Why are you here - on this earth, this big sphere, right now? How's that for a casual conversation starter at your next backyard gathering?
There was a woman in her mid-40s who had experienced what most would consider enviable success. She had a beautiful family, an office with a view, lots of recognizable friends, and a wonderful set of sterling silverware she received as a child that had been passed down through the generations in her family.
About once a week, as she gently slipped into her evening rest, she had a recurring dream. It always started differently, but somehow ended the same. She would be in some different part of the world, with nothing but the clothes she was wearing and one set of her sterling silverware that her mom gave her — a fork, a spoon, and a knife.
Every time she had the dream, she could physically feel her heart beginning to race as she began gasping for her next breath, and she became frantic with facing the same three questions:
“Why am I here?”
“How do I get home?”
“Why do I have my silverware?”
In every dream, she began walking and looking around, in search of something that could possibly get her home. And in every dream, she would eventually run into the same kind stranger who would gently say the same thing to her:
“You don't really look like you're from around here. Are you lost?” And after a brief dialogue, the stranger would ultimately ask, “And If I may ask, why are you carrying that silverware?” She always replied, “I really don't know.”
After walking for what always seemed to be miles with the stranger, in no specific direction, they would eventually always stop. The stranger would look her in the eye and reaching for her silverware, he would ask, "What if I could get you home, but you have to give me your silverware first?"
Her reply was always the same. “Sir, this was my mother's mother's silver, and it's all I have left from them. And it’s all I have to make sure I don't starve to death and to protect myself in this strange land. How would I make it without it?”
The stranger always replied the same. “The way home is not reliant on what has been given to you, what you consume, or how you protect yourself. You see, the key to figuring out where you are and how you get home, is about how you use your silver.
“Silverware is a strange gift. It is a gift that has been given to you so you can give it away. The way home is by sharing it with others, allowing them to consume what you have to offer. By serving, you will discover the secret of success and fulfillment is how you use, and who uses your silver.” And then the stranger disappeared.What does this mean and who really cares?
Ultimately everyone asks the first question of “Why am I here?” You have already asked it at least once or you will at some point. The only ones who escape this question are the ones who find out early by leaving this world before the brain begins to process and question purpose. The question is for everyone.
The human body is also always searching to answer the lifelong question of "How do I get home?" The importance of home is that it is often something different for everyone. More than a house or family, home is a desired place of rest, peace, purpose, and security, and the escape of everything that is counter to these. For some, it is temporary and brief, and for others, it is more permanent and eternal. But as long as we are living, we are walking, running, and searching for something — something we perceive as and call home.
Finally, we all carry silverware. We all possess something that someone values. Some carry their silver as a badge of honor and achievement that they desperately want the world to see and acknowledge. Many hoard and store their silver for their personal purpose and betterment. Others carry their silver like shrapnel or an anchor from a past they fight to forget or overcome every day. And yet others carry their silver to donate and give so others can consume more in life.
Each morning the woman would wake up 60 seconds before her alarm went off. Still breathing heavily and with her heart rate gradually starting to slow, she would start her day with the same three questions from her dream.
"Why am I here?"
"How do I get home?"
"Why do I have my silverware?"
The answer was always the same to her and served as a reminder, but it may be different to you and me. In the end, here is what I know to be true. We are built to serve, and we serve to build. Our physical body and mind are programmed with internal hardware and software to help others. When we choose to exercise this ability and reject the offer to serve ourselves, we build something far greater than ourselves and even those we serve. We build purpose.
We are not here to simply consume and gain. We are most fulfilled and most successful when we serve others. It is impossible to be consumed with our own pain, sorrow, and demons if we are serving someone else. The mind and the body won't allow it. If you disagree, try it sometime. We all have a two-way service valve inside of us, and we either set it to seek to be served or seek to serve.
We are here to serve.
We find home when we serve.
We all have gifts to serve and share.
We are most fulfilled and successful when we serve.
Do you know the answers to the three questions? Maybe this is your alarm clock. Serving is the key to sales, leadership, family, and all relationships. It’s why we are here.
Dare to serve. Be Other-Centered®. Share your silverware.