Giving Your All to Others Isn’t What You Think
Our responsibility is “to empty our cup” and find ways to pour into the people around us what we do know, not because it’s all there is to know, but because it’s all we know” — Andy Stanley
When you live an altruistic life with empathy toward others, there will be days where you really struggle with the will to serve and help. Could be self-doubt. Maybe it’s low self-esteem, or maybe we just want to focus on ourselves. It’s simply hard on a day-in-day-out basis to find the motivation and inspiration that’s required to be successful. It’s hard to always give every ounce of ourselves in every moment.
But what we come to find is that life is truly most fulfilling, rewarding and exhilarating when we empty our cup — giving the best of ourselves — by focusing to give the maximum effort and attitude to each day. It’s not easy, but it’s always worth it. As Coach John Wooden famously once said,
“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”
The time to give your best is always right now. Even when you think your best isn’t very good. Even when you think you can only be a taker, and not a giver. Chances are you have enough life experience, wisdom to dispense and a unique perspective that can help change someone’s life for the better.
It’s with this that I encourage you to stop doubting, take inventory of what you can give to others and start making a positive difference in someone else’s life. First — start with yourself. Recognize that there are likely many more positive attributes that you have than you may be giving yourself credit for. True personal growth takes root when you begin with increasing your emotional intelligence and your quest for the truth.
All We’ve Got
Andy Stanley speaks often about “emptying your cup” in service to others. I think about this in the context of giving our all, and trying to inspire others to become leaders and to reach their potential. He’s talked extensively about how we can’t fill someone else’s cup, but we can “empty our cup” in an effort to help others fill their cup.
Through our business ventures and personal relationships, we cannot do it all for someone else. We can’t do their job, and ours. We can’t be a great girlfriend AND boyfriend. WE can’t do it all. Each person in a business relationship and personal relationship has to do their best to meet in the middle and give of themselves to make things work.
This leadership trait is made possible when we focus on what we can control and empower others by giving them the advantage of all that we know — all that’s helped us to be happy and successful.
I feel there are three clear-cut ways to empty your cup for someone else.
1. Utilize the power that you can control
What we always control is the effort and attitude we bring to every opportunity and relationship that we enter. Furthermore, we have the free will and choice to lead with values like kindness, humility, gratitude and open-mindedness in how we interact and help others. Treat people with kindness and respect, empty yourself.
“The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” -J. Carla Northcutt
2. Be Generous. Don’t be Greedy
Give the people you know and work with the power of knowing what you know. As you give away your talents to others, you start to reap positive returns that ripple throughout your life. Teaching, coaching and empowering others leaves a positive imprint on our own life. It’s a soul-refreshing act of love and grace that helps us learn and grow in a reciprocal fashion.
It’s the selfless act of helping others that produces a compound-effect in our own lives. When we teach and instruct others, we retain that information for ourselves through repetition and rote memory. When we act kindly and graciously to improve someone’s life, we find that the world tends to reward us for sending more beautiful actions into the environment.
Take ownership of what you can give and you’ll never have to worry about someone else giving back to you in return. You’ll be so concerned about maximizing your output and positive mindset for others, you won’t have time to sweat the small stuff.
3. Be Self-Aware and Selfless
Know this — you can’t make someone like you. You can’t force someone else to do something. All you can do is treat someone how you want to be treated, and let that action stand. Hope it gets reciprocated. Give without expecting anything in return and you’ll mitigate risk; you’ll hurt less. You’ll open yourself up to being helped by someone else.
So I ask you — what can you do to help fill someone else’s cup?
How Can I Fill Your Cup?
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Empty Your Cup — How to Give Your All to Empower Others was originally published in Personal Growth on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.