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  • Writer's pictureBrent Mead

Community: Why You Should Be the First to Give

To continue this series on how I view motivation, I want to talk about community. We all have several communities. A community is a group of people in which you identify shared regional, academic, cultural, political, religious, or social experiences. Whether you like it or not, your community influences you and you influence your community. Why does this matter?

Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University studied motivation and psychology throughout the 20th century. He found that up to 95% of the success people have in their lives is determined by the community in which we spend most of our time.

Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, said, "you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with". I've always struggled with his idea because of the way I see it implemented by getting rid of those that negatively influence you. Ultimately, how you treat other people will define more of your personality than anything else. It shapes how you feel and how others treat you. You control your destiny but know that you also affect other people. I've seen many people use Jim Rohn's statement to get rid of friends if they're a bad influence. Ultimately, you make every decision: good and bad. Claim that responsibility. Perhaps we can use Jim Rohn's idea to help those around us instead of blaming others for our own decisions?

"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

Spoken like a true American salesman. I read Zig Ziglar almost constantly throughout high school. I love this statement because I truly think it encapsulates the human experience while also giving some decent business advice.

People are everything. In business, it doesn't matter what career you have; every business requires customers. Every customer is a person, not a data point or demographic. People are complex. Zig Ziglar asserts that to get what you want by helping others get what they want first. Breaking that statement down offers interesting lessons.

I've been thinking a lot about marketing lately and I've come across Gary Vaynerchuk's 51/49 idea often. Vaynerchuk's idea says that people are more likely to enter or repeat a transaction if they feel they gained 51% of the deal. Have you experienced this before? Just yesterday, I went to the store and joined the DiLusso rewards program. It was "Double Stamp Tuesday," and as I'm sure you already you know, that means for every 1 pound of meat I purchased, I got 2 stamps. WOW! What a deal. I saved $20 on my meat purchase. I look back and realized I planned on getting 2 pounds of meat and 1 pound cheese. I left the store with, well, a lot more than 3 pounds of meat and cheese. Congratulations, DiLusso. I felt like I got a great deal and they got more money out of me because of it. And you know what, I have 2 stamps on an additional card so you bet they're going to get 8 more so I can finish this card.

"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." DiLusso got what they wanted and I got (more) than I wanted. Harvey Mackay, author of #1 New-York Times best-seller "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive", suggests that salesmen should view their job as helping customers solve their problems instead of convincing the customer to buy the salesman's product. Most people want to feel appreciated and heard. If someone helps you, then you'll likely return the favor in some way. What difference could you make if you decided to help someone in your circle today?

Zig Ziglar suggests that by helping others first, you're curating relationships that will help your business down the road. Maybe this idea works because there's a natural response to return a favor. Perhaps Zig Ziglar is suggesting that customers want to enter a business/customer relationship with those that care about the customer first. Whatever the reason is, I think we can all think of a time where we felt more comfortable giving someone our money because we trusted the person on the other side.

People matter. It seems silly to need to type that but we need to remember that we're all in this journey together. When you feel like you belong, you're more likely to give and create something more beautiful. I encourage you to help someone in your life this week. By putting others first, we can create great relationships that not only will pay off in our business but our emotional and social needs, too.

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