We naturally seem to serve ourselves. We eat and sleep and do whatever we do for mostly selfish reasons. At least I do. I don’t like to admit it, but I’m eating what I want for lunch as I type this. I didn’t choose what I’m doing because it served someone else. I choose based on my own desire; for my own benefit.
But I know there’s more to life than just my instance of it. When I’m honest with myself, I know I’m not the center of the universe. Stated that way, you probably do too. We know our time on this planet is not all there is.
Enter Steve Farber, author of Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Steve’s idea isn’t original, but there sure aren’t many posing the same thought in the present age. Steve takes a fresh approach to service and applies it to leadership. However he exceeds his contemporaries by extending the idea to the point of sacrifice. One must purposely sacrifice to make another person greater than himself. That point of sacrifice makes the difference.
The author presents the idea in a fable format, which seems to be common at least among the books I’ve been reading. The fable is entertaining and you can never quite tell if the story is fully true because of the real-life facts intertwined in the story, much the same way Andy Andrews did in his book The Noticer. The fable is engaging and the characters are believable which makes it even harder to tell where to distinguish between fact and fable.
For me, the idea behind the book is the most attractive, compelling and exciting part of the book. Can you actually join the author (and me) in the belief that you can succeed by actually putting others ahead of yourself; even if that means taking a back seat in your own chosen profession or career? Can you?
There are a few other conditions to actually beginning a GTY project with someone else. You must tell them, they must agree to it, and they must also agree to pay it forward by agreeing to keep the idea going in the life of someone else.
I was energized by the idea and I am excited to be looking for ways to implement it. The book is a great read and well worth the investment, but with one caution. The caution is one reason I know the ideas in the book are right. Once you read the book, you have to act. You must disagree with Steve or begin the GTY journey. Anything else is guilt-inducing. But when you think about it, all truth forces you to decide. True leadership is deciding to act in accordance with the truth. Or, in this case true leadership is deciding to make at least one other person greater than yourself. You won’t regret the book or the effort.