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Keep your eyes off the mirror

Lt. Col. Darrell Steele, 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, commander

Lt. Col. Darrell Steele, 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, commander

14 March 2008 -- "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What
are you doing for others?"

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Certainly many of you reading this have a desire to serve. After all, you volunteered to serve our nation. But what does it mean to "successfully serve?" I'm certainly not qualified to add anything to Dr. King's eloquent words, nor do I consider myself an expert on service, but I've been reading an interesting book by a well-regarded author who believes that successful service requires turning the focus off of ourselves. In other words, keeping our eyes off the mirror.

In his book 25 Ways To Win With People, John Maxwell suggests that focusing on others and continually giving them what they need offers three key benefits:

FOCUSING ON OTHERS CAN GIVE YOU A SENSE OF PURPOSE
Have you encouraged your squadron, or even a small group of co-workers to tackle a project such as volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, or maybe even sponsoring a blood drive? There are people with needs all around us, but we'll miss the opportunity to serve them unless we seek them out and put others first.

FOCUSING ON OTHERS CAN GIVE YOU ENERGY
Ever spent any time tutoring children in schools? How about visiting a retirement home, or perhaps the local VA Hospital? If so, then you're aware of the fulfillment and the renewed sense of energy gained from spending time with these folks. Their sincere appreciation for your time will quickly have you scheduling a return trip.

FOCUSING ON OTHERS CAN GIVE YOU A SENSE OF CONTENTMENT
Maxwell points to psychological research that shows people are better adjusted and more content when they serve others. Serving others is a win-win situation!

So, keep your eyes off the mirror. Let your service be a reflection of who you are.