The Old Woman and The Sea Otters

Three years ago, I was sitting on the balcony of a hotel overlooking the beautiful scenery of Monterey Bay in Northern California. Seals barking, the smell of fresh clam chowder, and the occasional whale spotted out in the ocean. It truly was one of those little moments, we all should treasure.

But what gave me the most joy of all, was the fact, I was able to bring my grand-mother, 83 at the time, with our family on what would be one of her very few vacations. We got a wheel chair for her (against her insistence she was fine to walk. She was not:) and explored venues she had never been aware of in her long life.

From shops, to plays, museums, and great restaurants. My wife, three kids and her enjoyed a wonderful time. BTW, you really need to try the Calamari Eggplant Parmesan at Old Fisherman’s Grotto on the wharf. Life changing!

Then came a moment that almost shocked me, but made me realize something important. We were at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and my wife had taken the kids to see an exhibit, while my grand-mother and I took a break, looking out at the bay from an observation deck. She cleared her throat and took my hand, in which she placed a $20 bill.

She told me she knew it must be costing me a lot to pay for everything and she wanted to help.

It was not too long ago, I had lost my job and was forced to move, giving up our beautiful home at the time. So, it was with that reality, she could not understand that about a year later, I was able to take her and my family on such an expensive vacation.

Now, you may say, what does she think $20 is going to cover. But you need to know she lives on a fixed income of under $1000 a month. That $20 meant a lot more to her than most people.

I am not bragging about my exploits and successes, like so many want to do to establish credibility. Instead, I am bragging on HER actions. She had always been one to give whatever she could to help someone out. Even though, it was my time to give back to her, she still was thinking about helping me out, any way she could.

I think of this story often, when I am talking to someone I am helping via coaching or just conversing with in business.

What can I do to help them out?

The most impressive part of the story I just told, was not me having the resources to pay for fancy vacations. I have forgotten many of the things we even did. But, I will never forget a person who cared for me to offer me what she had to help me out.

When you are trying to get clients, try not to focus on all you have and what you can show to prove how great you are. It is much better to see a person as someone you care about enough to give what you have with no expectation of getting a paid contract back in return.

You may very well find yourself getting blessed with the trust and eventually the money of others, but make your motivation that of helping first and foremost.

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