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Are You Making a Difference in Your Clients' Lives?

I was reminded of something the other day –   that I am in business to make people’s lives better.

Lots of people are in business for the same reason. Heck, if you’re a coach, holistic practitioner or any type of service provider, it’s likely that at least part of the reason you’re in business is because you want to help people.

There was a study done at M.I.T. a few years ago* in which the increase in brain function was measured with a number of different stimuli. Basically, what they were trying to find out is what sorts of things get the brain excited. What they found was that the #3 most brain-exciting stimuli was money…#2 was sex.

But the stimuli that recorded the most brain activity – most excited the brain – was altruistic behavior. In other words genuinely doing stuff of purpose for other people. Like me, you may say, “sure, that makes sense.” But the reason I remember the study is that altruistic behavior got more than twice the response in brain activity as sex did. So doing things of meaning for people creates a massive biological response in our brain in comparison to sex. To me, that says something.

How do you feel about your work?

Just stop and think for a moment – how do you feel when   you do something for someone else? Not something you’re forced to do. Not something you’re even paid to do. Think about when   you go above and beyond what people expect from you to give them something they weren’t expecting. How does that make you feel?

Define it anyway you like, but doing ‘good deeds’ in a genuine, caring manner, makes you feel pretty good. I know it makes me feel good. I can even feel the added bounce in my step and my overall good feelings. Could this be an experience of what our brains are experiencing when we do something for another person?

My guess is yes!

What’s more, I would venture to say that there’s a measurable, hormonal response in our bodies when we do things for others. It’s probably been studied somewhere, I just don’t know about it.

So what’s it all mean for my clients?

What I’m getting to is that every time you interact with a healing or coaching client, you have the opportunity to do something good for them; you have an opportunity to make a difference in their life. And if you’re in business to make a difference in people’s lives, why not be aware of it? Why not try to do it more often? Why not look to help your client in a way that better’s their life – rather than just give them the service they’re paying you for.

This is something I, myself, had to recently be reminded of. Not that I wasn’t doing things to change my client’s lives – I was, I get feedback on that point all the time. What I was forgetting is why I got in business building websites and coaching clients.

It’s easy to get bogged down with business

And that’s what happened to me. I started being a website designer, a business coach, a marketing advisor or a social media consultant (all things that I do) rather than remembering that I was in business to make a difference in people’s lives.

You see, I figured out long ago that I could take things I was good at and use them to help individual business owners (like coaches, healers, etc) better their lives. For instance, when I build a website, I put my client’s business goals at the forefront. This often means that their websites get them more client, which increases their income and makes their life better. And that’s because for us independent business owners, our personal lives are directly tied to our business lives, making it difficult to have a peaceful life when you don’t have a solid, dependable business.

That’s why I’m not a website designer, a business coach or a marketing advisor

I may use those titles and even do the work required of each. But I’m in the business of making people’s lives better. I do it through building websites for my clients and teaching them how to use them effectively to get more clients as well as how to do all sorts of things better in their business. That’s my means.

But my end is that through what I know I can make a difference in my client’s lives.

I’m just glad to be reminded of what my own business is really about. It changes how I see who I am, what I do and how I do it. It brings a deeper sense of satisfaction for my work and a stronger caring for my clients. And, perhaps most important, it reminds me to consciously look for ways I can make a difference in my client’s lives.

How are you making a difference in your client’s lives?

If you’re providing a service of some sort, the impact you have on your clients is making a difference in their lives. Do you see that yourself? Is it something that happens as a result of the work you do? Or is it something you’re consciously aware of as you work with clients?

I’d love to know how you’re making meaning in your client’s lives.

Let’s talk about it.

*note: If you know of this study, please forward me details on how to find it. Thanks

(note: image from HEREFORDCAT on Flickr, some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. Andy @ FirstFound says:

    Great post.

    I’m surprised by the findings of that study – twice as good as sex seems a little bit over the top, but I guess it explaines why people tend to be community-minded.

    It’s certainly given me food for thought. Thanks.

  2. Well said. In this industry, it’s easy to get bogged down in the business of just cranking out websites.

    I frequently come across web designers who act like short-order cooks. They take the order and serve up a website without stopping to think about how that site will affect the client’s bottom line.

    When I set goals for my business for 2010, the one at the top of the list was to raise the quality of service that my company offers. The way I see it, we should make websites that work hard for our clients. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  3. Wow! This is so true and what a chance happening.

    Just an hour or so ago I was on a forum and someone thanked me in a private message for helping them on a problem they were having. I replied to them, in turn, thanking THEM for making my evening that much better.

    I totally buy into the idea that helping others is a huge win-win. Heck, its why I blog in my spare time! Thanks for posting this.

  4. Communication is the key. Understand exactly what the clients need.

  5. Hello! I am an IT programmer and i saw that if you are serious in your work, the clients are very satisfied, pleased with what you do, they recommend you to their friends. So, it matters the way you work, the way you understand the importance of client-ceo relationship.

  6. I have been working as an SEO via online job and delivered results, I just hope to feel that appreciation in person and thank me for what I did but unfortunately it will never happen.

  7. One note on the study – it wasn’t what our egos or bodies liked better. It was what our brains naturally responded to without our biased minds in the way.

  8. I love the way your posts always tie business and spirituality together. Currently I mainly focusing on building review sites in different niches. In the reviews I write I try to provide as much value as possible (often over 1000 words and very detailed).

    Fact is I love answering peoples questions and helping them out in making decisions.

    …and it pays of

  9. Angel @ Houston Answering Service says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Altruism may seem hard, but actually we all practice it, consciously and unconsciously. But if this practice gets more deliberate then perhaps the world will be a better place to live in.

  10. Just by reading the story on how you like to teach your clients on how to use and make there websites work to get traffic is so great. I bought a website and let me tell you they did nothing that you do. They gave it to me and said ” there you go” and I get no traffic to my site. I would love to read about what you do to help clients get traffic.

  11. James,

    That’s what most web designers do. They’re not marketers usually. And most barely run their own businesses let alone know how to help people with their’s.

    Remember, most people building websites are either coders or graphics designers. So they’re not trained to know about how to help you with your business other than, perhaps, with SEO.

    Dawud

  12. Nice post, Dawud. And the most amazing thing about that number #1 stimulus is that it keeps getting stronger with age. “Giving back” is a powerful motivator.

    Jerry

  13. Dawud, people like you are like a needle in a haystack. Many business owners and workers in general just try to get by, but it’s those people that go the extra mile for their clients that really make a difference, even if only in a small way. At the end of the day, making money is nice, but making money while making others happy is pretty fulfilling.

    This was a wonderful post, thanks.

  14. When you’re making people’s lives better, you’re making your own work better. And that’s something that doesn’t have a price.

    The things you’re saying are exactly the point where ordinary people differ from the ones who make a difference.

  15. Dawud,

    Excellent post, it’s something my wife and I have been talking about this week. I think this might be the study you were looking for:

    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/brain_activity_during_altruism.htm

    All the best,
    George

  16. I think everyone wants their job to be rewarding and sometimes it is hard to see beyond the office. One of the reasons I like building so much is I get to see the fruits of my labor and others enjoy it as well. In an office setting my reach spreads further, but my visions feels stunted when I can’t see the impact I’m making with clients.

  17. French expression
    “Avoir plusieurs cordes à son arc”…translate
    “Having many strings to his bow” . :)

  18. I always make it a point in my everyday working life that I say something good about others and to others… It alleviates something in me whenever I get tapped on my shoulder and when I do the same to my co-workers.

  19. I think, even i effect my client’s live because i make them earn money and work for them.

  20. Simple concept, but often overlooked. In my previous years as an advisor and coach, the thought that I was helping someone was incredibly rewarding. I remember a number of clients who cried when they had a success or won a contract. Tears of Joy, couldn’t ask for a better feeling. Great article, thanks.

  21. the best is the communication because this is very important because this is only the way that you are able to understand each other.

  22. It’s important that we provide the needs of our clients. They should be getting the value for their money and more. Excellent customer service are hard to get by these days.

  23. You mention that MIT discovered that sex and money was the number 2 and 3 top stimuli. What is the number 1 stimuli?

  24. What an inspiring post! Was a bit surprised that altruistic behaviour came first to be honest. I guess you become more skeptical with age lol

    I agree with all the points you mentioned. It does make you feel better when you genuinely help someone. Even if you’re helping a client, it always makes my day when they tell me how helpful I was. It’s like the icing on the cake.

    I always over deliver so it’s a win win for both parties. Sometimes, it doesn’t even take much of my time anyway – but to the client just a simple word of advice could be a goldmine!

  25. I like that, personal brand statements are all about what you do for people and not he exact service or product you provide. Does a hairdresser cut hair or improve confidence?

  26. Travel guide says:

    I think so far I have felt able to, there is still a lot of new knowledge I gained from your thoughts. I can not say anything, that you really inspire me thinking. thank you

  27. Interesting Post. I think everyone do effect each other lives in some or the other way. I think, even i effect my client’s live because i make them earn money and work for them. thanks a lot for sharing great information.

  28. I’m surprised by the findings of that study – twice as good as sex seems a little bit over the top, but I guess it explaines why people tend to be community-minded. tnksss

  29. Indeed it is an astonishing fact that the mere satisfaction in doing a good deed for another individual stimulates the mind much more than sex!

    Getting back to the point, emphasizing on quality in delivery is what we all want at the end of the day. A little appreciation from people – be it clients, friends, or strangers never hurt anyone. However, deep down within, do we truly feel glad in helping most people without the possibility of a favorable return?

    At the end of the day it is solely through effective communication that we earn our daily bread. So an insight on such facts are always welcome.

  30. I agree totally with the altruistic integration. As my business grows and I don’t feel like I have to struggle so much, I am trying to do more volunteer work. It is a good balance to the daily grind and it really helps me do a better job when I am working.

  31. Magnetic Generator says:

    The thing is that you’re not just building sites for people as a web designer, it’s like putting their business in the public spotlight. You can literally change someones life with a great site. Also many people aren;’t tech savvy so they look to you for their conduit to the web, it a much underestimated trade in my opinion.

  32. Good article. The result isnt a surpirse at all. human nature is a social nature with a lot of community thoughts. so if the other feel happy you feel happy yourself. but the amount of brain activity compared with sex or money is very interesting.

  33. You are lucky when you like your job, and when you are working to make a difference in people life, unfortunately I can’t say the same about me, I work in a small office creating sites, I don’t like my job but this is the way I make my living.

  34. 14k Gold Bracelet says:

    Boy, you hit the nail on the head. It is hard to go to work daily with a purpose, especially in the business climate we are in now.

  35. I too am a bit surprised at the findings. Personally, I do not believe in altruism for the most part simply because of it’s self-sacrificing definition and tend to agree with Ayn Rand when it comes to this topic. Furthermore, if someone behaves in an altruistic manner because it makes them feel good, then fundementally it is not altruism by definition – they do it because they like themselves better after doing it. Many times, I believe, it’s an ego booster.

    I personally devote a lot of time to others because it is what I enjoy doing. While I am doing it to make their lives better, I am also doing it because I like to. These things include donating sites to charities and alternative researchers whose work I support, helping a local business get listed in Maps and the 10-pack, teaching others about life as well as my industry, and giving things of value away to people who would enjoy them more than I. Thanks. Jim

  36. We are in the information age and providing your target audience with insightful and valuable content is the key to raising other people’s standard of life. Long gone are the days when being selfish with what you know would help you get ahead of others.

    Today, you must be ready to share information, thanks to the internet.

  37. Sports News says:

    Nice post Dawud! It is really a very informative post. This post give me a deeper insight to on how to engage clients on long term basis. Well done and keep it up. I hope that you would keep on writing such interesting topics in future as well.

  38. Anthony Smits says:

    Thank you for these thoughts Dawud. Giving before anything else, of ourselves and our abilities, not only makes us feel good, it enriches others- and ultimately our bank balance.
    I believe we want two key things in this life. First, significance – meaning to most of us that we want to have what we do MEAN something to others. And second, to be wanted/loved/appreciated for who we actually are. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if many of us would swap most of our sex to have those two things happen.

    Towards an Uncommon life..
    Anthony

  39. I always make it a point to everyday working life that I say good about others and others to … It alleviates some of me whenever I tapped on my shoulder and when I do the same for your colleagues.

  40. I’ve been working for a client for more than 2 years offshore and I haven’t seen him in real life, only on webcams and pics but I am pretty sure I am making a difference in his life by helping his company grow and managing the people that he has.

  41. It doesn’t surprise me at all that altruism came out way higher than sex; in fact, what surprises me is that anyone would think otherwise (I like John Ralston Saul’s comment that Westerners tend to put far more expectations on sex to deliver meaning than that poor act is able to deliver).
    Dawud’s commentary gets to the heart of things. There’s been a lot of work done recently on how ‘social capital’ – that is, general trust and good will between humans – can promote business. But the post makes me realize that this gets it the wrong way round. We are all indeed in the business of (trying to) doing good to others. If we think that the profit motive is what underlies that impulse, we’ll just end up doing a worse job.

  42. I believe in karma and I think doing good for others, even in a business sense, will bring good fortune to you. Everything you do comes back to you.

  43. Hey, Dawud.

    I definitely get the most satisfaction out of doing pro bono work for a local women’s shelter than I do out of client work where I’m getting paid.

    I think it’s the altruism component, but the people at the women’s shelter are just really appreciative and it makes it worthwhile even if I’m not getting paid. On the other hand, clients who pay are often rude and obnoxious because they’re paying me.

    Cheers!
    Virgil

  44. Totally agree with Jacob. Karma, what comes around goes around. Believe it’s the way that you treat other people that reflects on how they will be treating us.

  45. Its important to do good things not only to feel good about yourself but there is something magical that happens when you help other people. And its so easy to help someone else.
    Like Jacob mentioned karama. Do good things and good things will happen.

  46. sure nice to think and care about our clients, but well.. to go so far in this attitude – do clients really expect us to make such a huge difference in their lives?
    Well maybe psychologist and such, yes, but other types of business? not sure :)

  47. I’ve been working for a client for more than 2 years offshore and I haven’t seen him in real life, only on webcams and pics but I am pretty sure I am making a difference in his life by helping his company grow and managing the people that he has.

  48. Its funny that even though the human mind naturally wants to help people that there is so much hate and war and evil things that humans do. you would think that would not be the case, given the results of the MIT study. Perhaps there is more to human consciousness than just what a brainwave monitor can pick up.

  49. I am helping people who are into many different things tie it all together in a way to make their lives full and satisfying.

    As a polymath, myself, I understand what a challenge it can be, when we are constantly told that we should pick one path and stick to it. It’s a lie, and I help others like myself find the truth – that you can do all the things you love and still make a healthy living that inspires you.

  50. Dawud, people like you are like a needle in a haystack. Many business owners and workers in general just try to get by, but it’s those people that go the extra mile for their clients that really make a difference, even if only in a small way. At the end of the day, making money is nice, but making money while making others happy is pretty fulfilling.

  51. Its funny that even though the human mind naturally wants to help people that there is so much hate and war and evil things that humans do. you would think that would not be the case, given the results of the MIT study. Perhaps there is more to human consciousness than just what a brainwave monitor can pick up.

  52. As in every endeavor, having a positive goal that benefits others will result to more joyful feeling & less stressful living.

  53. It works both ways. It’s a partnership. Providing what your client needs is not just enough. As a client myself, I make sure that my people are happy with what they’re doing.

  54. Yeah, I’m on board. For me it begins about the money, then i need the personal satisfaction to be there and knowing that i’m doing right by and helping my clients.

    Thanks/

  55. Interesting fact is how that porn guy commenting above has a soft hard. I guess there are hookers with a heart of gold…

  56. Ruth Bowman says:

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  57. used cars 4 sell says:

    The question of altruism is not an easy matter, and so that the person to help others must find the psychological comfort. In my opinion, can not happen unless it stems from a deep faith

  58. business of making people’s lives better? That sounds great, because most people doing such business only for money… Once they got them, they seem eaten by the earth!

  59. “Inspiration and genius–one and the same.” – Victor Hugo

  60. What a super article. And i agree – it not all about the money (anymore)

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