We’ve all been there at some time or another. Whether it’s running off the rails, losing a job or even worse, a loved one, there are times in our lives when we feel dragged down by events seemingly beyond our own control. True friendship reveals itself when someone cares enough to provide support either emotionally, physically or financially.
Very often the people that care the most have been in similar circumstances themselves at some stage in their lives and realise the value of connecting those in need with those who can help. In the case of alcoholics, for example, sharing experiences and solutions with others who have struggled with the same affliction can establish a lifeline to extract them from the quagmire. There will always be recidivists and re-offenders but saving even a minority is better than none at all.
The key point here is the quality of the connection we establish and maintain with those whom we are trying to reach. This has a universal application, whether as a volunteer, charity worker or a marketer in the commercial world. Perhaps the adage “you can never say the wrong thing to the right person and you can never say the right thing to the wrong person” has some cogency here. The services that we offer may not have all the solutions, so we need to focus on those who are responding to us in a favorable manner. This is a first line of qualification.
The second line of qualification is a commitment to connect and transact according to mutually agreed objectives. A customer needs to understand what they are receiving in exchange for their contribution and to what they are binding themselves. Breaches of contract need to be clearly understood by both parties.
The third and final qualification is the establishment of ‘progress markers’ or milestones in the relationship. Incentives, rewards and loyalty programs have their place here, they provide a glue or scaffold to measure and monitor performance of both parties. These will form the basis of future testimonials from those who have received benefit from the program.
The focus here is on winners. There will always be losses involved but in the same way gold mining companies excavate tons of earth to extract a few grams of gold, the overburden is the ‘cost of doing business’.
None of us can save the world on our own but helping someone effectively can enable them to help others in a way that we can’t. Kindness has no linguistic barriers and is universally understood.
Our port-of-call may not have all the facilities to repair the damaged ship but can certainly offer shelter from the storm.
Who knows, one day we may need it ourselves.
What goes around, comes around.