Serve From Full

I have this friend who's a coach, too. (Surprise!) Every once in a while, he'll call me to talk through what's happening in his business. Or more accurately, what's NOT happening in his business. New clients.

"This person I served powerfully never responded to my last message!" 

"I don't get it - I keep serving and serving and serving, and then nothing. What am I missing?"

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

"Serve" has become a buzzword. It's well-intentioned, but a buzzword nonetheless. That's especially true if you're a coach, but I see it showing up in more businesses every week. (If you're reading this and you're not a coach, read on. This applies to your business, too.)

"Engage in Selfless Service."

"Serve Powerfully."

Confession: When I first heard these, I thought I knew what they meant. I didn't.

I thought I knew what other people needed, and dammit, I was going to dance right in through the front door and give it to them! Then they'd become my client and we'd all live happily ever after.

Things did not go that way.

You can't serve from anywhere but "full."

I had some things to learn about service before I was actually able to serve.

1. Service is not a thing you do. It's not a destination. It's not the catalyst for a transaction. 

Service is a place you come from.

2. You can't serve powerfully or selflessly (or whatever other adverb you want to throw in there) from anywhere but "full."

"So do I start serving from full?"

You need to let yourself be served.

Until you've let yourself be served - truly served, not going through the motions so you can say you did it - you'll be missing the compass for what it means to be truly served. You also won't see things that may look like service on the surface but aren't. 

Until you've let yourself be served, you'll think you're coming from a place of no need. And any subtle blind spots around needing something will be showing to the people you want to serve the most.

Allowing yourself to be served may not be so easy at first. You will need to let go of your desire to control and simply let yourself receive service from another. You will need to be completely honest with yourself when you want to resist receiving service. You'll spend time and energy fine-tuning your compass of what serves you, what doesn't, and how you serve.

You will see what it truly means to serve and to be served. And THEN you will serve powerfully.

My friend was troubled with the feeling that he served people who never became clients.

So I asked him when the last time was he'd let himself be served. He told me he hadn't had a one-on-one coach in a couple years, and outside of facilitating events, he had no groups he was receiving support from on a regular basis.

Then he showed me a weekend coaching event for men that excited him, saying he wanted to go there for "research." 

"Dude, you ought to go there to be served. Get the support you need. Forget research. Just be there with the other men and see what happens."

He loved the idea. A few days later, I saw an ad promoting a full scholarship to that men's event and shared it with him.

"Thanks! I'm in touch with them about facilitating."

He and I will speak again soon.


He and I did speak again a day after I wrote the original post. He's attending TWO events this month where he'll get to be served. I can't wait to see what's on the other side of that.

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