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How to Leverage the Power of Service

One of my favorite quotes about service comes from the late Muhammad Ali, who said,“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

Service is an obligation, not just something you do as a stepping stone. Learn to take joy in serving well and giving your best. People will notice, and that matters. Because the reality is that no matter where you are in your career, you and a lot of other people are trying to move up the ladder at the same time . . . and it’s easy to think of those other people as obstacles in your way. When you focus on your competition, you lose focus on the quality of the service you are providing. If your employer has not experienced the uniqueness of your work and the integrity of your service, you’ll become just one more face in the crowd. When an opportunity arises, you’ll be passed over because there’s nothing distinctive about your work.

But when you go above and beyond the call and lean into your service, seeing it rightly as part of God’s calling on your life, then you excel. You do things others can’t (or won’t). You stand out. You get noticed as somebody who cares and works hard—adifference maker. Serving to the best of your ability should become your primary goal because when you help other people get what they want, they will help you get what you want. Here are a few other strategies that can help you turn service into opportunity:

Be positive. People want to work with people they want to be around. So, don’t serve begrudgingly. The Bible says,“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, niv). So does everybody else. When you have a positive disposition, when you are easy to work with, when people like being around you, they’re going to give you more opportunity. It’s important to really look at your personality and the vibe you’re giving off. I have seen so many people get opportunities not because they were the smartest or most qualified person in the room, but because people liked working with them. This one piece of advice could help unlock the power of your entire life! Smile!

Take care of the gatekeepers. I mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. Take care of and pay respect to the people who make the machine run: assistants, receptionists, secretaries, appointment bookers. They’re the people who provide that most valuable of commodities: access. Gatekeepers control the time and calendars of the most powerful people in every industry, so if you want to get to the man or woman in the corner office, you have to go through their assistant. These people work hard, and they tend to be terribly unappreciated, so be the person who appreciates them. Be kind, compliment their work, and send thank-you notes, things like that. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

Know when it’s time to end your term of service. I’ve counseled you to focus on service for its own sake, and that’s still my advice. However, service is not a blank check. You are carrying that other person’s crown for a reason: because it’s key to your advancement. But if you’re in that position long enough, there will come a time when you’ve learned everything you can at that level and need to move up or move on. After you’ve put in the work and earned your keep, it’s okay to be clear and honest: youdlike a new opportunity. If one isn’t forthcoming, or if you’re told to wait indefinitely, declare that term of service over. Don’t worry about it, but know when that moment has arrived and what you’ll do next.

If things aren’t working out, ask how you can be of better service. If your career feels stalled and stagnant, don’t panic. But also, don’t go sending out a thousand resumes or spending a fortune on grad school, not just yet. Instead, ask those you work with and for a simple question: “How can I be of better service?” Remember, it’s the quality of your service that creates your value, and when you create value, you get valuable opportunities in return. Be open to honest feedback on the quality of your service and bury your ego when it comes to making the necessary adjustments to do a better job.

To learn more about DeVon Franklin’s new book The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success, go here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DeVon Franklin is a bestselling author, spiritual success coach, and the CEO of Franklin Entertainment, a production company in conjunction with 20th Century Fox. He is the producer of the box office hit Miracles from Heaven and the animated film, The Star. He’s Dr. Oz’s go-to for spiritual success coaching on The Dr. Oz Show and he’s the co-host of the TLC event series, This Is Life Live.

Variety named DeVon one of the “10 Producers to Watch” and Beliefnet called him one of the “Most Influential Christians Under 40.” He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Wait, co-written with his wife, award-winning actress Meagan Good and the best-selling Produced By Faith.

Photo by Samuel Blot