hand shows 3d metallic success diagramFor those of you who know me, you’ll know I’m an avid Tweeter. I love keeping up to date with what’s going on in the PA, L&D and training world through the novelty of 140 characters. As I scrolled through my Twitter updates the other day I read this quote:

‘Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking ‘what’s in it for me?'”

I found myself frowning and puzzling over this quote as I wasn’t entirely sure that I agreed with it. The way the quote was worded and written bothered me – so I decided to ‘put pen to paper’ to share my thoughts and to explore the reasons why I was frowning.

Upon researching the quote I know it is attributed to Brian Tracy, a professional speaker and best selling author. His website looks professional and he is obviously successful himself – indeed his field of expertise is fostering personal and business success so one would assume he ‘practices what he preaches’. However, I’ve always been taught not to believe everything you read and I wanted to unpick this quote and to delve into its meaning a bit more. I’ve connected with Mr Tracy via Twitter and LinkedIn and want to thank him for sharing his quotation, for sparking my thought-provoking response.

I think the statement that ‘unsuccessful people are always asking ‘what’s in if for me?’is what is making me frown. This, to me, implies that thinking about the benefits of anything in terms of you, number one, are a negative, unsuccessful, thing to do.

It makes sense, indeed I would argue it is human nature, that we ask ‘what’s in it for me?’ for every and any situation. if we are to invest time, energy, resources and ultimately be committed to an event we need to understand what the worth is for ourselves. Interestingly the response to that very question may well be ‘because it gives me satisfaction in helping others to succeed’ (think about that in terms of the quote).

I’m writing this blog because I’ve thought about ‘what’s in it for me?’ – I’m satisfying my love and desire for writing, I’m getting my name (personal and business) known to prospective clients and I’m also gaining a sense of achievement that I’m helping others – I know I’m motivated by sharing knowledge and learning with others – I get a sense of achievement in imparting my ‘wise words’ indeed. This blog is my opportunity, my medium to help others.

If we were to change the quote then to read

‘Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others as well as asking ‘what’s in it for me?’

Or ‘unsuccessful people spend all their time thinking about what’s in it for me without thinking about what opportunities there are to help others’

then I would agree.

My belief then is that successful people ensure they maintain a balance between asking ‘what’s in if for me’ and what opportunities are presented to help others. Again, I’d like to personally thank Mr Tracy for sparking my thought-provoking response and would love to hear from you, my readers, with your own thoughts and ideas on the quotation.

About the author

Lindsay Taylor is the owner and Director of Executive Coaching and Training Organisation Your Excellency Limited. She is also the author of the blog ‘Wise Words Indeed’. You can follow Lindsay on Twitter: @your_excellency and @wisdom_pearls.

Related Posts