I host a podcast called Greater Than. I started this project to explore how people rise above tremendous challenges and find a greater way of being—discovering a purpose and a calling beyond their wildest dreams.
I’ve learned so much from listening to the stories of others who have gone through the toughest of times and, on the other side of pain, have uncovered the true meaning of life: serving.
When we look around us, as we approach the closing out of 2019, it seems that society has lost its way in the area of service. Greatness is viewed as having more than the next person: more accolades, more money, more strength, more power, more status. Greatness has never been about these things.
Real greatness is not concerned with lofty living. Real greatness focuses itself on humble giving. The guests on my podcast all have a message of service that has been born from their struggles. They all agree that greatness has nothing to do with fame or fortune. It’s not about being center stage. Greatness is about centering ourselves in what matters most: being someone willing to help another person in need, and going the distance to be of humble service.
Service kills the prideful things that need to die within us. Helping others without expecting applause or recognition is where we find immense and unexpected blessings. It takes us away from a scarcity mindset and into a mindset of plenty.
Author Lynne Twist puts it this way: “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is, ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack. This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”
The deepest change in our hearts and our spirits takes place through service and setting out on a course of action to help others. As an adoptee, my most profound healing and unforeseen joy have come through being of service to other adoptees and the adoption community. My intention is for the good of every person walking the path of adoption, today. In the light of quiet service is where I have conquered my loudest self-doubt and fear.
As we enter a new year—2020—I hope that each of us will commit to the goal of service in our lives. A kind of service that doesn’t boast or ask for applause. One that is gentle and quiet, but active. A kind of serving that holds, at its core, the best and purest benefit of another.
That’s greatness. Real, genuine greatness. It’s how we become greater than the challenges, defeats, letdowns, and hurts of this life. We make ourselves of service. We roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of serving. Adoptee. Birth Parent. Adoptive Parent. Foster Parent. Foster Child. Social Worker. Each of us. All of us.
Let’s commit to serving. Holding each other’s well-being as our highest goal. This community is extraordinary. And, inside of service is where we will soar. It’s where we’ll stop seeing lack and begin to recognize our expansive potential. Nothing can stop us from being the people who we, innately, know that we are: greater than the strife, and identified not by what we have but by who we serve.
I wish you a holiday abundant in serving.