Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech where he used the phase “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
This simple yet very profound phase served as inspiration to millions of people. The Race to Space, The Peace Corp, and even the Civil Rights movement are all examples of something positive that came about as an indirect result. It served as a call to duty of sorts to all that heard the echoes and the sprit of these words. Over time the meaning and the sprit behind these profound words have all but gone silent. The only mention of it has been by various leaders and politicians, who for their own personal gain, quoted and even misquoted the phase to emphasize their various points.
I believe that today, more than ever, we need to paraphrase this so eloquently put statement into our own belief system and implement the concept into our daily lives. Whether it is our personal or professional life, “Ask not what your (Fill in the Blank) can do for you but for what you can do for your (Fill in the Blank)”
Think about how up lifting and fulfilling it would be to actually do something about whatever the issue is. Ask not what your spouse can do for you but what you can do for your spouse. Cook dinner for the family instead of asking what’s for dinner. Do the laundry or clean the house instead of complaining about it.
From a professional standpoint, Ask not what your company or boss can do for you but what you can do for them. So often we hear or even state complaints about this problem or that problem. Instead of complaining about the problem do something about it! The old saying of be part of the solution not part of the problem is so true. Be a positive influence on your organization, it will come back to you ten-fold.
From a business prospective, think about how powerful it would be for your prospects, clients, and customers if you actually took the approach of doing something for them instead of expecting them to do something for you. Too often in sales it’s provide the product or solution, get the order and move on. “Ask not what XYZ can do for you but what you can do for XYZ”. Offer your services, your connections, possibly different alternatives that you may know of that will help their business without expecting something in return. Bring VALUE to them and you will be perceived as a business resource and a trusted advisor.
The solution to being successful in business and in life can be as simple as not asking but by simply doing!
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