When I think of service, my earliest memories go back to childhood. As a child, my parents encouraged me and my brother to sort through our toys to identify things we no longer played with so we could donate to other children in the community. Now as an adult, I’m often reminded of service through Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. My husband’s love language happens to be “Acts of Service.” I’m reminded weekly about acts of service as I perform the undesirable job of cleaning the bathrooms or making the dreaded trip to the grocery store.
One thing I’ve learned to consider when serving: make sure your act is truly something to be appreciated. Not that anyone would not at least appreciate the thought behind the action, but there are some things people would rather do themselves. Some actions simply aren’t as helpful and appreciated as others might be.
One time, I tried to serve my husband by sweeping our floors and freeing up his time to focus on other things. He actually likes to sweep floors (how did I get so lucky!). It helps him de-stress. Because he happened to be stressed at the time, my particular act of service was actually not a great way to serve him.
When it really comes down to acts of service, it is more than just the act itself. The more you know about the person you serve, the better you understand who they are, what they prefer and what they don’t prefer. Then you are better prepared to serve them in the ways that will be most meaningful to them. There are always opportunities to learn about the people in your life, and use what you learn to better serve them.
While all of the things I’ve mentioned are noble in the traditional idea of what it means to serve, service extends beyond our community and personal life. It can and should happen in the workplace. Each day we can perform small acts of service when approaching our job. If we take the time to learn about our team and serve them in ways they will appreciate, we will have a profound impact on their day, thus benefitting our clients and ultimately benefitting all of us.
If you’ve completed a project ahead of deadline, I want to encourage you to lend a helping hand to a team member to meet their deadline. Pass by the donut shop in the morning? Team members usually don’t turn down a warm donut. Sometimes, the best way you can help someone is by showing you genuinely care. A simple smile, or “how are you?” asked sincerely can make a difference. If we can each choose to perform a small act of service daily, we can transform the way we meet our clients’ needs, impact our industry and ultimately improve ourselves in the process. How will you choose to serve?
About the Author
Jamie is a tax manager in healthcare services at HORNE LLP where she provides tax and consulting services to healthcare entities. Her heart of service makes others’ success a top priority as she serves her team and her clients with positive energy each day.