One of the cardinal rules I live my life by is "when you attempt to help others for no personal gain, you reap life's greatest rewards!" Now, I am not living in fairytale land, as we all have to make a living to support ourselves and our families. But, every person you come into contact with may not be able to afford the products or goods you are selling. Does that mean that person is not someone worth helping? Or does that mean that you have a responsibility to help that person? Only you can answer that question, but let me paint this picture for you!
A little while back I had a client named James (I had no idea what his job was by the way) who was paying me to train both of his boys in football. This was a standard business transaction that was good for both parties. For about a year, everytime the boys sessions would expire, James would repurchase blocks of sessions without hesitation. However, one time James told me he had a large unexpected expense arise, and that he couldn't afford to get training for the boys for the rest of the summer.
He was very upset about this because his boys were going into their last year of high school, and he was hoping they could do well and maybe play football after college. When he called to tell me the bad news I responded instantly.
"Sir, don't worry about paying me this round, I'll train the boys for the rest of the summer for free! You have been so good to me and my family. I am honored to return this favor to you!"
He told me "Marques, I have had people take advantage of me for years. This is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me."
Two weeks later I get a phone call from a company called Netapp, the person on the other end of the phone said "Hi Marques, James has requested you to be our keynote speaker at our CXO event in Florida. Would you like to accept this opportunity?"
I literally hit the mute button, and screamed so loud with excitement and disbelief. My first Fortune 500 client speaking opportunity had finally come.
When I helped James by doing those free sessions for his boys, I truly expected nothing in return. I just wanted to help a good man who had been good to me, when almost no one was as I was going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This small gesture of helping his boys, ended up being the spark that ignited my speaking career.
The thing is, even if I would have gotten nothing from the transaction beyond a thank you, that would have been good enough for me. My father always told me to live life by this code "helping others and expecting nothing in return, is the most awe-inspiring gesture of all!"