A few weeks ago, Michael Mantell wrote a column about his renowned WAM program for personal success, What About Me? I wrote about three steps to “me,” self-compassion, including
1) Welcoming yourself as a friend,
2) Acknowledging your strengths and successes, and recognizing that,
3) Mindfulness promotes it all.
Now it’s time to complete this brief life success plan and turn to WAY, what about you? What about the others in your life?
I began the first step, WAM, in coaching one’s drive to victory by quoting Jack Kornfield who observed, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Now it’s time to add another quote, this from Hillel, widely recognized by many as one of the wisest people who ever lived. He observed in his most famous aphorism in Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”
Marcus Tullius Cicero said it just a bit differently “We are not born for ourselves alone.”
If you are only for yourself, who are you? For genuine victory, for significance, you cannot stay within yourself, focusing on “me,” but wisely move out into the world of others and make it about “you.” The healthiest self is a self that is also simultaneously a part of a greater whole, WAM and WAY.
To be concurrently focused on yourself and on others requires:
1) careful listening to yourself and others,
2) speaking words from your heart,
3) having a selfless mindset (especially when no one is watching),
4) having genuine pleasure in another’s happiness and success,
5) valuing the priorities of others,
6) being kind to yourself,
7) understanding that when you assist others and help make someone else’s life better, you are doing a double lift—and getting double exercise.
For as John Holmes noted, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” Perhaps that’s what led Booker T. Washington to notice that the happiest people he knew were those who did the most for others.
If you are only for yourself, what are you? It’s been said that a storyteller makes up things to help others, while a liar makes up things to help himself. Which are you?
In a recent presentation at the University of Pennsylvania, researcher Kathleen Vohs shared, “Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others.”
W When you help others succeed, you succeed best and quickest. It’s a near instantaneous experience, one that surely brings a smile and a good feeling.
A Acknowledge, validate and empathize with the words, needs and feelings of others. If you were in the shoes of a friend, co-worker or neighbor how would you want to be treated? While the “golden rule” says “treat others as you would have them treat you,” I believe the “platinum rule” yields much greater joy and benefit: “treat others as THEY wish to be treated.”
Y “Yes” to others, but be sure to respect yourself and your own needs in the process. WAM and WAY, both are important in balance. Forgiving and forgetting allow you to move forward without harming yourself in the process, while demonstrating a superbly selfless act.
Want to build your character, contribute to the health of yourself, your family and your company or workplace, and help create a more positive environment? Want to conquer your pride, expand your mindset, and create true loving friendships? Want to live longer, protect yourself against depression, have a natural “drug-free” reduction in anxiety, lower the risk of hypertension, reduce symptoms of heart disease and chronic pain and boost your immune system?
It can be done. “No way,” you say?
I say yes,WAY!