Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

What's So Confusing About These 2 Words?

There's a two-word phrase I've been using a lot in recent years. The words have a pretty profound meaning behind them -- and they have everything to do with achieving creative success and fulfillment.

But I've discovered a surprising thing about them: These words are often misunderstood by many people.

Here they are: "serve others."

And here's an example of I how used them in a recent ezine:

"There's no better way to create your own prosperity than to engage yourself in something you are passionate about -- and that serves others in the process."

Sounds simple enough. But the disconnect comes when people think about "service" in one of two ways:

1) They think that being of service to others only takes place when you are raising money for charity or working in a soup kitchen. Wrong. Doing charity work is certainly admirable and is one great example of serving. But it's only one aspect of a much larger picture.

2) Another misguided notion is that "serving others" means you are subservient -- meaning you have to be submissive, compliant and obedient to authority. Nope. Actually, quite the opposite is true. Being of service to others is often one of the most self-empowering things you can do.

The kind of service I talk about takes place when you focus on the benefit that your talents deliver to people who are attracted to it. It takes center stage when you are driven more by the need to make people feel good via your music and creativity than you are to gain fame and fortune.

Having this attitude turns marketing into a completely new endeavor. It's not just about you and your needs. It becomes more about your audience and how you can spread your feel-good vibe to more and more people.

Dexter Bryant Jr. gets this. Here's part of an email he sent me last week:

I couldn't agree with you more, Bob!

The first time I read a Jay Conrad Levinson's Guerrilla Marketing book (about 10 months ago) my eyes were opened to new possibilities. My research since then, including reading your excellent Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, teaches me time and time again the value of engaging oneself with one's passions while also serving others.

It is the best life mantra I could ever want. I can't think of a better way to live a happy and fulfilling life than this. The gratification received from serving others is an unbelievable feeling in and of itself, but to be able to do that while pursuing your passions is amazing.

The connection between these two things for me is the ingredient to happiness in life. I have always been the type of person who was unwilling to accept an average 9-to-5 life doing work I wasn't interested in.

Discovering guerrilla marketing has truly changed my life. I never have to worry about a 9-to-5 or about retirement because I'll never tire of helping others and engaging my deepest passions.

A big thanks to Dexter for reminding us all of the keys to success and fulfillment!


Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookIf you don't own it yet, check out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.


  • That is a beautiful article, Bob. A lot of people would fear the term "Serve Others" because their life is already tippy-top full of serving themselves. It also carries connotations of commitment.

    To "serve others" can so easily be performed by anyone in their everyday life.

    It can be the big "thank you" smile. It can be starting work 15 minutes early and leaving 15 minutes late. It can be opening a door for someone. It can be offering your seat to an elderly person.

    So many simple ways that can mean so much to so many. The opportunities to serve abound and when enacted on a daily basis have a profoundly positive effect on the happiness meter of both the server and the served.



    By Blogger Doug Allitt, At 10:02 PM  

  • Great post, Bob! This should be required reading.

    I operate by asking the question "what can I do for you?"

    By Anonymous Jason Parker, At 12:50 PM  

  • Good article, thank you! I really like it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:58 PM  

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