Service - The Four Pillars Pt. 4
“I help young men find the motivation to live intentionally, communicate effectively, and to serve those around them.“
Service: If you have followed along in this blog series, you are probably aware that my childhood was built around sports. As I grew up, baseball became the sole focus of my life, and I spent countless hours pursuing the improvement of my skills. A byproduct of this endeavor was a competitive attitude. When I no longer had baseball as a competitive release, I channeled that competitive energy into school and work. In school, this was productive; at work, it was not.
When I started working at Pacific Quest, I was one of fifteen new guides joining the team. I immediately began to compare myself to them, I sought out ways to be better than them and took constant notice of who was better at x, who was better at y, so I could improve my skills to match them. On the one hand, it helped, I was tenacious in my quest for improvement, and on the other hand, it was destructive; I wasn’t seeing my colleagues as teammates, I was seeing them as opponents.
When I went to Alaska for the first year, this competitive drive peaked and interfered with a very close friendship. It was at this moment that I realized I needed to change. I started to examine my motives. I realized that in some ways, my drive to be the “best” was productive because being the best meant I was the most effective at helping the kids I worked with, but in many ways, it was interfering with my relationships. It had to be tempered; I could not continue this quest if I were going to be the best version of myself.
This line of thinking led me to develop the intent/mantra, “I will love everyone around me. I will amplify them, I will help them be the best they can be.” I began saying this to myself before every meal; I meditated on what it meant to “amplify” and how I could help others be the best versions of themselves.
The mantra completely changed my attitude. Though it was born out of the need to quell my competitive attitude, it grew into a way of being that expanded understanding of myself and others. If I acted in ways that did not align with the intent statement, it was a guidepost to return to. I am nowhere near perfect, and I often need this reminder to recenter myself.
Today, it has grown into recognition of altruism and the humbling yet fulfilling effects of helping others. In many ways, being altruistic is a selfish act because the rewards are so gratifying. (You can Google selfish altruism if you are interested. There are tons of reading materials on the internet).
Many of the young men I work with do not consciously seek to help others. But when I ask them about a time they have helped someone, they usually have an answer, and they light up when they tell me about it. I capture that conversation, and I help them recognize that serving others serves themselves. Once that connection is made, young men can identify and take advantage of opportunities. In doing so, they build their confidence, amplify others, and make the world a better place.