Service is a really interesting word, particularly when it comes to personal and professional growth. I think that service, being of service, and serving somebody are concepts that some people seem to have forgotten in many walks of life.
Think about the last time you went to a cafe or restaurant, or even the last time you went to buy food, did you think about that experience in terms of service, and the service you were being provided? Or did you focus your energy on the lack of service, and tiny little nuances that could have been missed?
I believe that human beings on the whole tend to focus on what is missing rather than what is already present.
With that in mind, you can probably think of two or three different ways that your last eating or shopping experience could have been improved, right?
I would now like to invite you to think of last interaction you had with an actual human being face to face (rather than by email, phone, or any other method of communication). If you were having that face-to-face conversation as an act of service what are the things that you would look to improve for your own manner, way of showing up, and contribution to that conversation?
I am going to be writing a lot about this week is Fred Sirieix. He is well known as the Maitre D for a TV programme called First Dates (a program which I have to say I have never watched, but seen 1-2 minute snippets of on social media). He also was a key part of a programme with Michel Roux Jr for the BBC called Service. It was that programme that's really caught my attention - they took a number of young people who had challenging experiences and trained them to work in the front of house in a top restaurant. Since then I have studied Fred and his approach to service, and it is no surprise that he is often called the “Service Jedi” or “Service Guru” by his peers.
On his website Fred says that he “Aims to make excellence a habit in every part of his life, he wants to teach people about ownership, the beauty of rigour and discipline, and help people take responsibility for living their vision and values to the full.” For me these are aspirations that make me admire Fred and his work even more.
Fred created the Good Service Charter and The Service Pyramid, and he relates these to business. I know, for me, that trust is one of the most significant aspects to my hiring an individual or working with a company - trust is part of service in many respects. If I trust you to do a good job I know that you will provide a good service.
I’d like to invite you to bring that into personal relationships - how can you create the equivalent of a Good Service Charter for yourself?
Let's first define what service is. Service is about giving unselfishly, understanding others, and always giving first. Fred says “that like with faith everything in life starts with self therefore we must first and foremost have a deep belief in ourselves and in our vision the rest will come naturally.” He also says “there are no advanced levels in service and no immediate fast track lanes to mastering the art of service. It is all about the basics and consistent repetition of tried and tested methods.”
So when it comes to you - are you being of service? What can you do?
Meaning and Purpose.
Think about your interactions with people in terms of the meaning that you are trying to offer others. How you can serve their purpose, of course, as well as your own? Focusing on their purpose and meaning will indirectly enable you to meet your own.
There will be times when people that you are speaking to say things that you do not agree with, or provoke you. Of course I am not asking you to be a doormat, but there is no need to respond to something that somebody says which irritates you every single time. Specifically here I am talking about your ability to control your feelings and overcome your desire to respond when you are provoked, in the right way this demonstrates an act of service.
Focus on the purpose or objective of the conversation or activity. When you do that it enables you to contribute much more effectively, and you will find that you are able to be much more deliberate in your communications, and increase your ability to be of service to somebody else.
I invite you to reflect on how you are bringing more meaning and purpose, self discipline, and focus into the next interaction you have with a human. Of course you can also apply these principles to communications online, over the phone, in video, and social media. In my mind it's really about focusing on the needs of the other person and enabling yourself to be open to supporting them more effectively.
What other ways do you think that we can be of service to one another? Do you have any other tips on how to be more effective in service? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.