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Throughout my lifetime I have observed the most successful people around me are measured not by how much money they have, but rather how truly selfless they are or have been in their lifetimes.

The other thing I have observed is those who have a philosophy of service to others are the same successful people, while those who have a philosophy of stepping on the heads of others to get themselves to the top of their industry are forgotten or used as examples of failure as opposed to success.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting and working for income that makes our lives and the lives of those we love better. But how we go about acquiring that money is the difference between success and failure.

From the time we start working we are taught philosophies of competition. We hear things like:

“The way to get ahead is to do better than anyone else in your team,” “If you want to grow in this company you need to show me how you do what needs to be done better than anyone else,” or “If you put in the hours with your job, and focus on making yourself better than anyone else, you can advance.”

That language may seem to be goal-focused and you may ask yourself what’s wrong with that thinking.

The answer is simple. None of those statements will help you develop a selfless philosophy and help you to grow. I offer to you the following changes to those statements to make them far more powerful in your life:

“The way to get ahead is to find out who on your team needs your expertise so you can help them grow and do better,” “If you want to grow in this company you need to find ways to help your team grow together,” and “If you put in the hours with your job, and focus on making yourself better at enabling your team to grow, you will advance.”

I know it seems subtle, but the difference is very dramatic. Do you want to be remembered as someone who made his/her money on the backs of others, or do you want to be remembered as someone who became successful and wealthy through selfless acts toward others throughout your lifetime?

For most of us, the emotional feedback is our key to whether we are following a selfless path or a selfish path. If at the end of a day you feel tired and empty and in need of recharging – and you are focused on “hump-day” or “the weekend” – you are likely following a largely selfish path.

If at the end of the day you feel fulfilled and happy and are looking forward to the coming days without feeling a need for a break, you are most likely following a selfless path. It’s entirely up to you which path you choose.

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Randy Martinsen is the president/CEO of BudgetWorks Inc., a full-service marketing and business operations consulting firm. He can be reached at 707-206-6443 or randym@budgetworks.net.

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