I think that we too often just think of ourselves and not enough about others. Especially when talking about the business aspect you need to involve others opinions as well as your own so that you have people to back you up in your business and buy your product.

  • Mcgrailkk30

    You bring up a great point and I do agree. At the beginning of change leaders are often acting alone. Many people may see them as crazy or be too afraid to agree with them. Like you said, until the teams sees the path or gains the confidence to go along, the leader is changing the future on their own.

  • justin bowers

    Thank you for this post. It really made me reflect on my own life in regards to how i respond to other people along my journey. I agree that you can’t truly be successfully without the help of other people. It’s important to include their thoughts, opinions and actions to create a wider realm of possibilities. It’s important to care for others as you care for yourself. Because without people, what do you have? Nothing. If you respect them, they will respect you. But, how can we justify worrying about ourselves? Are there circumstances where listening to your own intiution is okay and blocking out the opinions of others?

  • Jen McKiernan

    One example would be last year when I competed in nationals for gymnastics. I had really been struggling in practice the week before but my team had been really encouraging and they helped me believe in myself and then I ended up making my routine and we won nationals. It was an awesome experience but I know if my team wasn’t there supporting me I would have never been able to get through my routine. I think they were happy to support me because I support them when they are down. We know that we always have to be their for each other.

  • When “leaders” are leading something new for their organization, they also have to the first step–or first few steps alone. There is usually no constituency for change. So for awhile, you have to do it on your own. Quite often innovations occur in the same manner. For me, when I first started pushing Net Impact (www.netimpact.org) into existence (then called SRB), my Harvard Business School colleagues told me not to waste the time on an organization focused on social impact, just write a check. My social impact friends couldn’t understand why I would waste my time with MBAs (originally, we were focused on MBAs who wanted to make a difference) who they felt were “scumbags, interested only in money and power.” So for awhile, you have to simply listen to your own little voice. But today, 20+ years later, every one now takes credit for Net Impact, as the organization has grown and is very successful thanks to the work of tens of thousands of MBAs, students and professionals who have voluntarily built the organization. Do you agree re: leader causes change at times on his/her own?

  • Great example, Jen.

  • strakaJA01

    I definitely agree, Mark! Like you said, as you practice those actions and become more aware of your own actions, you are able to become more of an effective leader. If you know how you work as a person, you can be more intentional with your actions. Thank you!

  • Tyler Steinmetz

    I look forward to seeing your “father bird” story. I really look forward to every post that you have because they make me think about life and how I live it. In a good way? or a bad way? I believe that this attitude is in my genes now. I just need to emphasize it more so it sticks.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    That’s a tough question. It’s hard to say, because even though sometimes we may want to, we can’t alter other people’s beliefs and ways of thinking. People need to figure things out for themselves, even if it means experiencing something completely life changing. I think we can learn a lot by watching others, therefore creating our own unique way of becoming a stronger individual and leader.

  • DuCharmeDR11

    I believe that so many people need the affirmation, or extra push to be assured they have the power to make a difference. In addition to that, great leaders are able to successfully delegate, rather than take on too many tasks on their own. In doing so, their skills and qualities do become elevated. Combining skills of many, time, and open communication, so much can be accomplished, and efficiently at that.

  • Jennifer Lynn

    In reading this article this quote really stuck me as a powerful way to live life, “You need to help others reach their dreams if you want to reach yours.” I immediately asked myself, “I am living my life this way?” Yes, I would like to say I am but people might think otherwise about me. Maybe we should all ask ourselves this question and really evaluate who we are and what others truly mean to us. How do you respond to this quote? Do you believe that we always need to listen to others or can we look inside ourselves for the answers?

  • A bit of both, Jennifer. First, have a good sense of self so you can filter what you hear. But when you want to motivate others in ways that help you accomplish your dreams, you need to listen deeply to what motivates others you are counting on, to what they dream of. Don’t you think?

  • Amanda Laatsch ?

    This is a great article because most people thing the goal
    is to get to the top and it doesn’t matter who you step on, or how many bridges
    you burn to get there. What most people
    don’t realize is you do need others to create a successful business. You need
    others to help you, you cannot do it all on your own. No one would last if they
    tried to do it all on their own. And this goes not only for creating a
    business, but for anything in life. I know from experience that when I try to
    do something big in my life, like a big decision, when I try to do it all on my
    own, I can never end up doing it. I need my support system to help me, whether
    it’s just asking advice from my family or friends, or a teacher, or anyone that
    I respect, I need someone. For me I try to do it all on my own because I don’t
    want to inconvenience anyone else, I think that I can do things all on my own
    and don’t need to bother anyone else with my problems because I know everyone
    has their own problems, and I feel that they are probably of more importance
    than my own. My question is, what advice do you have for someone like me who
    needs a little help realizing that sometimes you need to ask for help?

  • While we all learn early that it is important to give, Amanda, we often don’t realize that it is equally important to learn how to receive. When we give, we are in control. But when we “let others help,” when we let them in, admitting our own needs, we give up control and may feel uncomfortable. Yet we all want to be needed, so when you do ask for help, in many ways, you are helping the other person too. So “asking for help” is a two-way street – it can be a sign of maturity, and of trust, don’t you think? Do you trust yourself, your own abilities, enough to be comfortable asking for help?

  • LaurenSE

    First, I really enjoyed this article, it is filled with great advice! Second, this a great response to Amanda’s post. I like the idea of “asking for help” being a two-way-street. Many people are too proud to ask for help, they see it as a sign of weakness. If they were to look at it though, as a mature and helpful gesture, they might be more willing. Like Amanda said, we all need help, we can’t do everything on our own, and when we reach out to someone, they will feel that sense of being needed. If someone does not trust themselves, what advice do you have for them to open up and allow someone to help them?

  • I think you understand part of what I said, Lauren, but not the control part. If you want to let other people “in”–you need to let go, and many people have trouble doing that. Ego, insecurities–many things. But people love to say “I’m a giver” not realizing that by not being a “receiver” they are taking that gift away from others. The best advice is how would you feel if no one else opened up and let you in, let you help. Think of someone you know, and think highly about, and use them as an example to help you open up and let others help. What is it they do you admire? What can you emulate in them? Does that help you, Lauren?

  • LaurenSE

    Thank you, Mark. This has helped, I think I have a better understanding now. It wasn’t hard for me to think of someone on both sides of the spectrum. I know someone that is a giver and is comfortable receiving, as well, but I know another person that loves to give, they go out of their way for people all the time, but will not receive. I think this person sees receiving as a sign of weakness and has troubles with it. I am very close to both of these individuals and have a lot of respect for them. I am thinking about these two to better understand this, and I think I am on the right track now. Thanks again, Mark!

  • Trevor Boyle

    I’m not really sure how that concept works in baseball i honestly feel like in baseball its such an individual sport , because they all have a position and are making plays that really single them out from the team.

  • Amanda Laatsch ?

    Mark, that is definitely a good point. I think my problem is not that I don’t want to be in control anymore, it is that I am not confident enough in myself to let others see what I am doing. I think I am scared that someone is going to say something badly about what I am doing. And if I am proud of what I have accomplished, I don’t want to be put down. But I shouldn’t see it as being put down, I should see it as being helped.

  • Yes, you are right – it’s help, and other people are responding in ways that reflects their issues, not yours. Remember that everyone has an opinion, and take it as such – just one person’s opinions.

  • Jessica Mendoza

    If someone isn’t appreciative, I always just try to remember that I am doing the right thing. If I am trying to help, and they don’t appreciate it, their is nothing I can do.

  • Well-said. You can control your reaction, not theirs. And you do your thing, without worrying about, if you will “their thing.” Very cool….

  • Jessica Mendoza

    So happy that you agree! I completely agree with you as well that you are only as strong as your weakest link!

  • Jessica Mendoza

    Thank you! Your feed back truly means a lot! It is so nice to know that you are truly reading our comments, and I thank you so much for taking the time to respond. That’s very cool!

  • It really is hard to detach yourself from results, but what you said is a wonderful philosophy of life in general, Jessica. If we can focus on what we can control, on doing and enjoying the work, the rest is… whatever it is, sometimes, a pleasant surprise, too!

  • Jessica Mendoza

    You are so right! Thank you so much for your time and responding to me. It really means a lot that you are actually reading my comments.

  • Amanda Laatsch ?

    Thanks for the advice! I think that is something that I defnitely have to learn to remember when I start interacting with people more. I will definitely work on that!

  • We are the questioning species, not the answer (wo)man 🙂

  • Caitlin Snyder

    That quote by Marianna Williamson is my absolutely favorite quote! There are so many key points in the entire thing. I agree, everything boils down to confidence and how you carry yourself.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    That’s a good question. Sometimes I think its easy for us to think that our way of thinking is the right way of thinking. I don’t really know the answer to that question, honestly. Opinions are opinions I guess, and maybe if I have enough background knowledge in my job field one day people will agree with me.

  • Tammy Hartmann

    Mark, thank you for this post. I love the quotes you use from others; keep them coming!
    “Do you understand others before trying to have them understand?” I agree. Whole systems leadership is rooted in diversity of perspectives, which means welcoming voices and respecting voices. Out of curiosity, have you ever been surprised to learn from different perspectives you hadn’t considered in the past? Did it help you see differently and become more productive as a leader?

  • Yes, that “ode” is incredible – hey, Nelson Mandela figured that out, Caitlin, and he was a pretty smart guy 😉 The question remains, however, after reading it, how do you change? After all, no change, no change.

  • But the more you learn about them, the more you ask them, the more you don’t have to come up with what will make them stronger. With good lead questions from you, they’ll figure it out, Caitlin. That is the point I was trying to make, one we all need to know and use in business. There our customers figure out what our product is or should be. We make something and it’s simply a museum piece until someone buys it. The commercialization depends on the customer telling us what s/he needs to be ‘stronger,’ for example. Do you see what I’m saying (whether you agree or not?

  • Absolutely. When I’ve been asked what I learned from my 2 years as an MBA, I’ve always given the same reply: “When I have a big decision to make, I call 10-15 of my brightest friends and ask them what they would do. Perspective, after all, is worth 100 IQ points.” Perspective helps you reframe problems, helps you not miss something big, and helps you understand how something may have angles to it you never imagined. Perspective is KING:)

  • Marian326

    Perspective is everything, I believe. Thank you again for an article that has hit home for me in another area of my life. If you keep writing and I keep responding, you will know me well. Your question, “do you understand others before trying to have them understand?” hit a nerve for me. I oversee a group of 7 young adults that have dedicated a large amount of time to participate in a musical group. This group will tour for four+ weeks this summer as a ministry of our denomination. Much of the overseeing involves details and facilitation. In my busyness I tend to hand out edicts before gathering information and understanding. Now, I have proposed questions to foster discussion, and then proceeded with making the final decision, but I need to understand them first.
    In my leadership roles I have learned the hard way to not take offense when my decisions are questioned. I am learning and growing everyday from working with this amazing group.

  • KevinThomson32

    Who really cares if other think this way of you though? If you truly believe that you help other reach their dreams, I believe they will recognize that in you.

  • In my little company of 2, Marian, we are expanding to what will be 8 in a week. While we may lose one or two, it is still a rapid increase. My entire focus through 2014 is making sure they have what they need and work well together. All I can do is set down an overall path and goal, and all the rest depends on them. This process of working through other people, or putting their needs first, is not natural to an entrepreneur like myself. But it is necessary if we want to succeed. Love to hear more about your group and what you are learning. And, after all, leadership is an act of liberation, driven by questioning and curiosity.

  • turbo_frey

    I definitely agree Mark. I think oftentimes people are confused when they don’t get the recognition they want from doing something nice for another person. However, it’s not what was done, but how it was done like you said. We need to learn how to do things for others in ways they would like them done rather than how we want them done. When we do things for others the way we want to, it is actually more for ourselves than for them. This takes times and experience, as well as getting to know the needs and interests of others rather than just your own.

  • So how do you have communication you find satisfying when other people have other ways of communicating, or don’t communicate at all?

  • You are doing a wonderful job of restating the main point of the blog in terms of your own experience. And yes, it takes time, experience and Empathy to think like ‘the other’. What is the best way to learn how to do that?

  • Agreed, and the main point of this blog post, well-stated through the lens of your experience.

  • We control what we do, not the outcome. It is in the doing, not the result.

  • My maternal grandparents were also a treasure for me. Helped raise me, knew them until they passed, when I was 28 and 34 years old. Honor and appreciate what you have, and don’t spend so much time stressing about what you don’t have.

  • Yes, we can control what we do, but not the outcome. So put the outcome in G-d’s hands, or whatever works for you, but it is not in yours. Your goal is in the giving, the process, not the result. And in any case, responses are rarely as you like. They may be even greater, in their own time, and own way.

  • Whose agenda drives your life? Your agenda or the agenda your parents, particularly your father, have for you? Whichever your response, what impact does that have on you and your relationships? Would you change anything?

  • vitalecm03

    This is another really great article! I always try to think of others before myself and not be selfish but I know Im not perfect. The feeling of giving to others who are in need is the most rewarding feeling ever. I know some people who always only think of themselves and it just disgusts me because they think their life is so bad when in reality it’s not and could be much worse. I love giving back to people and I try to do it as much as I can.

  • Ryan R

    I am pretty much the same way as you. I tell myself that it’ll change as I mature, but I know I have to put forth the effort to change my habits. The fact that I may end up being a teacher requires me to change my habits pretty fast as well. I have to be able to relay knowledge to people in many different ways if I’m going to teach.

  • Matthew Gust

    I would agree with you. I have trouble sometimes accepting things and gifts. I like to help others out. I feel like intention plays a big role. Some people do things for others just to see if they will reciprocate the act. I was always try to be a selfless as possible.

  • Kevin’s point is well-taken. Is it something in them, possibly, rather than what you did or how you did it, Jennifer?

  • And remember the old Greek saying, Matthew: you throw money out the window and more will come back through the door. I may do a favor for X who tells Y who helps Z who helps me. It’s about karma, and mostly, being who you want to be, regardless of how others act or how/if they reciprocate. Keep your expectations low on ‘reciprocation’ and you’ll often be pleasantly surprised.

  • Teach them how to be passionate about learning and how to learn best given the way they work and you’ll be tremendously successful! Light the fire of enthusiasm under your students, Ryan 🙂

  • Are you good at receiving, too, allowing someone else to have the rewarding feeling of giving?

  • Max Rude

    I would like to say I drive my life, but I truthfully think now after reading this it is other people in my life. My father was a carpenter and he always drove me not to become one he preached to me that I should try to find a job that won’t kill my body. Looking back I cant say i wouldn’t want to go to school ,but i think It would have been much more difficult for me to go. In the end I would still not change

  • Branden Unger

    This is a great article! I agree that people can get caught up in the stuff we have to do day to day and we can forget about the needs of others and how we affect others as well. I really liked the quotes used here, they are powerful and they really drive the points home. Thanks for the post!

  • Thank you, Branden. Which quote (or quotes) resonated with you most, and if you don’t mind, why?

  • Don’t you think your Dad wants what’s best for you, Max? The other question which you hint at is more complex, what is best for your Dad?

  • wdjaz313

    I totally agree with this article. Life is always give and take. Some people are really demanding and always want everything to work in their way. But those kinds of people need to know that maybe that works sometime but when they do that, they are making enemies which will not help them in the long run. What goes around comes around. If you are not willing to help anyone, you will not get their help either, which can be applied to your relationships with co-workers, friends, girldfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, business, and almost everything,

  • Karma – goes around, etc. You’re right. Life is a team sport. We need people to bring us into and help us out of this world. We need them — and hopefully they need us 🙂 — in between, too!

  • surffox

    So, by timing of the article date, I am late to this discussion but I am thankful to have found it. I have a very high level of empathy, always have, and I know it was partly shaped from my father. My dad was always encouraging or helpful to others, always a member of a service club, and before I was born, my dad had been in the army and an eagle scout. Chapman would say his love language was acts of service and that was a large influence on me and my brother. I struggle sometimes and have been described as timid because I do want to understand othersiviews in an effort to find the best situation. Yes, there are things I would change. I would tell myself to be more outspoken and that I do not have to always surrender my want in supporting others, but I am learning now.

  • Learning is life, life is learning. Sounds like you’ve begun by following not the bright light but the right light. May your journey continue as well as it’s started.

  • lpierce34

    Very late to this discussion as well but I would like to add. I believe that I am currently transiting between who’s agenda is running my life. I think my parents agenda ran my life when I lived at home with them, I had input but I wouldn’t really know where to go with life if it wasn’t for them. It is equal though, not just my father. I think my mom and dad both have lead me to where I am today. Now, as I am a college student I think I am beginning to drive my own life via my own agenda and am weaning off of others agendas.

  • There is only one agenda, yours, but I understand what you are saying. It is a process we all go through as we mature and we, as parents, want to see that too. As Basho said, “Do not follow in the footsteps of the men of old. Follow what they follow.” That is, hopefully you will continue to follow in your own way your parents’ values, not necessarily their agenda.

  • ryanhaberer

    I know I am very guilty of being so concerned of my own agenda and not listening to others and It has created a lot of issues in my life over the past few years. I got so caught up in my own stuff that I forgot to listen to the needs of others and it really came back to bite me in the butt. However; I have also been in the same boat where some one else got so caught up in their own life that they forgot to listen to me and I realized how painful it was. Some times we can fix that and turn around the situation for the better, but at other times it can be to late. Never forget to stop and listen and learn to fulfill the needs of others. It can only make your life easier as you learn what makes people happier and in return more successful and productive. I have made a lot of changes to my previous old habits and am continually trying to make positive steps forward to ensure it never happens again.

  • Bangyan Zhang

    About the sentence “Success is not about you, it requires others”. Success is a relative condition. The successful reason in business should not all about you. But in life, I feel it is hard to define what kinds of conditions could be considering success. Focus on our needs and still focus on the other people needs. We may learn making a balance between those two conditions. Do not miss yourself.

  • yencheskcj27

    I love this article as well as the paraphrase of Jack Welch which said managers are taught how to have all the solutions to all the questions but leadership is about equipping others so that they will raise their hands to answer the questions and solve the problems. It is often more about asking questions which help lead others to the answer than to simply state the answer. Leaders should be equipping those they are in charge of to grow as workers and as people. We must remember that if we simply focus on ourselves, we will not be successful in our endeavors, but when we work together and help each other, we create the synergy that allows us to achieve more than if we were to work as individuals.

  • Hannah Leggett-Hintz

    I truly feel so many different articles written on this website would be so benefited if read by the whole congregation/world. This article is no exception. So many people need to read these simple and touching words. It’s so important to care for others around us. Most people don’t realize the impact they have on the lives of those around them. Even the smallest things-saying hi, giving a compliment, opening a door, can have SUCH a drastic impact to so many people. I know personally on my college campus, it’s such an awesome feeling when I guy I don’t even know will stand back and hold the door open for me to walk through first. Probably one of the most simple things I man could do, and yet it means more to someone like me than those guys probably even understand. Consideration for others is something that will never lack importance.

  • Good for you, Ryan. Always trying to do a little better each day, none of us are perfect and sometimes are own needs are pretty paramount.

  • It is an ‘AND’ not an ‘OR’, right Bangyan. Remember: altruism is not sustainable unless it is based on self-interest.

  • Yes, to achieve more, we need others. Can do a lot more with 1% of 100 people’s work than 100% of one persons.

  • I love that Police song (early Sting) “Every breath you take” because it is, as you say Hannah, these hundreds of small opportunities for niceties, to make someone else feel a little better, that truly makes us happy and hopeful. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Trista Radloff

    I completely agree with you Hannah. Everyone would benefit from this article! When we are trying to become successive our main focus is us. What benefits us, who benefits us, and how can they benefit us? This article reminds us that the world isn’t always about us. We are social beings and we help each other out. To become successive, help others and then help yourself.

  • The Ying and Yang of “If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Thank you, Trista.

  • CoachDavis24

    Thank you for this blog. My father has always played a passive, yet supportive role in my life. He has never pushed or forced me into doing anything. He has kicked me in my you know what (metaphorically speaking) to get me motivated to something after I have commited to something. This way of raising me has allowed me to make the wrong choices early in my life and learn from them. I believe it has made me a strong and independent man. I would not change it for anything.

  • You are a lucky man. I hope you will be that kind of father too, don’t you?

  • mankobj22

    Thank you for this question! I have to admit that the first few years of my college career were heavily influenced by my parents’ agenda as I tried to fulfill their wishes. I struggled emotionally as I tried to continue in a field that I didn’t truly enjoy and I struggled academically because I wasn’t as invested as I should have been. However, I recently have made changes that allow me to follow my own agenda more closely. Luckily this was not straining on my relationship with them and both sides (wishes and expectations) were respected and understood. Perhaps the only thing I might have changed would be to follow my own agenda sooner, but I would not have the experiences that I do now, had that happened. So in the end, I am thankful for the path that I have taken.

  • All part of growing up. First doing what your parents say, then following in their footsteps, then honoring their values in your own way as you take ‘flight’ into your own life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alex Prailes

    I definitely think we are all guilty of getting caught up in our own life that we forget about the needs of others. My first year of college I was very guilty of this. Eventually my family kind of put it into perspective for me, which really opened my eyes and allowed me to prioritize things in my life. I never realized how much I can impact other people as well.

  • Freshman year is always an experiment and as a parent, I too had to watch my kids go through ‘interesting’ first years. Thank you for sharing, Alex, specifically, what did you mean by ‘realizing how much I can impact other people?’

  • Alex Prailes

    I think I impacted my family a lot because when I stress, they also stress. I always say my family goes through what I go through, because we are each others biggest support group. So I think realizing that I was getting caught up in my own life and not supporting my sisters like they needed me to, I realized that the decisions I make myself are also impacting others, like my sisters.

  • Mature. We often neglect our effect on others, Good stuff 🙂

  • knapprl17

    I have been an athlete for almost my whole life. Through sports I have seen that it is important to put others and the team before yourself, if you want to be successful. Being involved in team sports has also helped me see the importance of getting to know the other people who you work with. The more successful teams I have been apart of have been really close, the teammates and the coaches. Everyone on those teams has known each other personally and has been able to communicate effectively. I believe that those experiences have helped me see the need to put the needs of others before mine in many situations.

  • While there are many types of team sports (e.g., playing on a baseball team is different from being on a wrestling team or football team – those were my 3 sports in high school, two of them in college), that is one big reason that many of us feel that playing at least one team sport is important. That said, like altruism, to be sustainable, it must be based on self-interest too. So the ying-yang of the need for others to help the self excel is always there. Remember: life is a team sport.

  • sauerm29

    I love the example of Barbara Krumsiek and how she prefers to have nothing on her desk, so that she can help others with their work load. Being a leader shouldn’t necessarily be about taking the largest or most important work load. It should be about inspiring and motivating your team to better equip them to handle their own workload. It should be about finding the unexpressed needs of your team (Barbara) or your people (Alexander the Great). Because that is the area in which individuals truly need help, and where a good leader can have the greatest impact.

  • earose14

    I think everyone has realized at a time in their life that we all get caught up worrying about ourselves over others. As a family you always know that your parents want whats best for you and never really worry about themselves but their kids. Getting caught up in your own life way to much can allow you to push people away and things never really end well. Changing the way you live life and the way you approach things will help you to engage more with others. Working well with others is much better then beind alone. Your parents have always been your biggest supporters. As it said above that you need to help others reach their dreams if you want to reach yours. Its a very good quote to live by. Why is it though that in one of my most stressful times of our lives is when we push people away? Thanks for sharing!

  • ReneeKirch19

    I really enjoyed this article, thank you for sharing. I think that it is too often that people forget to focus on others around them. As human beings, it is only normal to be caught up in ourselves, but there comes a point where being caught up in ourselves gets overwhelming, and we soon may realize that it is too much work. Personally, I think that constantly worrying about myself is more work than worrying about others. Was there ever a time you felt like you didn’t have time to worry about the needs of others? I ask that because I think a lot of people say that they can’t worry about the needs of others because they don’t have the time, but I believe that is often a common excuse.

  • Glad you enjoyed. Barbara is a wonderful executive and a great supporter of young women in business. Thank you for all your comments.

  • I often feel like I have so much on my plate, how can I have the time and energy to think about what other people are dealing with? Just as you said. So why don’t we/I get over that and think more about others? Training? Culture? Don’t have an easy answer – part of a lifetime of 40 years of work….

  • Great question, why is that — that we push others away when most in need? Are we simply ashamed of our situation, embarrassed to share? Or something else? What do you think?

  • Shaquille Boswell-Downey

    My agenda drives my life. everyday i make an agenda listing everything that needs to be accomplish but he end of that day and about 75% of the time i complete 100% of all the tasks. I also make a 5 year plan every 5 years so that i know im keeping my life on a track that i want it to be and i be sure to include everything that’s important to me so i keep it in my life.

  • Travis Mattice

    For me I think I have the best of both worlds. I for the most part I have my own agenda. Does it follow expectations that my parents might have for me, sure but that’s just the way I was raised. My parents are happy as long as I am and as long as I am not breaking the law or hurting people in the process. As far as would I change anything? No I don’t think that I would. I am happy with where things are in my life and I would like to think my parents are happy and proud of the person I am and have become.

  • Very good, Shaquille. Bravo for you! Just may I say, leave a little room for serendipity in your life, as most big things come that way, not through planning. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. My Mom (and I to some extent) is a big list person. Know that when you die, your inbox will still be full. It’s a device, these lists, not an end goal.

  • Good for your, Travis. How do your parents keep parenting in ways that make you happy?

  • Ananda Conlon

    I am the exact same way. On Sundays, I lay out things that I want to accomplish each day. Every night, I write a list of what the following day should accomplish. I am not too ridged to the point where I do not feel that I cannot deviate from my original plan, but they are more along the lines of goals. I definitely see the value in planning and making lists. Without lists, I would forget what I am supposed to do each day.

  • Ananda Conlon

    I like the idea of having nothing on your desk. That way, you can visually focus on the task on hand. When that project is on your desk, you only focus on that. It is easier to switch from task to task and get less confused. I really like that idea. The stress of other projects do not overcome your mind.

  • Schudakp21

    I feel like I drive my own agenda with a little bit of influence from the people closest to me. I want to enjoy my life so i always try to find what I would like to do the most as long as it doesn’t have a negative impact on someone else’s life. I feel that since the people closest to me impact me and want the best for me, that means I get driven by their agenda as well. I try to be the best I can be so I make the people counting on me proud. I feel like i would not change my agenda because I feel like I got a good balance between what I want and what others want for me.

  • Taylor

    I think my own agenda drives my life. I chose to go into teaching when I started school, if I had been following my father’s agenda for me I would be studying business right now and probably not liking it. When I chose my path my father (with some resistance) changed his agenda for me and it just so happened that he changed his agenda to match what mine was for my future. I wish my father was supportive of my agenda from the beginning but I am glad that he has come around.

  • Taylor

    I like Ananda also like the idea of having nothing on my desk. I would love being able to help others out and when something does come across my desk to be able to focus on just that instead of having so much stuff I cannot focus enough on one thing because everything is so cluttered.

  • Travis Mattice

    Well I feel that they raised me with good morals and always taught me to do the right thing. Doing the right thing makes me happy. They give me many opportunities to succeed which I am extremely grateful for. The give me advice without pushing me to do one thing over another. Hard to beat that.

  • Absolutely a handbook for good parenting, Travis. Thanks for sharing.

  • How do you know that you have that ‘good balance’ or when it may be out of balance?

  • What made him come around, Taylor? Many students aren’t as lucky, with years of angst if they go this different route. Is it something you did, your Mom’s influence on your dad, or on his own (or something else)?

  • Schudakp21

    I feel like when I am having a good balance of my agenda between me and the people closest to me. And how I know I’m having a good balance is when I’m happiest. When I am happy that means I am doing what I prefer and also I am making those closest me proud. When it is out of balance, I feel as if I am unhappy with a particular aspect in my life. I either am following someone else’s path that I do not like and only doing it because that’s what they want or I am doing what I want and being selfish about it so I feel bad about it. That is how I know about my balance.

  • Schudakp21

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. Whenever I am happiest is when my agenda is balanced. If I am happy I know that I am doing what I want and I know I am making the people closest to me proud as well. I know that when I am unhappy my agenda is unbalance. I know this because if I am unhappy that means I am trying to live for someone else which I do not like and makes me unhappy. Or I am being selfish and making the people around me unhappy which would make me unhappy. So that is how I know if I am balanced or not.

  • Taylor

    I think he saw that I was happy and that is ultimately what he wants for me. I also think that my Mom may have had an influence on him although I do not know that for sure. My Mom has always supported me in everything so that is why I think she may have had an impact on his change.

  • d_millyy

    Thank you for your comment and I think people tend to worry about the needs of others when it comes to family. I think we feel obligated and that we need to do the things our family wants out to to make them happy. I know you say you think people spend most time worrying about themselves but can you find a way to justify why it might be important to focus on your needs?

  • Good for you! That balancing act seems hard to do, but it seems you are good at it — at least, better than me!

  • Glad you have a happiness ‘compass’, so to speak. Hard for most people to develop it.

  • Working behind the scenes? You never know. Thanks, Taylor!

  • Abbey Stibbs

    Thank you for the post! Right this very moment, I would have to say that my own agenda drives my life. I know it should not be an excuse, but with me nearing the end of my college career, I have not been focusing on a lot of other people. It sounds selfish, and I am usually not like that at all, I have just been so busy with graduating and finding an internship and keeping my grades high. I feel like once some of these things clear up I can go back to my old caring self. I normally put other people before me, but recently that has not been the case. I feel like since I have been caring primarily for myself lately, my relationships with others have dwindled. Although I have all of these things going on in my life, I still think it is important to consider others as well. I hope within the next couple of weeks that I will be able to return to my old self.

  • Austin Dorman

    I, at times, can be a very cluttered person. When I have multiple math assignments due at the same time and I have them all sitting in front of me, it seems like a very daunting task. I don’t even know where to start. But if I just take the time and focus on one at a time and power through one at a time, I manage to get it all done. My most productive times tend to be after I just finished cleaning my room or when my desk has just been cleaned.

  • Thanks for all your posts, Abbey. Tell me how it goes: if and when you ‘return’.

  • Slepicka12

    Thanks for another great post. I feel like I fallow my own agenda but at the same time i fallow what my parents have in line for me. I feel like this doesn’t have an effect on our relationship.

  • Slepicka12

    I liked your comment. I do think that some people focus on others needs before their own. I also think that doing what our families want us todo is also a good idea, in my eyes family is very important.

  • hirthjp18

    I use to be a person who agenda primarily was based off a couple people. I tried too hard to follow their agenda to see them happy. By doing this i realized I lost sight of my own agenda. This definitely started to affect me and I knew i had to change that. I stated to put my agenda first while balancing everything else. I realized you have to take care of yourself before you can take on other peoples agendas.

  • How do you manage to follow both if they differ on direction? How do you decide which to follow? Thank you for all your comments and sharing.

  • I agree, but why do you have to take care of yourself first? And if you do, how do you not simply become narcissistic? How do you ‘switch over’ to a focus on the needs of others and how you can help them?

  • Slepicka12

    I fallow my own path for the most part. But when it comes to my parents they have always led me in right directions growing up. When I was younger I want really allowed to go to parties with drugs and alcohol because my parents thought I was ready to be exposed to that kind of behavior until I got to college.

  • Hope it continues that you and your parents always remain in alignment – certainly a lot more harmonious and enjoyable for all!

  • shackletka05

    Thank you for sharing! I truly believe in putting other people before yourselves. I have done gymnastics throughout my entire life and I apply this message toward being a part of a team. The more everyone stands behind one another or goes out of their way to build someone up because of a rough day the stronger we become as a whole. I can notice the difference in the days that are spent encouraging others, are also the days I feel most encouraged in my own practice. We feed off helping one another and that’s what creates a successful team.

  • Matthew Manley-Browne

    I agree with your comment. I feel this relates to multitasking because although many people attempt to do multiple things at once, you can’t give something your best attention when you’re distracted by something else.

  • Luke Drumel

    What a great post and one I can relate to! Like you said you were part of gymnastics, I was part of football in high school and college. Having been apart of that I can truly say I know what it feels like to put others before myself and sacrifice blood sweat and tears for the guy next to you. I believe that’s why my teams were so great, is because we feed off each other where nothing could break our bond that we had.

  • It’s why team sports are so important to our maturing as social animals, which humans are. Life is a team sport. Great lessons for you both, Luke. Thanks for your comment.

  • Great lesson to learn, as I replied to Luke. Interesting though that different team sports bring out different behaviors is the ‘team’ aspect of one (say gymnastics) is different than another (say football). In football, I run and you don’t block for me, I lose too. In gymnastics, if your teammate does poorly, your team may lose the meet, but you can still do well individually. Different ways we depend on each other. But depend we do.

  • Lindsay Jakubik

    I think that if people started caring more about others, it would have a domino effect and cause other people to pick up the trait as well. People stop caring because others don’t care either….

  • We can only control our actions, not those of others, don’t you think, Lindsay? Otherwise, just an excuse.

  • Marcy Glad

    In our very individualistic culture, sometimes it is hard to reconcile the fact that the immediate results were not all due to the greatness or lacking of the focal person. Others surrounding us are almost always a major and often pivotal part of the journey. A balance must be created between acknowledging that while we each have no choice but to be responsible for the outcome of our own lives, we also have the opportunity and obligation to better the lives of those we are privileged enough to be close to. For myself, as I have had the opportunity to some help to those in my own circle , it has become very clear to me that my own life would be unimaginable without the positive emotional participation I have had from others who cared for me, either personally or professionally.

  • Kendra Larson

    Your article brought forth a powerful message. I feel that a lot of people fail to see the needs of other people and just simply focus on themselves. We live in a world where every one is competing against each other and people are simply making decisions to better benefit themselves, instead of others. If we start to help others succeed instead of just focusing on our own success all the time, I think that there would be stronger connections thoughout the world. People would connect in ways that would make them both successful as one, and the world would benefit from that.

  • Absolutely, Marcy. We need others to help us come into this world, and to leave, so we also need others while we are living our life. We are a social animals, angels with one wing, only able to fly when we embrace each other….

  • What is one practice, Kendra, that you believe can help us do this? It’s often so hard to get out of our own heads and think about others.

  • Persophine Reid Tiapula

    I really enjoyed this article! do unto others as you would want them to do unto you; I truly believe if people started caring more instead of competing more then we’d be able to help a lot of people succeed in life. always be good to others and make sure you let them know you hear what they are saying because you never know when you might miss something important because you didn’t want to listen to what someone else had to say..

  • How do we help people care more, be more empathetic, Persophine?

  • Kendra Larson

    I have been feeling the exact same way. When I make a decision, I do not always think about the other people that it would affect in my life. Instead I think about how I would benefit from it. I am not proud of the way that I think sometimes, and I want to be better about it. I know that when I do think more about others and put them first, I feel a lot better about myself. I think sometimes we need to take the time to think about others. When we do this we will not only feel better about ourselves, but our relationships will be stronger as well.

  • Julia

    I’ll be honest. I usually focus on my needs before anyone else’s. I hate to say that, but it’s true. I actually had a moment today when I was like “wow, my dad does so much for me and what have I done for him recently?” Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve done anything for him recently. My dad traveled an hour away to drop off an iPad and to take care of my cat. Who drives an hour just to do that? My dad did today. I’m so grateful to have him in my life. I’ll say my agenda drives my life, but I definitely want to take time out of my agenda to do something for my dad since he has done numerous favors for him. I think we should do this for all people, not just family. We should think about the little things people do for us and try to return the favor.

  • What are you going to do for your Dad, Julia? And is it a one-time thing, or something more ongoing? Why?

  • Kaylie Mae Kuhnke

    the funny thing is i think that most of the time i am focusing on others needs before mine but then i realize that my desire is to help others and focus on them makes me feel better about myself. doing things for others is like doing things for myself. i enjoy helping others. in a way i feel selfish because i ask myself if i didnt help others to make myself feel better would i help them at all? most of the time i put my stuff i have to do aside for helping my friends with what they have going on but in the end i get something out of it because they are thankful for my help and that is what i enjoy the most.

  • Bless you, Kaylie. Your comment: “doing things for others is like doing things for myself” – what do you mean by that?

  • Will Ettl

    In todays society people say you always need to put forward the needs of others before the needs of yourself. Well yes this may be true but at the same time yourself can be just as important as others. That may sound selfish and arrogant to some but in reality it is true. If all anyone does is help out others by the time they have any time for themselves than they will be exhausted and not be able to do anything. My point being that you have to find a happy medium and balance both out equally if you want to survive at all.

  • Desiree

    i feel like i focus more on others peoples needs before mine im always there for everyone if they need me because i like helping people and being there for others. i think its also important to put your own needs first sometimes too and figure out ways to make yourself live a happy life

  • Thank you for all your comments, Will, and please don’t mind me ‘pushing’ you a bit further — up to you whether you wish to respond, in any case. Why does helping someone else out ‘exhaust’ you. Couldn’t you help in a way that actually gives you more, rather than less, energy?

  • How can you put the needs of others first, and also put your needs first? It is a wonderful dilemma, Desiree!

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  • Neil McDaniel

    After years as an advertising professional I’ve headed out on my own to shift the momentum in my industry. I believe we can enrich our own life experience by working to enhance that of others. I see a future where brands measure success with accounts of positive impact, spreadsheets and statements are residual. When the needs of the end user are put first, brands then work to satisfy that need, everyone benefits. From my take this post supports my vision and I’m thankful to have come across it in my research.

  • Tchassanty Ouro-Gbeleou

    Focus on the
    needs of others.

    This might seem
    a difficult thing to do until you start applying it to your day-to-day life. The
    reward, though not of the material realm, greatly influences your material
    achievement. It is very clear that when one focuses solely on their own needs,
    they ignore other peoples’ needs and do whatever they can to satisfy their ego
    even if their actions hurt others. When you focus on serving others, this very
    act of service helps build your own success.

  • Jamie Valentine

    What a great article. I really enjoyed the line, “leadership, that building an organization, is all about knowing how to help others raise their hands and answer questions.” A true leader does not do all the work themselves, rather they facilitate others in realize their own potential so you can all work together for the same mission or goal.

    As I want to work with inmates, this thought is essential. I can not be there for the rest of a person’s life, but I can help them realize how to think, act and find their own vioce.

  • Couldn’t agree more. The best leaders show genuine care and respect for others, which makes them want to follow that leader.

  • Would be nice, Neil, wouldn’t it, to have more of a community measure of success, similarly with brands in terms of measuring how they actually improve others’ lives.

  • The work is liberating others to do their best work, for themselves and the organization. Thank you, Jamie!

  • Jess Heman

    Working in social services, the needs of others definitely come first for me. As a leader within an organization though, I struggle to replicate what Barbara Krumsiek has achieved. I often feel that if I am not in the trenches working side by side with workers, then how would they respect me and feel like I am supportive to them? As a worker I have often had little respect for managers who talk a lot but I don’t see in action. On the other hand, I have realized that sometimes in order to have a greater impact you need to lift your head up and see the bigger picture; and more importantly you need to allocate time and resources to doing this big picture work. But then how do you not lose empathy and your connection to real people by not working side by side. In reality I find this very difficult to navigate.

  • There’s always time to ‘be in action’, you just can’t do it all the time. For example, when I worked in the CEO’s office at Kinko’s, every senior executive, every partner, spent at least 1 full day a month working at the front desk in a store. Couldn’t do it 5 days a week, but could at least do it regularly and some level. Only you can assess where time is most well spent, Jess.

  • shazi

    I’m learning to communicate the simple honest truth in my life, and more often than sometimes there are awkward moments. I’m learning the balance of self care and care for others. Neglecting personal needs in favor of serving the needs of others in an unbalanced way has left me depleted and ultimately, resulted in a diminished capacity for serving others.

  • How might you serve other’s needs in ways that re-energizes you?

  • Jerry

    A couple of great quotes here. From Aristotle to Alexander the Great regarding tolerance for, and learning from, the conquered: “They will be grateful, and you will gain the only true immortality: of life that has added to life.”

    Also from Barbara Krumsiek, regarding the types of interactions she aims to have with her employees:
    “What’s important is that everyone feels they were heard and that I
    communicate my desires and decisions to them in a way that most
    effectively allows them to hear what I’m saying.”

    I think that both of these quotes aim at the idea of remembering that there are human elements in interaction and we must honor the humans as they deserve to be. Not in telling them that they are right, but in being open to listen and available to change because we value what another human has shared. This leads to more success. I think these are great points about leadership and worth noting down for future reference.

  • Thank you, Jerry. These were two of my ways of talking about the importance of empathy in becoming a successful leader/human being.

  • Katherine Noble-Goodman

    This is a truly useful article. It draws upon the history of great minds (Aristotle), the history of great leaders (Alexander the Great), and the history of wise modern managers (Barbara Krusiek), drawing them all together under the coherent and compelling theme of empathy, our version of perhaps the worlds most memorable and relevant interpersonal maxim: The Golden Rule.

    The writing here is lucid and direct (as one would expect from a celebrated writer like Mark Albion), the quotes illustrative, and the theme universal. The very best reflections on success (however we define it) invoke timeless wisdom, human reality, and a call to action. All else is faddish and transitory. By describing how one of humanity’s greatest thinkers influenced one of humanity’s greatest leaders, and how those lessons apply to our modern condition, Albion has given us a blueprint for effective management. There is a reason that Aristotle and Shakespeare and Dickens and the Old and New Testaments have endured—because they insistently consider and relentlessly interrogate the human condition, which does not change across time or distance or culture.

    This essential—or to be more precise, quintessential—quality, can and does inform a reflection on management and leadership and the organizational milieu that will not evaporate or change or subject itself to the shifting winds of technology or ergonomics or cubicles or telecommuting or any of the other modern trappings of human commerce. And it refuses to do so precisely because it resides in human desires, fears, and interpersonal truths that do not change with Silicon Valley or the rise of China or even the advent of capitalism (my apologies to Adam Smith), and locates itself in the center of the human condition that has obtained since the first entrepreneur took the potentially lethal risk of approaching a neighboring tribe with excess animal hides that he might trade for spiritually significant shells to adorn the headdress of his
    tribe’s leader.

  • Maria Alvarez

    This article is something I would like read at least once a week to reinforce the concepts outlined here. I believe this piece testifies a bit to the argument of leaders as an inmate trait or a learned ability. Although as with every concept nothing is ether or and many factors come into play the quote “teach my son to be a lead” resonated with me. The article speaks on proactive measures one which can be taken to foment these qualities essentially by focusing not on ourselves but on others.

  • Thank you, Maria. If you had something to add to this article, what lesson/story/factoid would that be?

  • I am honored by your comments, Katherine. Thank you. By the way, if you read Adam Smith’s, Theory of Moral Sentiments, you will find a like-minded thinker, somewhat different than the one we’ve portrayed based on our reading of The Wealth of Nations. A question: If you were to “update” the Golden Rule for today, say given the Barbara Krumsiek story), what would that update be?

  • Ryan Chin

    I really enjoyed this post. I can honestly say that I agreed with every point made. Most people do not know the power of helping others nor do they understand the purpose it truly has to offer. Unfortunately, the
    materialistic attitude of the western society has drawn people extremely far from this simple yet powerful trait. Everyone is worried about getting the new iPhone, which brings happiness for a few days than a few months later they want the new model; same with an automobile or any other materialistic object that we have been conditioned to want, need, and love. These same materialistic objects are the very thing that breeds jealousy, envy, and greed which virtually eliminates the urge to help others because without the new phone and car you’re considered less of a person. How sad? Take away the society that has been created and what we have is real life and the love for someone else (and of course food and shelter). People are powerful among a created life but weak among others, which is truly real and innate. Helping someone will leave them with positive thoughts of you which can work wonders, especially if everyone did the same. Instead there is too much negative thoughts about others. As stated in this post, “Success is not about you; it requires others.” Nowadays, you cannot fully help yourself by yourself, you at least need an employer or grocery store, therefore, if everyone were to help one other person and stop the selfish and egotistical mindset, everyone would have life at least just a little better; literally. Overall, this post really resonated with me because I have a true passion for helping others and understand the role it plays in life
    outside of the social constructs and constraints.

  • I’m glad this article was of help to you, Ryan. Yes, we only keep what we give away. Living is giving….

  • david singleton

    The article I believe conveyed a great message
    about how people should behave. Of course you have to think of how something
    will impact you first before you can consider how it will affect someone else,
    but it is very important to understand how an action will impact the people
    around you and the people that aren’t around you. We are all stakeholders in each
    other’s lives and although you can’t please everybody we all should strive to
    minimize the negative impact we have on each other while trying to amplify the
    positive impact we have on each other. As a college student I use to have a
    very narrow perspective on my actions. My goal used to be to get a good job,
    make a lot of money, and help my little brothers. Now I want a job that I’ll
    enjoy and one that will impact the world. Obviously if I make a lot of money I
    won’t complain, but it would just be a bonus. This article also resonates with
    me because having a job where you feel the manager does more talking than listening
    or says certain things that are unnecessary can make one feel underappreciated.
    If each person in a higher position in a company took the time to actually
    understand where each employee is coming from, the employees will be glad to
    work and possibly be more productive. This
    would also reduce turnover. How the employee feels is as important as how the
    customer feels. “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them” is a
    mindset all should adapt. I think a vast majority of the problems in the world such
    as poverty, hunger, education, war, etc. are due to greed. If everybody truly
    cared for others not just on the basis that they can benefit from them, but on
    the simple basis that these other people are human beings like me, we would be
    living in a much more peaceful world.

  • Gina Gonzalez

    I absolutely loved this article. I think it truly explains the importance of helping others not only for their sake but for your own as well. Those completely focused on success sometimes only look up and do not care about those they “step on” during their climb to the top which is why I love that you included examples like Alexander the Great. I was unaware that the King (Alexander’s father) had asked a philosopher to teach his son how to lead as opposed to a warrior in command. Aristotle made it clear to Alexander the Great that he had much to learn from those who he conquered. In this same way we have much to learn from those who we may not think can teach us anything.

    It is difficult but important for a leader to lead by example. It is one thing to talk the talk but another to walk the walk. I had never heard of Konosuke Matsushita but loved the parable in the restaurant. When you are in a strong position of leadership and influence that is the most important time to show respect for everyone as it is likely that those who work under you will follow your example; no one is too important or above showing respect to others.

    Much like Alexander the Great I would consider my life to be an application of my father’s agenda. I have no regrets and would not change anything about his. His goal for me has essentially turned into my goal and I cannot wait to see it play out with time. He leads by example because he is currently an attorney in private practice which is what I aspire to be. I spend my summers home working in his office and watch his interaction with his clients and employees. He hires paralegals from a local law school and mentors them so they can one day control their own firm or office if they so choose. By mentoring them and encouraging them to do their best, he gets their best work. This is how he achieves his own goal by helping others achieve theirs.

  • Thank you for sharing so much, Gina. It’s wonderful to hear how your father gives back, especially as a lawyer. Shows how you can make a difference in any and every profession.

  • Thank you for your response, David. Shifting mindsets is a lifelong journey, on which it sounds like you have a good start.

  • Ann Matthews

    I thought this was a very inspiring article. My favorite quote was “Success is not about you; it requires others”. I tend to only rely on myself when trying to get things done instead of trusting others to contribute to my personal vision. I realize that the leaders that end up being the most successful are those who work with their followers, listen to their opinions, and incorporate those different views into their own vision to be successful.

  • Mark Albion

    If you can help others reach their dreams, they will help you reach yours. A major stumbling block to grow of a small enterprise is the founder’s inability to go from doing everything her/himself, to creating the space, feeling of comfort and safety (and providing the tools, if necessary) for others to take over those tasks, and do them their own way, too.

  • Jac Williamson

    All my life I have been on a team since I started playing soccer at the age of 4. Naturally I have been instilled with a team first attitude and mindset. Being on a team in sports as well as in the workplace requires commitment, sacrifice, passion, balance, and above all, selflessness. Putting others before yourself, to me, is an honor. If someone arrives in a bad mood, we can’t simply think they are being rude. We don’t know what people are going through. Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about, so we should be kind, always.

  • Logan Coffman

    Thanks for your insight Mark!

    I think you touch on such a crucial topic. As founders when building a business it’s vital to take into account the bias and discomfort that may come from relegating aspects of a venture to others. Often doing this may feel like giving away apart of ourselves, given the amount of time put into growing a startup. Check out this post on a somewhat related topic – http://unreasonable.is/how-do-i-tell-someone-their-job-has-outgrown-them/

  • Mark Albion

    Thank you, Logan. Good piece. This issue Chris raises happens to everyone whether growing a company or a political campaign. The close friends/assistants who helped you win a seat in congress rarely have the capabilities to help in a presidential campaign. Painful to let them go. Alternatively, companies have provided extra training to help those people catch up, and some CEOs have slowed the growth of their companies for awhile so their people could catch up, when possible. Lots of strategies available for this important issue.

  • Mark Albion

    Yes, Jac. Empathy is #1 here, and in all of life, in my opinion. It is also one, if not the, most highly correlated behavioral variable with leadership potential, particularly global leadership.

  • Mark Albion

    Not sure what you are talking about re: this article. Can you explain, Adrian?

  • Caroline Snider

    From the day my husband came home from submarine duty he had to be forced and blackmailed into doing what was best for the community, his family and even me. The blackmail included a future promise of an actual marriage, (sex). and after one particularly horrible month him taking his seniority rights over a person everyone else felt needed a job and shift far more than my husband did, (I had promised a normalization and start of a family. as well as never again begging him to back off holidays and let him have the next job and shift as well as the next vacation to Ireland and not continue the insistence on a mid wither vacation) there was just so much on the line in this one time. In social and political needs. it was the son of a county commissioner who needed his sons help in running for congress. After twenty years home he did not believe I would live up to this promise and refused to back down and stay on the job we had kept him on for 20 years. The morning the bid was to come down things got bad when nothing we offered, nothing we begged, nothing we said was accepted by my husband for the good of all,
    So force was attempted and my husband decided hi well being was more important than four other men when he put them in critical care. Then when his father arrived crying all this over his rights he was punched to the ground. and since that morning in November 2001 there has not been one day in my or any one else’s life that has been in cooperation.
    Even in rehab after MRSA caused his spinal cord to be crushed and partially severed we were trying to tell him that he had to let everyone get used to his statues of being crippled. that it might be five to ten years of slowly starting a new life, getting into things like vacations, holidays, and even a sex life, he hit his father square in the face with a stainless steel bed pan yelling we had nothing to say in the matter any longer, The nurses stepped over his knocked out father to give my very angry husband a sedative.
    A year latter he came home and started changing every family and area tradition that had been in place concerning him since 28 years before. He started with me, I was hoping to work into things slowly, adjusting to a sex life over a few years but he came home yelling we had stolen his life. That from that second on he was no longer the second fiddle but the final judge and arbiter in his life and stating that second I was not going to the event I was invited to that evening. I was going to be his wife, I knew that meant he was taking over everything from everyone as of that night including sex, vacations, holidays, and even social functions no matter who it offended, The higher in the society they were considered the more offended he wanted them,
    As for me I was required by his force to give what I had refused for decades and ended up pregnant for it. With him telling me if I did not submit he was throwing me out the door with nothing on in minus 40 degree weather. Since then ant vacation or holiday has ended with me crying at please don’t intrud willy nily. I even told him I knew we had not treated him fairly over decades, but he could not expect me and others to just let him into what was denied for so many years without getting used to the idea.
    He said its like jumping out of an aircraft or first submergence in a submarine. don’t think do. Nothing to get used to that way.
    Any more any attempt to interfere draws retaliation, Never in the way we expected. The last time all I duiid to cut down tension over Christmas dinner was to hand him his first real holiday meal in 33 years at home, asked him to take it to the pole barn and eat it out of the clod there, I got the meal back in my face, the resulting fight and day ended with him holding us under the barrel of his 30 30 rifle telling my guests if the objected to him eating the food he provided, under the roof he provided at the table he provided then the were free to take their people and leave. Its the umpteenth time I wanted to find a hole and crawl into it over my husbands resentments.