How to Put Others First

By Lindy Earl

Are you putting others first? You’ll find amazing reactions and responses when you consider others, and their needs, above your own.

I don’t mean the little things, although they are important.  Little things are opening doors for others or letting another driver go before you (as long as you don’t have a long line of cars behind you).

Putting others first means giving a colleague, vendor, client, neighbor, or family member their way, when it isn’t what you want.  I’m a morning person, and because of that, I’m not an evening person.  I prefer breakfast meetings to dinner meetings and coffee clutches to happy hours.  But, it’s not always about me.  Sometimes I can have my way, especially when I am meeting with other morning people.  Then we all win.  But sometimes I need to bite the bullet, take one for the team, and other adages and trite sayings.  Sometimes I schedule late afternoon and evening meetings, because it is best for others, or simply what they prefer. This puts them first, even when it is an inconvenience for me.

To put others first, you first need to know what others’ preferences are.  How?  Ask!  Tell them you’re able and willing to work around their schedule, or their preferences.  I’m not a Starbucks girl, but when meeting with certain colleagues, who I know are huge coffee fans, yes, I suggest Starbucks.  If you try, you can find something good about anything, such as Starbucks having delicious white hot chocolate.

Project a good attitude while you’re being considerate.  If you offer to let others choose the speaker, or entertainment, or venue, but make it clear you are unhappy with the choice, then you aren’t putting them first.  Decide to be open and amenable to whatever is chosen. You may find you enjoy something new, or maybe even learn something.

Thank others for their time, energy, effort, and ideas.  This really does put them first, as it gives credit to others.  I thanked my date half a dozen times recently for taking me to a Falcons game.  While he, also, enjoys the NFL, he really bought the tickets as a kindness to me.  Yes, he put my preferences first (even over his own wallet, I think).  And I put him first in letting him know I appreciated his thoughtfulness in choosing an activity he knew I would enjoy.  So it was a double win.  As he put me first, I put him first, all within three steps.

As you make an effort to put others first, it will become a habit.  Then it will be emulated, and you’ll find you’re the thought leader at work, with friends, and at home. All because you take into consideration others’ opinions, preferences, and choices, all with a good attitude.

Lindy is a Speaker, Consultant, and Writer.  Please contact her at for information on how to have her speak to or consult with your company or organization.