I have been so fortunate to have amazing people in my life, some family, some friends, some so close I can’t tell the difference anymore. These people took their time to add value to me when they didn’t have to, and often when I didn’t make it easy for them.
Without the value these people added to me, I wouldn’t be a functional adult. I couldn’t pay bills, balance a checkbook, cook dinner, solve a complex problem, deal with interpersonal conflict, or manage my anger to mother my children.
How You Can Add Value To Someone Else
Adding value to others’ lives is both easier and harder than it seems. It is simple and straight-forward to add value to a person’s life. But it takes dedicated time and attention, as well as patience if they aren’t completely open to it. Here are some simple ways you can add value to others that I am trying to put into practice in my life.
Keep Your Mouth Shut
No one needs your criticism. This is a new revelation in my life, frankly. I just finished my audiobook of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends & Influence People. He makes it crystal clear that criticism is ineffective, unnecessary and hurtful. It serves no purpose for adding value to others.
I don’t know about you, but I have personally spent years thinking my criticism was helping people be better. I now realize it makes people not want to be around me, and believe that I am negative and even mean spirited.
Pay Them A Genuine Compliment
Notice something special or different and tell that person how it impacted you. Something simple to something simply amazing. Everyone needs to hear positive things about themselves. It can brighten someone’s whole day to be noticed.
Teach Them Something You Know
Instead of pointing out that someone knows very little about how to do something, take the time to show them how to do it. This is a great way to build a relationship with someone too. One way we have been adding value to our children recently is slowing down the process of preparing and serving meals. We include them in preparation, cooking, serving, and clean up. They love it and I think it’s skills that will really help them as teenagers and adults.
Sometimes just slowing down your pace is enough to create space for someone else to enjoy your company, especially when it comes to our children. I can get easily hyper-focused on task completion and get “In the zone” of needing to get things done. I’m not really approachable when I get into this mindset, getting super frustrated if I get derailed. For me, I have to remind myself often that to make opportunities to add value, I need to be putting less priority on tasks and more priority on others.
Give Them 100% Of Your Uninterrupted Attention
Like many overwhelmed mothers and fathers, I’m sure, I find it very challenging to not look at my phone when my child is telling me a story for the 14th time. I have to physically focus on not looking at it, remind myself to lean forward in interest, keep eye contact, and smile. I repeat back some of the things they are excited about. It’s called active listening. And you just cannot do it with your phone in your hand.
Have Hard Conversations
This week I have been reading Dare To Lead by Brene Brown. I am completely in love with this book, I’m over halfway and plan to listen to it again. She talks about adding value to others by having tough conversations, as she says, “rumbling with vulnerability”. This can be with a coworker, friend, family member, or spouse. It involves being transparent and genuine, expressing concerns in a kind and patient way, with the end goal to support and add value to the other person.
Adding value to others can mean being generous with your resources. It can be time, money, love, patience, kindness, and personal gifts. Generosity is severely underrated in my opinion. See a need and meet it if you can. There are unlimited ways you can change someone’s life with your generosity.
Putting Words Into Action
You have to understand, I needed the value others had to offer so badly. I needed the undivided time and attention from the staff at New Horizons. It was a sacrifice of their personal lives to live in a house full of troubled, angry teens.
Many of them had life experiences they shared. They shared their own personal testimonies with us, showed me the possibility of choosing an alternative ending. Best yet, they rumbled with vulnerability, confronting the darkness they saw in me.
My hope for my children is to add value to their lives every single day I spend with them. That way, when they need to know How To Make Important Life Decisions they’ll be prepared. I think it is the best use of my time. So instead of wanting them to have straight A’s and trying to get them to behave and comply, I want them to understand and grow. By being quiet and not telling them they are wrong, letting them have their own opinions and beliefs.
I can add value by allowing my kids to fail and creating opportunities for them to succeed. Letting them figure life out just like I did – the hard way if necessary, and add value where I can, in ways that encourage and support their independence and appreciation for the world and other people in it. Ultimately, I want my kids to realize there is more to life than just us.