To Get Ahead, Give To Others

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To Get Ahead, Give To Others

Find out what all successful business entrepreneurs do to get ahead!

When I started out in business, I thought that in order to be successful and “Get Ahead” I had to be aggressive about finding, keeping and getting more business. I had many business role models for this behavior both in person and via books, TV and movies (think Jerry McGuire).

A woman staring into the ocean on the beach.

The problem was, it was very hard for me to sustain an aggressive business attitude. I am not by nature good at telling other people how great I am or why I am the best business person to hire or talking trash about competitors. To be fair, some of this may be nurture as well—girls are told from a young age not to behave in certain undesirable ways. When they do, they are chastised and punished, often in obvious ways, sometimes in more subtle ways. Regardless of why I’m not good at it, I continued to listen to those who told me it was the only way to get ahead for a small business.

A woman running a workshop.

Then one day I was fortunate enough to stumble on a workshop about Servant Leadership. Initially I thought that this concept that focused on enriching the lives of individuals—serving others—was really only a good fit for non-profits, not successful businesses or business leaders.

A horse pulling the cart showing the relationship between serving others.

Over time, and with more research, I came to find that many successful companies embrace the Servant Leadership model—and why not? Companies like Zappos, REI, Starbucks and AFLAC regularly top Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.  No one can argue that they aren’t successful companies with excellent profits and they all did it while embracing Servant Leadership as a corporate business style.

Two hands connecting into cooperate world with serving.

What makes Servant Leadership so successful are the 12 Principles:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Healing
  • Awareness
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight
  • Stewardship
  • Growth
  • Building Community
  • Calling to Serve Others
  • Nurturing the Spirit—Joy

What’s interesting for those of us involved with BNI, is that it closely mirrors many of the organization’s principles and BNI code of ethics; such as building goodwill and trust among BNI members, or displaying a positive and supportive attitude. The list goes on..

Two people on a mountain and one helping another up the hill.

Once I gave myself permission to stop trying to be “aggressive” in finding, keeping and getting more business and instead embraced the Servant Leadership principles of serving others, I found that my business became more enjoyable and less stressful. I didn’t feel like I had to work as hard to achieve the same (or actually better) results. Of course, in many ways, the concept of Servant Leadership has been in front of me since the day I joined BNI, all it took was a new fresh perspective to help me see what was in front of me the entire time–Giver’s Gain

To learn more about Servant Leadership, visit

PR Chick Jill Bode founded Designed Write Public Relations in 1998. Working with recycled bubble gum, string and duct tape, she managed to craft a cutting-edge, custom PR consortium that works with clients all over the world–including BNI Central Indiana.

Watch this Walker This Way video to understand fully how Giver’s Gain can benefit your business!

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