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Serving From Below

Exploring Leadership in Least Likely People

Everyone can be a leader. Many do it naturally and without giving it much thought, not realizing the true impact they are making in the lives of others. Maybe you’re that kind of leader: unnoticed, unqualified, and in some cases overlooked. You don’t realize what you are really doing is serving others from your place of influence, from your posture of humility. Although anonymous in many cases, you’re serving others well… from below. Serving From Below examines the core prescription for effectively leading others…selflessness. It also reminds us that leaders are all around us, in unlikely places, making a huge impact, demonstrating how we can all become better leaders.

In this anecdotal treatment of servant-leadership, I extract the powerful impact of leading others deferentially; a motivation not rooted in influence, title, status, or pedigree. It is instead, contingent upon the authentic care of another’s success beyond a personal or tangible benefit to oneself. When one embraces the fulfilling opportunity to contribute unexpectedly to the betterment of others, going beyond the personal sense of meaning and purpose that often accompanies altruistic behavior, it has the power to forever change how we view acts of service, and ultimately how we view ourselves

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“I had been walking for about seven hours when my step tracker registered 88,000 steps. Oddly, I didn’t feel tired, nor did my feet hurt  too much. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time had passed, yet I was glad for a brief respite to sit because I had another five hours to go. I lost my job a few months ago, and as a result, I also lost my house. Thankfully my car was paid for and was now the place I called home. I was excited to be serving the youth today because it brings me great joy and a sense of accomplishment. I have been volunteering at the community center for fifteen years and even though the director had given me the option to help out or not, due to my circumstances, for me, showing up was not an option. I was committed and empowered every time I stepped into the building. I also realized that my lack did not limit in any way my ability to give what I had in endless supply….heart.”
Serving others pulls something out of you, and you feel the impact immediately. Serving doesn’t leave you depleted; it both empties you and fills you up at the same time. There is a sense of fulfillment in serving others that innately breeds more service. For some, serving others is a privilege, not an option. Servant leaders don’t choose whom they serve, but instead, they serve whom they have chosen, without hesitation. When service is a part of your natural response to others’ needs, you are essentially responding to the call of your DNA; where there is an opportunity, you just serve.