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A Mindset of Serving Others

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A Mindset of Serving Others

A research study shows surprising results about what makes us take ownership of our work.

By Erika Mosse January 7, 2024
Remodeling sales rep in car
Being clear about your intention before a sales call can make a difference. | Photo: stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Pro Remodeler.

I have always been interested in the ways our mindset affects our work. So when I came across a class on how to enhance job performance with mindfulness techniques, the idea was especially intriguing to me.

I’d never seen a meditation class focused specifically on the workplace. In what ways could it be beneficial? I did a little research and what I learned has fascinating, and deeper, implications about human behavior.   

Today, more than half of surveyed American employers plan to offer on-site yoga or meditation classes to their employees this year, according to a recent Fidelity survey. With such large numbers, it makes sense that the effects of mindfulness practice on team members—from executives to call center reps­­­—has been well documented. But one surprising study from the University of Washington stood out. 

Respondents recalled an incident they felt guilty about. They then completed either a breathing meditation or a loving-kindness meditation. In breathing meditation, the idea is to focus on your breath as a tool to calm the mind and remain present. Loving-kindness involves sending goodwill to others in a clear, intentional way.

The team members who completed the breathing option reported feeling significantly less guilt afterward. Conversely, those in the loving-kindness group stated an increased need to apologize and make amends to those they had wronged.

In other words, breathing meditation is not a particularly helpful tool when it comes to personal accountability. This is because the practice (in that form anyway) focuses on yourself. In contrast, loving-kindness meditation shifts the emphasis to others, which increases compassion and empathy. 

Yet I believe that the benefits for a business go beyond team alignment. As the study shows, focusing on the well-being of other people, rather than your own, creates greater personal accountability and increases one’s desire to be a force of good in the world. 

So what does that mean for remodeling? 

Most business leaders know that involving their employees in efforts to help the local community results in a team that feels more connected to their work and to the company’s mission. There’s a powerful camaraderie when a group comes together in the service of others.

Yet I believe that the benefits of service go beyond team alignment. As the study showed, focusing on the well-being of other people rather than your own creates greater personal accountability and increases one’s desire to be a force of good in the world. 

It would be interesting to see if this idea could be applied more broadly. I wonder what would happen if you split remodeling salespeople into two groups and studied the effects of different thought patterns on each.

Before starting a sales call, Group 1 would be asked to sit in their car and focus for two minutes on their commission if they close that client. Group 2 would be tasked with spending the same two minutes envisioning themselves helping that homeowner gain happiness with a better living space.

Would there be a difference in close ratio? Customer service? Morale? I can’t say for sure. But what I can say is that as leaders, we can create a mindset in our team that we are there to serve others, whether it’s homeowners, colleagues, or trade partners. And that idea pays huge dividends. 


written by

Erika Mosse

Director of Content

Erika Mosse is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at emosse@sgcmail.com or 972.369.9212.

Comments (1)

  • Submitted by Briana Hetherington (not verified) on Tue, 01/09/2024 - 14:51



    What an insightful and thought-provoking article! The idea of incorporating mindfulness techniques, specifically meditation, into the workplace is truly fascinating. The study from the University of Washington sheds light on the nuanced impact of different meditation practices on personal accountability.

    The distinction between breathing meditation and loving-kindness meditation and their effects on guilt and personal responsibility is eye-opening. The emphasis on focusing outward in loving-kindness meditation, fostering compassion and empathy, aligns with the idea of being a force for good in the world. It's incredible to consider how these practices extend beyond team alignment and contribute to a desire for positive impact.

    Excellent article, this will help us all with our well being. The application of these principles to the remodeling industry, especially in considering the mindset of salespeople, is a compelling idea. The proposed experiment, comparing thought patterns before a sales call, raises intriguing questions about the potential impact on close ratios, customer service, and morale. It underscores the power of cultivating a mindset focused on serving others, whether they are homeowners, colleagues, or trade partners.

    As a leader, recognizing the value of instilling this mindset within a team is a powerful takeaway. The concept of being there to serve others resonates strongly, and it's inspiring to think about the significant dividends it can yield.

    Thank you for sharing this valuable perspective and sparking contemplation on the intersection of mindfulness, business, and personal accountability!

    Briana Hetherington

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