One of the things I recognized early in life is that I need to be intentional. I learned early in life that when I become more intentional, my life can be transformed and I can accomplish more of my personal and professional goals sooner.
I also learned that I needed to be intentional about adding value to others thus allowing my life to have significance and not just success. But adding value to others is an uphill journey for several reasons. First, many people actually don’t want to grow or change. Secondly, and more importantly, we are naturally selfish. We automatically think of ourselves first. If you don’t believe that, then let me ask you a question. When someone takes a photo of a group that you’re in and then shows it to you, who is the first person you look for? Case dismissed. You look for yourself. That’s not an accusation. I look for myself, too. It’s proof that we’re all selfish. Selfishness is a downhill habit. Adding value to others is an uphill trait. But achievable.
There are five essentials for adding value to people. I learned these many years ago from a mentor. If you do these things every day, you will make a difference.
1> Every Day, Add Value
People don’t add value to others when they don’t value others. So why should you value others. Because they’re people. You don’t need any other reason. Listen, human beings are human. They make mistakes. They say the wrong things. They hurt out feelings. Many people treat us poorly and are not very lovable. Love them anyways.
You know how you feel when others devalue you and how you feel when they value you. Doesn’t it make a difference to you? How you are treated impacts how you feel about yourself and how you treat others. Keep that in mind as you interact with people. When you value others, you start creating a cycle of positive interaction that makes life better for everyone.
2> Every Day, Think of Ways to Add Value to People
If I said I had a five-minute thinking exercise for you that would give you a huge return in your relationships, would you be interested? Of course you would. Here’s what I want you to do. Spend five minutes every evening thinking about who you will see the next day, and ask yourself, “What can I say to them, give to them, or do for the that will make our time together more memorable, be unexpected, and add value to them?”
That sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But trust me, this exercise will set you apart from 99 percent of all the other people in the world. And if you do this every evening and then revisit the ideas you came up with the next morning to potentially improve them, you will be amazed by the difference you can make for other people.
People who make a difference think about ways to add value to people ahead of time. Take a look at your day’s calendar. Where will you be going? Who will you be meeting? In what ways might you add value to someone else? It only takes five minute, but the opportunities to make a difference are endless.
3> Every Day, Look for Ways to Add Value to People
If the previous tip was about planning ways to add value before the day starts, this one is about going through every moment of your day on the lookout for additional ways to add value to others. It’s proactive and ongoing.
As you go through your day, what is your mind-set? Are you intentionally looking for ways to add value to others? If not, you can. It’s a capacity choice. If you choose to look for ways, you’ll find them
4> Every Day, Do Thinks That Add Value to People
It’s not enough to just look for ways to help people. You have to follow through if you want to make a difference. Intentionally living requires intentional doing.
How do I know I‘ve had a good day? When I say yes to the question I ask myself every night, “Did I add value to someone today?” My ultimate goal in adding value to others is to do something for them that they cannot do for themselves.
Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be a living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” That is something all of us can strive for.
5> Every Day, Encourage Others to Add Value to people
I believe nothing is as common as the desire to make our lives count, to make a difference. And there are needs all around us waiting to be met by intentional people. Yet so many never intentionally add value to others. Why? Because doing the right thing is more difficult than knowing the right thing. That’s way we need to encourage others to act.
So you make the choice to add value to others and develop the first four points, don’t forget this fifth point of encouraging others to do the same. You will be amazed at what can happen when like-minded and like-valued people work together to add value to others and make a difference.
You can be someone who makes a difference. You just need to try to help someone every day. That’s what intentional living is. Every time you think about ways to help others and take action, you are increasing your intentionality potential, making a difference, and achieving something significant with your life.