Only Serve

Many of my clients ask me for help on stress and time management. The fact of the matter is we live in incredibly stressful times. What I say to them is that they must take good care of three things: Self, Others, and Place.

First is Self. Borrowing a concept from Dr. Kathleen Hall, I teach the SELF model: Sleep (get enough), Exercise (get moving), Love (give and get), and Food (eat right). There are many other ingredients in self-care, but these four are basic.

Second, take care of Others (especially family, friends, neighbors, and customers) that you care deeply about.

And third, take care of this Place, particularly locally where you live and work. It's all we have.

Recently, I was inspired by a friend named Charlie who has really embodied the second and third aspects.

At his invitation, I attended a neighborhood meeting at a coffee house called Hidden Grounds (what a cool name for a coffee spot) here in my town of New Brunswick, New Jersey, home of Rutgers University. It was a meeting of 5th and 6th ward residents who are concerned about many vexing local issues like break-ins, vandalism, safety, litter, and the like.

The meeting was organized by Charlie, a young local journalist who, after graduating from college, made this town his home and cared enough to become a community improvement activist. I salute him for caring enough to organize the event.

I was pleased to see that there was a very good and diverse turnout. Local business people, long time residents, and many college age neighbors were there. Just about everyone spoke up, giving voice to real issues.

Did we solve any of the aforementioned problems? No, not at all. But there was a good feeling generated. A feeling of hope and solidarity. A sense of a bond that we must sustain and strengthen as time goes on.

As I walked home that night, I thought about how Charlie is living the ideal of service to others and to a place. What if more of us held and lived such values?

This blog post is the third in a series that started with Breaking Bread and continued with Love Made Visible. One of my readers, Maryalice, commented on the idea of serving. She wrote:

"I am here to say, We need to serve. Period. Unfortunately, that isn't the norm anymore as politicians, administrators, companies all have their own agendas and those agendas often come with a price tag."

The late great Peter Drucker once wrote that "The purpose of business is to find and keep a customer." How do you do that? In a word, by serving their needs. If you don't, they will go elsewhere.

If more of us adopted a servant's mindset and attitude, the world would be a much more hospitable place. And less stressful too.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday October 1, 2013


Thanks for the quote, Terry. Amazing that the concept of servant leadership is unknown by many and scoffed at by many more. It frightens me how often loyalty is bought. False flattery, inflated benefits, and rejection of personal integrity too often equal commitment. People who are forced to hit a mark too often work out of fear. It isn't a new concept to realize happy workers (and happy clients) make for a positive business, school, company, and more. Just a no-brainer to me. Thanks for championing the positives in leadership and helping to identify what they are. Keep it coming!
Terrence Seamon said…
Thank you, Maryalice. Have a happy new year and best wishes for 2014!

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