The one secret to excel at work without being on the defensive (from a noob’s perspective)

First of all, I got to admit that this secret isn’t my own and surprisingly enough I am not embarrassed to say that I stole it.

As Leonardo daVinci once said:

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal.

Not that I am an artist, but you know…it’s a cool thing to tell myself.

Given the fact that I don’t have a lot of experience in the workplace, I stole it from my mentor at work.

My mentor always seeks to help others without requesting anything in return. In Greek, we have a phrase for it:

Κάνε το καλό και ρίξτο στο γυαλό.

It means “do an act of kindness and then throw it in the sea.”

By “throw it in the sea,” we mean that you don’t expect to get help just because you helped others. There is no agenda behind any act of kindness; there is no ego involved.

Without further ado, the one secret (as you might have guessed) is “generously helping others to achieve what they want.”

My favorite Writer disagrees with me

Robert Green, in his book “The 48 Laws of Power,” describes how it would be better to keep what you know to yourself. Never reveal everything you know because then the world will have no use for you.

I respectfully disagree.

Sharing your knowledge gives you an air of confidence, in contrast with “hiding” that shows insecurity (at least to my point of view). Hiding usually comes with a great pride and a substantial amount of ego that diminishes your potential in accumulating new information. Goes hand in hand with the mindset, “I know all I have to know” and stops you from becoming even better.

Constructing your boundaries

Of course, life isn’t that simple. There have to be boundaries; otherwise, you might work all day to help others and then stay until noon to finish your own tasks. There aren’t any specific guidelines or rules (at least to my knowledge) for constructing boundaries. Each person bears the responsibility to build his or her “fences” and protect them.

But the fact that there are people in this world that teach every day with their actions the art of helping their colleagues, it’s inspiring as well as contagious to those who can appreciate it.


Helping others will nourish you by:

  • Building healthy relationships that are based on trust.
  • Accumulating new information yourself by being open to your colleagues’ knowledge.
  • Having a positive attitude and not being defensive about your work.

We can all learn the secret of helping others in our work — not clinging in the fear that they will take advantage of our knowledge by building healthy boundaries.

This article is dedicated to my mentor George, who every day teaches me the importance of helping our coworkers.

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