My friend and business partner Sammy Gonzalez has developed a habit that I incredibly admire and respect.  He regularly ends his 1 on 1 meetings and general conversations by simply asking the question, “What can I do to help you?”  More importantly, he actually means it and acts upon it.

We live in a world where most of us attempt to take on the trivial tasks, challenges, and trials of life by ourselves, often because we don’t want to burden others with our needs or we are slightly embarrassed to admit that the help could actually do us some good.  Speaking for myself, when someone sincerely offers their help for just about anything, I am much more likely to accept their assistance as opposed to the likelihood of having made an initial effort to ask for help myself.  This is why I love Sammy’s consistent approach of asking the question to people he meets.

More often than not, the answer he receives from the question sounds something like, ‘I’m good,” or, “Nothing right now,” or playfully, “I could use a million dollars by next week.”

However, he also receives honest responses that offer opportunities where he can truly help.  Perhaps the other person is interested in a career change and could use a connection or an introduction to someone in his professional network which might lead to a new job opportunity.  Maybe the person is looking for suggestions for a great restaurant, a new book to read, help with a task at their home, or ideas for a short vacation trip to take their family.  Greater yet, the individual might be facing a difficult life challenge, and simply having a person available to listen to their struggles and help point them in the right direction is a powerful effect of service.  It’s amazing how small acts of kindness implemented sincerely and consistently can make a big impact on each and every one of us.

I think this small habit of unselfishness is one of the most selfish things Sammy, or anyone, can do.  I say this because I believe serving and helping others, whether through big or small acts of compassion, brings forth a sense of joy that outlasts just about any material accomplishment a person can ever achieve. If serving others is a priority for your life’s purpose, you can help many more people by simply asking how.

Whether in personal life or professional life, “together” is always better.  Will you end your next conversation by sincerely asking, “What can I do to help you?”  I will.