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This Core Principle Will Bring You More Success When you're working so hard to build a successful business, focusing on giving and serving rather than getting seems almost counterintuitive. But it's not, and here's why.

By Krista Mashore Edited by Kara McIntyre

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I've thought a lot about the keys to my success as I've built my two businesses. It's principles like building trust, becoming an authority and being innovative. And one core principle that has had a major impact is an attitude of service. My motto has always been, "People before things. Take care of people and the things just come."

This is not a new concept. In the classic Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill talks about the principle of "doing more than paid for." About 15 years ago, Bob Burg and John D. Mann wrote a book called The Go-Giver that talks about the same principle. Yet people often think they need to be "go-getters" to be successful. They think they have to be cutthroat, focus on beating out the competition and getting as much as they can for what they offer. When you're working so hard to build a successful business, focusing on giving and serving rather than getting seems almost counterintuitive.

But research shows that people who concentrate on giving and serving are actually more successful than those who don't. Adam Grant, a professor of organizational psychology at Wharton, wrote a book called Give and Take that talks about dozens of studies on the power of generosity. In an interview for Scientific American he said, "I had many data points showing that the most successful people in a wide range of jobs are those who focus on contributing to others. The givers often outperform the matchers — those who seek an equal balance of giving and getting — as well as the takers, who aim to get more than they give."

I teach this principle to all my students and when they understand it and apply it, they're blown away by the results. Being a giver and having an attitude of service doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your goals and it doesn't mean you let people take advantage of you. Being a giver is the conscious decision to give more value than you expect to get back.

Related: 5 Strategies for Entrepreneurs to Improve Sales

Serving not selling

I teach my students that your focus is not about selling anybody anything. It's about giving your clients and your community real value in everything you do. It's making your clients' best interests your top priority, giving them everything they need and more than they expect.

Based on this attitude of service, you don't show up to a sales appointment saying, "Hey, look at me. I'm hot stuff. You should work with me." You show up saying, "How can I help you? How can I be of service to you? How can I add value to you?" — and you mean it sincerely. This attitude will translate into a ton of business. Just as important, it will let you sleep well at night! I've come from an attitude of service for years in real estate, and now in my training and coaching business. I was put on this planet to serve, to be of service and to give back. It's about how much I can give, not how much I can get.

Take your eyes off yourself

Have you ever been on a date where you spent the whole time worrying about how you were coming across? Or given a presentation where you were sweating bullets hoping that the audience liked you? When you focus on yourself, not only does it add a ton of pressure, but it makes you less effective. It keeps you from showing up as your authentic self and prevents you from connecting to others.

I used to be petrified whenever I had to speak in public. Like a lot of people, it was one of my worst fears! Now I regularly speak on stage to thousands of people — and I feel excited, not panicked. Before, it was all about, "Am I doing this right? Do they like me? Do I look okay?" Now, all I care about is what my audience needs, what benefit I can give them, and connecting with them.

Related: 4 Ways to Make the Best First Impression With Your Customers

Supporting not using

The attitude of service doesn't just apply to customers and clients. It's also about your team, your employees and outside contractors. We often think we need to "get the most out of" the people who work with or for us, so we drive them as hard as we drive ourselves. But people do their best work when we give them the support they need to succeed, when we are generous with our appreciation for what they do, when we give them opportunities and resources so they can shine. When you're generous with your team, when they feel like they are receiving as much or more than they're giving, they are eager to contribute their best.

To grow a highly successful business you can be proud of, I urge you to take your eyes off yourself, to think of serving, not selling and supporting not using. Try basing your actions and decisions on being a giver with an attitude of service, then stand back and watch your business flourish.

Krista Mashore

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Krista Mashore Coaching

Krista Mashore, named Yahoo Finance’s No. 1 Digital Marketer to Watch, runs two multi-million-dollar businesses and has authored four bestselling books. In the top 1% of coaches in the nation, Mashore has revolutionized the way professionals and entrepreneurs market themselves online.

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