Why You Shouldn’t Be Of Service

The other day I got a text message from a friend.

She was visiting New York and asked if I was around to grab a tea. After a few back and forth texts, she shared that she had come into some money and was trying to figure out what to do with it.

Not in a frivolous way, but because she’s an amazing woman with lots of gifts and talents, she was trying to figure out how to use that money in order to create an impact on those around her.

She said, “Erin, I want to figure out the best way I can be of service.”

Right away, a little red flag went off in my brain.

Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about starting a business, following your passion and most importantly BEING OF SERVICE.

I don’t disagree with this advice, and really, there is something so rewarding and important about being of service.

But I do think when you’re getting started on something new, this idea can be a hindrance.

Speaking from experience, any time that I’ve been looking for my next project, or looking to make a decision in my business about growing or expanding, or even when I am figuring out my next life move, when I focus solely on “Being of Service,” I end up going round and round in a creative cul-de-sac.   

I almost feel guilty telling you this…

But I would recommend you NOT try to be of service.

Let me explain.

You see, there are SO many different ways to be of service. I can think of a list of 10 ways right now.

When I am so entirely focused on what I can do to help people who I don’t even know yet, the thought can be overwhelming. It starts to feel as though there is just SO much work to do.

Not only that, but if you are someone like me, who requires quiet time and inward energy in order to grow, thinking of serving hundreds of thousands of people can feel like a big responsibility when you are just getting going.

If I am being honest with myself, it can also feel really intimidating.

It puts me in the place of “But what if they don’t like it? What if I am not smart enough? What if they think it’s boring?”

These thoughts are never helpful when you are trying to figure out your next move.

Now I realize you might be thinking, “Oh Erin, this is sounding so selfish. Don’t you want to help people?” The answer is yes, I do.

But I want you to tune into yourself for a moment and notice if the thought of serving a bunch of people energizes you—or makes your head spin a little.  

Instead, I invite you to turn inward and put the focus on yourself for a moment by asking these questions:

  1. What do I want or need to learn?
  2. What do I want to make?

When you ask yourself “What do I want to learn?” you suddenly go from OUTWARD to INWARD seeking. You turn in towards your own needs and truths.

It is likely that the answer you discover is going to bring about some inspiration, because I’m guessing you’re like me—a life-long learner. It’s probably why you read my blog. You like the challenge of acquiring new tools and discovering new things about life.

Once you’ve answered that question, you continue by asking yourself “What do I want to make?” I say MAKE and not CREATE on purpose.

While it’s simply semantics, the word “create” sometimes feels really BIG. It feels like whoa, I have to do something really grand here.

But the truth is, the act of making something can start really small.

When I focus on the question “what do I want to make,” I immediately light up.

I think, “Wait, you mean I get to make something today? Like when I was a kid in school? I’m allowed to write something? Or make up a dance?” Or “Oh, wow, I can make a new set of workouts? That would be really fun!”

Yes, please! I’ll take it.

In fact, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is the latest workout I made for you. These and others have come out of the questions, “What do I want to learn?” and “What do I want to make?”

Why You Shouldn’t Be of Service

My dearest, when you give yourself permission to be easy, playful, in the flow, filled with joy, and connected to YOURSELF, THAT is likely the time when you are most lit up and have the most energy.

And that’s the energy people want. People will be drawn to you like bees to honey.

Ultimately, I have some odd news for you. People don’t really want to be helped.

What people really want is to feel connected to themselves, the divine and others.

And only when you are connected to YOURSELF, the divine and others will you, yes, you guessed it, you be able to be of the greatest service possible.

So the next time you fall into a little lump sum of money, or maybe you’re just trying to figure out your next career move or business venture, I encourage you to ask yourself:

What do I want to learn or how do I want to grow?

And then, what do I want to make?

If this resonates with you, I would love to hear your thoughts. When you are trying to come up with your next move, does the thought of being of service inspire you or deplete you? How about when you focus on these other questions? Tell me how this lands, share in the comments.

And of course, if you have a friend who you think could use this message, please forward this along.

With love,
Erin

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