In Life Coaching

helping others leads to happiness

Daily Thought: Trust and happiness leads to service. Service increases trust and happiness. Enter at either point, and you’ve stepping into the Virtuous Cycle

It was Spring 2007. I had three teenage coaching clients scheduled back to back. At that time we met in a conference room at the high school in southern Oregon where I developed the Academic Life Coaching Program. The conference room had floor to ceiling windows. It was beautiful, the perfect place for a life coaching session.

Spring in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley is glorious: sunny, blue skies, perfect temperature, and long. Spring seems to last forever, which was a totally weird phenomenon from someone who grew up in Pittsburgh and spent college years in Rhode Island.

I had been working with each client for a few months, and the Academic Life Coaching Program was working. Each student was getting better grades and doing better socially. Their parents were thrilled, and I was so looking forward to the coaching sessions. It felt like a victory lap celebrating the results of teenagers being proactive in their life.

What I didn’t realize at the time, although the research is consistent on the benefits of social service, was that each student I was working with was well on his or her way of completing the required service hours for that year.
The service requirement of the school had such a tremendous positive impact on students’ belief in taking action to make a difference. Being of service increased trust in others.

In those three life coaching sessions, each teenager expressed how happy things were turning out. It was like watching each student step into a virtuous cycle, where being proactive and being of service to others was having such a positive effect that made it easier and more exciting to be even more proactive and of even greater service to others.

We called it the ‘golden space,’ and the upward cycle is unmistakable.

You know you’re in the cycle when you start to trust that your actions make a difference in your own life and in the lives of others. Citizenship is when hope (belief + a plan) meets empathy and action.

What starts your positive cycle?

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Showing 3 comments
  • Randy

    This reminds me of the Starbucks phenomena that always seemed to occur around Christmas. People are thrilled to pass on the good karma when they receive a gift themselves. I think thats similar to the positive cycle.

    • Stewart Right

      Or the people could simply feel obligated to pay for the next person. I mean thats a lot of pressure to keep up a cycle of paying for others drinks. Think about it, if someone told you that each person had paid for the drink in front of them wouldn’t you feel like a jerk for breaking the ‘giving’ line?

      • Tarah

        Stewart, an idea that has gained popularity in some places is called “pending coffee” or food. Instead of being trapped in the line of giving, some patrons choose to pay for “pending” orders. The restaurant totals up the extra money on a tab and keeps it open for those in need, who can request a prepaid drink or food item. This way, there is no “giving” line, yet others are still being helped.

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