I’m always anxious to review books recommended by friends. A friend of mine in the events business, Michael McCurry of Experient, recommended Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership by Steve Farber, suggesting that it would be life-changing.
The book strongly parallels Bob Burg’s The Go-Giver parable. But Greater Than Yourself (referred to in shorthand as “GTY”) emphasizes the giving principle in somewhat different ways from that book and other works on giving:
- Expand Yourself – There’s a wise old saying that says you can’t give away what you don’t have. A corollary statement is that helping the poor does not mean you should be one of them. These have been troubling issues for me over the years, since I grew up in a family that stressed giving until it hurt. Expanding yourself and all the resources you have means that you have more to share. As well, GTY stresses tithing, particularly of time, as opposed to just money.
- Succession – I encounter so many businesses, particularly family businesses, that have no succession plan. When the owner retires or dies, so does the business. What GTY stresses is that you are creating your replacements, people who can carry on your legacy. Building my legacy is something that I am working on, too.
- GTY “Projects” – GTY emphasizes that you take on “projects.” A project is a person that you deem worthy and capable of becoming greater than yourself. You give your project your time, attention, resources, and knowledge so that they can become so. This is in contrast to other “giving” strategies where you help anyone who has need.
I have to admit that while the GTY project concept has merit, it could make some people uncomfortable. The thought that you are someone’s “project” has undertones of superior/inferior. As well, some people may feel that the project recruiter may have ulterior motives. Whether this happens or not depends on the pre-existing relationship between the parties. In fact, I think in most cases you should not blatantly tell the person they’re a project. Simply offer your help, resources, time, etc. to those you deem worthy of your investment and then see how they respond.
I currently have three established GTY projects, although I never officially called them that until after reading this book. One knows she is, the other two don’t. All three have taken the resources I’ve shared and applied them to expand their horizons. Very gratifying indeed.
Let’s see… who will be my next project? Got a few in mind already.