There are some words in the English language that cause people’s backs to stiffen. For many people “servant” is one of those words. They associate it with low level workers whose job it is to serve, most likely someone who is somehow “above” them, either in social status, income level, employment status or perhaps all of those.
It’s because of that association that those people don’t want to be servants, servers, or seen to be serving anyone. They feel that to serve others somehow “degrades” their own personal value.
I have a little different take on the word…maybe more than a little.
To me, being a servant simply means “being of service.” I’ve been married a long time and half the reason I’ve been married a long time is because I’ve always tried to be a servant for my wife. The other half of the reason I’ve been married for a long time is that my wife has always tried to be a servant for me.
We may have had different roles and responsibilities throughout our marriage but neither of us have ever tried to be more important than the other. It works for us.
My best days at work are the days when I can make those above and around me look, feel, and actually be better.
If I can help a customer, either external or internal, get a little closer to a goal or have a little better experience with whatever they are doing that day then that’s a pretty good day for me too.
In his great book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” Dale Carnegie advises that we do something everyday for someone else….and not let them know we did it. I can tell you from personal experience that the first half of that advise is far easier to accomplish than the second.
Most people, very naturally, want “credit” for the things they do. They expect appreciation and recognition for doing their job and perhaps extra credit and recognition for going above and beyond. Doing something for others and not letting them find out it was you who did it goes against your natural instincts.
But when you’re able to fight off those natural instincts and just serve someone else it’s a great sense of accomplishment. At least it is for me.
So serve someone today. It doesn’t have to change the world, it doesn’t have to be huge. Sometimes the littlest things make the biggest difference in someone’s life. So just do something, anything, to help someone have a better day. And don’t let ANYONE know that you did it.
It’s one of the nicest things you can do for someone and it’s an incredible thing to do for yourself.