tea_sandwiches_heartI earned a spot working one of the most coveted parent volunteer roles at my daughter’s school – serving at the Valentine’s tea. The little boys look so dapper in their ties and coats and the girls take on a new air in their dress clothes. The teacher brings in lace linens and her grandmother’s china, a special treat for children aged 2-6 to use. It’s one of the sweetest days. The “pleases”, “thank you’s” and “no thank you’s” are abundant and the food is donated by loving parents – dainty tea sandwiches, tiny little scones and heart shaped muffins. I put on my server apron, I draped the white napkin over my arm (yes, we go all out!) and took my tongs and sandwich tray into the classroom ready to work. Going from table to table serving the little lovelies was more than magical – it was a reminder of my love of service and the power of service.

Some people like to go to the day spa to relax, I chill via work. My “ahhhh” time comes when I am volunteering for my daughter’s school, cleaning (I know, weird), cooking or serving my community or helping a friend. I’ve never been “like the other kids.”  Even for my first babysitting jobs, I didn’t just watch the children, I cleaned dishes and tidied up after the kids went to bed because I wanted the parents to come home and feel like they had less work to do. Serving others makes me happy.

When I had my first taxpaying job, selling bedding at JC Penney, I loved educating people about the right down comforter, the varying types, the pros, the cons and how they could save. Before I was even 18, I was winning customer service awards, the first time the word “service” was actually something I was aware of. At 18, when I moved out and was on my own, I got a more serious retail job to pay the bills and get myself through college. The world of selling cosmetics was all about reaching sales goals and increasing quotas and growing my business. The stress and pressure to sell, sell, sell made me completely stressed out, even though the underlying obligation I felt to serve my employer won over and I made and exceeded my goals.

After years in retail (JC Penney to Robinson’s May to Saks Fifth Avenue) then years selling ads in the dot-com boom (and bust), I finally got back to my roots. I left sales to go into marketing and was able to reconnect to my true passion – service. I love to be helpful and solve problems and while I was successful in my sales roles, the strain of “sell, sell, sell” was a conflict with my inherent desire to “serve, serve, serve.”

Whether I am cooking, cleaning, helping a client, volunteering or speaking, I do it to serve.

Service is in our genetic makeup, especially as women. Service is also critical to our success. It’s what makes us great nurturers, caretakers AND business leaders.

service_definedService can be defined in two ways:
a.) The action of helping or doing work for someone. “Our team is committed to providing strong marketing service.” synonyms: Favor, kindness, good turn, helping hand.

a.) 3rd person present: services.

b.) Perform routine maintenance or repair work on (your marketing vehicle or machine). “It is healthy to have your marketing serviced regularly.” synonyms: Tune-up, maintenance check, servicing, overhaul.

The best service (noun or verb) stems from a place of love. In all the years that I have supported passionate professionals in branding, building and boosting business, the most successful people are the ones who operate with a service mindset.

Life is too short to not do work that matters – as I wrote in another post, Do What You Love, Love What You Do!