Rebecca Johnson: Live To Serve

Management advice from Rebecca Johnson

Making life better for others can pick you up when the going gets (or stays) tough

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of INVISION.

So you didn’t get a raise this year ... again. Your office is understaffed and you are overworked. You’re tired of the same ol’ same ol’. How do you pick yourself up at times like these? You can start by serving others. Find a person to delight. Here’s how it happened to me:

A few years ago, I was scheduled to speak at SECO. I scheduled my arrival a few days early in anticipation of taking some classes and catching up with friends, but I began to feel a little under the weather the night before I left. By the time the plane landed in Atlanta, my throat was sore and I had a bad cough. So much for my plans to have fun: I wound up leaving my room only to present my courses.

The silver lining in the cloud came to me in the form of a hotel employee named Fawtou, who brought my dinner to the room. As I was signing the check, I mentioned to her that my plans to have fun were ruined because I was feeling bad. She told me that she hoped I’d feel better. This could have been the end of the story — but if it were, there would be no story.

"Find someone to delight today
and see how it comes full circle back to you.”

As I was eating my soup, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to a broadly smiling Fawtou with a “feel better tray” that included herbal teas, hot water, honey, lemons, saltine crackers, ginger ale, juice and ice. She told me that if I needed anything to call room service and ask for her by name.

Later, my room phone rang. It was Fawtou letting me know that her shift was almost over and she wanted to check on me before she left. I became Fawtou’s personal project during the time I stayed at the hotel. She checked on me every day with a fresh “feel better tray.” Not only was I totally delighted, but each time Fawtou showed up at my door, her smile was bigger. She was truly motivated by serving me!

Find someone who could use a serving of delight today and see how it comes full circle back to you. As Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

REBECCA JOHNSON is a 30-year veteran in the eyecare business. She is the executive director of Business Consultative Services for GPN and owner of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..