Committing to serve others can enrich our own lives

Huduma Centre
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Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Service is what we do for others. Every day, we serve those around us at home, at the workplace, and in our communities. We serve others by performing certain duties or taking actions and making decisions whose benefits go far and wide.

Service is at the heart of our lives as human beings. Mahatma Gandhi, a renowned lawyer who was at the centre of India’s independence, once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

When we serve, we become useful members of our families, workplaces, and communities. To only focus on ourselves denies us a major opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and the world at large.

In the private sector, service is what businesses do. Businesses serve different stakeholders. Businesses serve each other. Businesses also serve their employees, customers, and partners through the provision of products and services. Service largely involves people. It is the people in our businesses that serve others.

As a people, do we serve others wholeheartedly? As businesses, are we fully committed to the service of others? We can't function smoothly without many of the services provided by the private sector. Every service has its place in our lives.

For example, our communication is enabled by the services we receive from telecommunication companies and internet service providers. Our dedication to serving others should be evident in our everyday interactions with others and in what we stand for in the private sector.

In the public sector, governments serve others. First, governments serve their people. There are many services that citizens expect from the government. Most of the basic services are ordinarily provided by governments or government agencies. At the top of the mind for many citizens is the provision of water and sewerage, electricity, waste management, law enforcement, transportation, and road infrastructure.

Governments are also involved in the provision of education and health care services. Besides, governments provide licensing, regulatory, and compliance services, among many other services, to the wider public. The term "civil servant" is used to refer to someone that works in the public sector.

The main responsibility of civil servants is service to others. As we transition to a new administration, service to the people of Kenya should be a priority. Are we likely to witness a more citizen-centric approach to public service? Will the civil servants do their work well and with honesty? Will they show a full dedication to serving humankind?

To have lived a meaningful life, we must serve. Service to others is not always easy. It takes a considerable amount of effort, it takes courage, it takes commitment. Sometimes, it gets frustrating to be at the service of others.

Sometimes we may feel like giving up, and some give up. What should keep us going in the service of others is an understanding that being in the service of others is the right thing to do. Through service, we build our credibility, make a positive contribution, and the world becomes a better place for all. It is time to put service at the centre of our lives!

 Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy