Value without expectation

People often ask why I help others without asking for anything in return.

In January 2014, my business was in a good groove. My calendar was full of clients and I was more than providing financially for our family of 4.

Then an implosion happened in March of 2014…

  • One of my clients was acquired by a larger organization.
  • A second client was wrapping up our project.
  • A third client made some poor financial decisions and ran out of money.
  • All three of those events cost me more than 75% of my monthly income.

In what felt like an instant, I was right back in the valley of 2012 (where I nearly lost it all). I was so down. I was making calls, doing everything I thought of to find new clients, and yet nothing was working. Then came a random lunch.

A guy I was connected to on LinkedIn somehow made his way onto my email list. He was an author, an influencer, and an all-around successful business professional. He responded in a sarcastic way to one of my emails which surprised me. It wasn’t his response that surprised me, but the fact that he responded at all. I took that as an opportunity to connect further. I sent him another email asking if he would be interested in going to lunch. He agreed and within a week or so, we met up.

If I have learned anything over the years, it’s that you always bring more value to your meetings than you expect to receive. So I brought every bit of wisdom, experience, and connection I had to that lunch. The problem was that at the end of the lunch, I really didn’t have much to offer. Yet I had learned over our time together that this guy was someone I needed to continue to build a relationship with. And moreso, in the state of business and life I was in, I needed to enter into his world. So I said….

“I have to be honest. I just don’t think there is anything I can do to bring you value right now. You are very successful and very well connected. But I need you. I need to be connected to the people you are connected to. I need referrals to people in your community.”

It was a humbling, near humiliating, moment for me. I had never outright asked for something so one-sided. And yet, I felt compelled to do so. I knew what I needed and I was willing to set aside all of my pride.

He acknowledged my request and we parted ways. I went home that day and prayed something would work out. In less than two weeks, my prayers were answered. He referred me into a few perfect clients that ended up producing more revenue than I had lost. I was beyond blown away and thankful for his kindness.

I learned so many valuable lessons from that experience including the need to be humble, to ask for help, and take risks when at all possible. That experienced also deepend my desire to help others without expectation. It’s what I needed, and I know there are others out there that need it too.

I cannot thank God enough for the sarcastic email response that man sent all those years ago because without it, my business likely would not be where it is today. Even better than all that, is that stranger became a mentor to me and eventually, a very close friend.

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