I have received a lot of help from people over the years, mostly from my two “big” brothers. As the only daughter of my parents and one considerably younger than my two dear brothers, I have turned to each of them on countless occasions for all kinds of help, including financial, advice on how to handle a difficult situation with our mother, and general life counseling. In addition to my brothers, I am also fortunate to have two fantastic sisters-in-law, both of whom were dating my brothers before I was born and both of whom I have always considered my sister. None of these four important people have ever refused to help me when I needed their help. I still call one or both of my brothers when I am faced with an important decision; a little sister is always a little sister regardless of chronological age. I asked my brother Frank one time if he ever tired of helping me. His answer was, “No, I enjoy helping you and helping other people too.” I, too, enjoy helping people. It is, after all, what I do for a living. As a social psychologist and co-owner of a company that provides jury and other litigation research and consultation services to attorneys involved in high stakes litigation, I am retained by my clients because they need my help. My help comes in the form of providing advice on trial, mediation, and arbitration strategies and sometimes includes telling a client something they might not want or expect to hear, but something they know will ultimately help them with their case. In addition to the help I provide to clients, for which I am paid, I help other clients on pro bono cases, meaning, of course, I do not get paid for my work. Whether or not I am getting paid for helping my clients (not to mention countless friends and family members who ask me for advice after work hours), I, like my brothers, enjoy helping people by making a positive contribution in their lives. Take it from me: helping people is good for the person who provides the help as well as the person who is fortunate in receiving it. Thanks, big brothers!
I grew up with parents who were always willing to help others. They would quickly invite my friends to visit, or come to dinner, including a near ritual Sunday night pizza feast that usually included several friends. In an open and non judgmental way, they were always willing to include an array of friends. My Dad is still willing to do whatever he can to help others – for example, he often lends his pick up truck to friends who are moving or need a truck to haul things. And, perhaps through these example, I have learned to be open in a similar fashion to helping others. Beyond my parents, I have benefitted from the help of others, including teachers and people about whom whole blogs have now been written. Over the years of operating Magnus, and even my photography business, I have had opportunities to help others with whatever services I was providing. Now, more than ever, that help is career development help and guidance for some of our employees. Just as was done for me, it has been “my turn” to write reference letters for graduate school or career opportunities. Helping others is one of those things that make the world go around. Yet, there are many people who are takers, not givers, and who, as a result, will never understand the satisfaction that comes from being able to help others.