The ‘what’s in it for me’ station |

The ‘what’s in it for me’ station

Have you ever heard of that radio station WIIFM? You know the one that we seem to be most tuned into, “What’s in it for me?”

Many of us, if not all of us, are motivated or have been motivated by this concept at some point in our lives. And unfortunately and sadly, there are some people who are only motivated by this belief system.

The good news is that there are many people who listen to another radio station, WCIDFY, “What can I do for you?” They aren’t concerned about what they get out of it, they are truly just motivated to help out whoever they can, whenever they can and wherever they can. They aren’t looking for any trade-offs or “I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you’ll-scratch-mine” type of reward or barter. They are simply giving from an attitude of gratitude.

As a people, our differences are what make life interesting and each encounter unique. The person who is wired with the belief system that there must be reciprocity in all situations isn’t necessarily wrong. And the person who operates out of a pure altruistic philosophy is not always necessarily right. Could it be that there really is no right or wrong, and that the whole idea of WIIFM or WCIDFY are just two different frequencies that we tune into based on who we are or what is happening in our lives at that moment?

The sales person who is motivated only by a commission check will absolutely only spend time with customers or prospects where there is a high degree of confidence that the amount of time invested will yield a bigger return in commissions. Yet there are other sales people who focus on solving problems for customers, helping their clients find the right solution and are driven by their clients success, not their own income. The interesting thing is this: When I interview sales people and business professionals from many industries, it is the sales person in the latter category that generates more income consistently over time. They are tuned into WCIDFY, “What can I do for you?”

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It’s not just sales professionals. What would all of our relationships be like if we changed our thinking and tuned into a new radio station, moving away from WIIFM to WCIDFY? I know it’s hard for some people to get their head around the concept of doing something, anything, for someone else and not receive something back in return. We live in a very competitive, dog-eat-dog, and rat race of a society sometimes, and it is easy, or should I say, seems easier to barter, negotiate and cover our backsides, remaining “self” focused instead of “others” focused. Because, the thinking is this, “If I am looking out for everyone else, who is watching out for me?”

As a believer of the “what-can-I-do-for-you?” philosophy, I am never worried about who is watching out for me, as I fully expect that I will watch out for myself and just hold myself accountable for what happens to me in my life. But a strange thing happens and has happened throughout my life. I have found that the more that I do for others, and the more I give of myself for causes greater than my own, the more I find others are here for me, too, and that more good things happen in my life.

How about you? Are you more tuned into the WIIFM radio, or have you experienced the benefits of listening in on the WCIDFY station? I would love to hear all about it at goto When we live our lives to help others, with no expectation of anything in return, it truly will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of He writes a weekly motivational column.

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