Do you add value when you walk into a room?
Think about this. When you enter a room do you add or subtract from what is happening in the room? When you leave the room what do you leave behind?
This question can apply to countless interactions including with your family, those you work with, your faith family, organizations you belong to, and activities you participate in.
I heard a speaker once share that the words which have shaped his life the most are words of wisdom he was taught repeatedly by his father. Although his father had passed away, his simple message to his son was short and sweet, “In everything you do always ask the question, ‘do you add value when you walk into the room?’”
It has been many years since I heard the speaker share this benchmark, yet this question continues to repeatedly pop up in my life. I find myself asking this question over and over again.
There is a room I am about to enter with others in it. I will interact with those in the room and there will be a discussion about a common topic. Everyone has the opportunity to speak up revealing what is in his or her heart and mind. My journey to this point in my life is totally different than anyone else who is in the room. There will be thoughts that come to my mind that, because of who I am, will only come to me.
What can I say or what actions can I take that will contribute to common goal in the room? Most importantly what can and will I do to add value to the lives of the others in the room?
Understand the last question has two totally different components. What “can” I do to add value is a different question than what “will” I do. Any of us “can” add value to others. I think the “can” question has unlimited responses.
For example, I can sell everything I have and move to an underdeveloped country with people in need and serve out my life meeting those needs. I can donate a dozen hours a week to a local cause that needs volunteers. I can drop everything right now to go play with my young child who wants some Daddy time.
The “can” add value question knows no bounds.
The more important question to ask myself is what “will” I do to add value to others.
A related question would be, why walk into a room if you can’t add value? There are people out there whose coworkers celebrate when they go on vacation. I would refer to these people as “takers.” You would like to lock the door before they are able to get into the room. Hopefully this is not you.
Most in the world live their lives selfishly looking inward asking the question, “If I enter this room, what is in it for me?” or “What value can I add to myself by entering this room?” I don’t like saying this, but it is human nature and it is true. Why would I miss my favorite television show to add value to another or others? Why would I forgo my $5 coffee to invest in the life of a needy child across the ocean?
People with a victim mentality take. They justify this mentality because of something that has happened in their life and they choose to not rise above it. They enter the room and say, “Look at me. Look at me. Look at my needs. I am entitled to receive what you have to give because I am me. I am entitled.” The only value added when they enter the room is value to themselves.
Moving to a larger scale, we have all been born and we will all die. This will be a message on our tombstone that bracket a dash in between the dates. There is something about leaving the world a better place than the one we were born into. It is the difference between living a life of giving and living a life of taking. Givers add value when they walk into the room.
My challenge to you today is to make this question a part of your life. Ask yourself regularly “Do I add value when I walk into the room?”
There will be many rooms you will walk into. Some you will be in for just a short period of time. Others you will live a lifetime in.
What lingers in the room after you leave? What lingers in this world when you are gone? What you receive dies with you, but what you give lives on after you are gone.
A life of adding value when you enter a room remains for the benefit of others after you leave.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to email@example.com:firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.
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