32 Comments

  1. henefeld
    7/21/2011
    Reply

    thanks for posting that. you showed me another angle of my passion for cooking and baking for others, trying to meet special tastes of requests.

  2. dtac
    7/21/2011
    Reply

    This is so well said! Thank you for encouraging your readers to re-frame our perspectives!

  3. Allison
    7/21/2011
    Reply

    Great piece, and very resonant to me. I have had the great fortune to have worked for the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses for 7 years, where all of these themes of the joy of service and of “Servant Leadership” were embraced and taught and practiced. I have always looked back on my time there as an oasis of love and principle and caring and fun. Since leaving there, I have discovered that when I consistently give great service to others with nothing expected in return, even when everyone around me seems to have nothing but self interest to motivate them, something good happens. People start to be a little kinder, and to enjoy each other a bit more, are a bit more patient and focus more on accomplishing goals rather than constantly seeking a personal advantage.

    Thanks for writing this!

    • Food Woolf
      7/21/2011
      Reply

      Allison, thanks for your kind words. ZCOB are an incredible model for servant leadership and a business that actively practices service in everything they do. I appreciate your kind words and continuing to pay it forward! Thanks for coming by and reading! Best, Brooke

  4. Amen. I have actually had similar conversations with people. Everybody serves someone else. If they’re not, then what use are they in this world?

    Thank you for articulating it so well.

  5. Dear Brooke,

    I literally had chills as I read this and I feel like you were talking directly to me. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear this – especially after this morning when I received the nastiest email of my life from someone I thought was a friend but who apparently has an angry heart and is doing wildly cruel and devious things just to mess with me. The irony of course is that it revolved around my service to others and truly made me question why I continue to do what I do.
    Thank you for reminding me that in a nutshell service is really all there is in this world and that to give up is to let the “darkness” win.

    Wish I could give you a big hug in person so I’ll take a rain check on that:-)

    • Food Woolf
      7/21/2011
      Reply

      Nancy,
      I’m so glad this post had such good timing. I’m sorry you received that email today and that it shook you to the core. Keep strong, keep doing the good work, and remember that people who act out like that are individuals who let fear and pain rule their life. Not a pleasant place to be, for sure. Hugs back to you. xoxo, Brooke

  6. I totally agree with you, it’s like a boomerang in my opinion… if you give to others it will come back to you in spades.

  7. 7/22/2011
    Reply

    “Treat others as you want to be treated” is what I always tell my kids. And giving and being generous with your time and spirit will always come back to you ten-fold. Great piece, Brooke. Thanks for being so raw and honest!

  8. Such a beautiful dream Brooke. I agree with what you say in this post. Life is so much better when we give ourselves – carefully- to others :) xxoo

  9. 7/22/2011
    Reply

    Loved this post – life is just too short not to be nice! I always loved the character Mrs Do As You Would Be Done By in the Water Babies as a child – glad to be of service when it means reading such a heartfelt reminder. Sic Vos Non Vobis was my school motto and perhaps it should be Foodwolf’s ‘This you do, not for yourselves’.

  10. I agree with everything you said, Brooke. Ever since studying hospitality management in undergrad, I’ve had a similar view. It’s taken a while but I have learned over the years how to give productively so that it is constructive both for others and myself.

  11. Dyepotgirl
    7/23/2011
    Reply

    What a great article! I know exactly what you mean and I try to put Service in action every day. Most days it’s really easy, but occasionally it’s really a tremendous effort. Like when you don’t feel good, or you have a particularly rotten day and just don’t seem to have the energy to make the effort. If I manage to push through it I’m always amazed at how much better I feel, and how I get a recharge in the energy department. It’s like when I can tell a retail clerk or waitress is having a really bad day. I will make a little extra effort to be really nice and maybe to crack a joke to make them smile. It’s always worth the effort when you see someone who seemed to have the weight of the world on their shoulders relax a little, brighten up and smile. It makes my day.
    Service is a gift that we can give anytime and anywhere. To coin a phrase, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.” For me, when you boil Service down to it’s most basic essence, it’s really all about love. Loving and caring about what you do for a living, or some aspect of it. Caring about others, and trying to make the world just a little bit better, or life just a little bit easier for someone else just because you can. When you pack your husband’s lunch or a snack, you’re telling him you love him and care about him. You didn’t have to make him lunch but you did because you love him.When someone opens a door for another person, they are saying that they see this person, that they care and that person matters. Some people might think that my thoughts about this subject are sentimental, dated and naive. That nowadays, most people who still do things like open doors or other random acts of kindness are just doing it out of habit. I think they are wrong. Love is the one thing that we get to take with us when we die. Think about it. It’s probably the one thing in the whole universe that we can never run out of. It’s inextinguishable. So when we do something nice for someone else, when we care about what we do for a living or how we treat others, what we’re really doing is just spreading a little bit of love around. How cool is that! What an amazing gift to ourselves and others. I don’t know about you but I find that the great feeling that I get when I try to be of Service to others is really addictive. There are definitely worse thing to be addicted to. Great article! thanks so much for sharing it!

  12. Brooke, what a beautiful post. I work on the service side of the museum community, and I’m sharing this post with my clients. In my daily meditation, I have a phrase about, “Whenever I get too hung up on myself, I turn my attention to serving others.” It works every time. Thanks for sharing this in such an articulate way.

  13. Brooke, I think this is both lovely and true. So much of life is grinding and necessary, and the only two things that are reliably joyful and ennobling are love and service.

    You’re going through life with a focus on ennabling other people’s happiness, and spreading good will. And you can never, ever be made to feel small, even by the meanest of hearts, for the simple reason that you’re not small. You are so very large.

    I loved this post.

    • Food Woolf
      7/23/2011
      Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement, Tamar! It’s nice to know that the message of humble and generous service is big enough for all of us to share.
      xoxox, Brooke

  14. Awesome post and if everyone shared your views here the world would be a better place.

  15. What an inspiring post and one that everyone should read because I think we have forgotten what our grandparents once did naturally. Taking the time to put others’ requirements before our own is not something we are taught anymore, it’s all about “me” and “mine”. I think the concept of being of service to one another is one that needs to be revived for sure!

  16. christina
    8/1/2011
    Reply

    Yes. Emphatically, YES. Thank you for being the right words at the right time. Much love to you and H. ~ Christina

  17. Amen, sister! Service is a concept much in need of more focus in our world today, even in the so name “hospitality” industry. The New Testament names hospitality as a gift of the spirit- if only more of us remembered that.

  18. Amen! Generosity of spirit and resources and gifts always serves one well. Just had this same conversation with my teenagers!

    • Food Woolf
      8/6/2011
      Reply

      Thanks Shelley. And a double thanks for being such a great mom and teacher to your teenagers! What a great lesson to share with them.
      Best,
      Brooke

  19. [...] staff, and educate teams on how to give great service to customers. The more I teach the art of customer service, the more I realize that the work I do has roots in the ancient teachings of compassion and [...]

  20. 11/30/2011
    Reply

    Thank you so much for posting your thoughts on living a life of service. It’s exactly the theme I want to present at our company employee awards ceremony tomorrow. I usually begin this annual ceremony with a short (some years not so short but I’m trying!) “pep” talk on a topic that supports the underlying values we seek to encourage among our staff. In a nutshell this boils down to everyone doing their part to create a mutually supportive and respectful workplace. Last year the theme was gratitude and the strong link between feelings of gratitude and personal happiness. This year, while reviewing our employee of the month nominations the recurring theme of service kept popping into my head. It seemed to me that most of the monthly EOM award winners had one thing in common which prompted a nomination from their coworkers: they put the needs of another person before their own. One person went out of her way and put in extra effort to keep a colleague’s work caught up while the colleague was off on vacation – so the person wouldn’t have to return from her vacation to face a pile of work stacked up on her desk; another, who had her work caught up for the day, volunteered to help a neighboring dept. that was swamped – instead of hiding out at her desk surfing the web. I thought to myself: these people are putting the service of others first and in doing so they are contributing to a positive and productive workplace. I did a Google search to look for help finding the right words to present the topic of service to our staff tomorrow. Your comments popped up. I appreciate that you took the time to put “pen to paper.” Thank you. I have the impression that you won’t mind if I borrow some of your well spoken thoughts for our ceremony tomorrow. Thanks again.

  21. [...] when restaurants are your life, you can’t help but enjoy the dare. Can you go another hour without a meal? Is it possible to get [...]

  22. 4/27/2012
    Reply

    Thank you! The person that came to mind immediately is Mark Horstman of Manager Tools. He is a management consultant and philosopher extraordinaire on the art of service. If you ask him his title, he will say, “I am a servant.”

    An amazing guy and he and his business partner Mike are both great resources for anyone who manages people (and most of the content is free): http://www.manager-tools.com/

    • 5/1/2012
      Reply

      Andrea,thank you sooo much for the note and for introducing me to Mark’s site, http://www.manager-tools.com! What a great resource! Your timing couldn’t be better. There were a bunch of forms I really needed to see. Thank you!

  23. Kyleigh Gingrich
    8/31/2012
    Reply

    Kyleigh Gingrich
    Univ. 103.16F
    Dr. Braddy
    Reflection
    We were told to read the blog called “Service 101: Living a Life of Service” for our assignment. It was about a girl who realized that her purpose in life was to serve others. She enjoyed helping other people and seeing them happy, made her happy. She admitted that serving other people can be difficult at times, but in the end it is always worth it. I can relate to her to a certain extent. I grew up in a Christian home and we were always taught to be a servant to others and to put others before ourselves. Because of that I would always be doing some form of volunteer work with my church or school, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, last Thanksgiving my sister decided that she was so thankful for the things she had, that she decided to help in a soup kitchen. I joined her and together, along with other volunteers, we served homeless and worse-off people a hot and delicious Thanksgiving meal. We enjoyed helping so much that we helped again on Christmas Eve. Doing things for people makes you feel good inside, and that was a major point that the author of the blog was getting at. Helping those in need is a wonderful thing and is something that I truly enjoy doing.

  24. Colleen Mitchell
    3/10/2014
    Reply

    Thank you for this gift today! God bless you.

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