My 4 S Philosophy: Skill, Sales, Service, and Self

This title refers to the four dimensions of a vision that I have for success, and they can be applied to any field, though I usually write about translation, interpreting, and document review specifically. Skill and sales mean having a great product and also letting people know about it, while service and self mean that we need to contribute to our community (associations, colleagues, family, etc.), which includes our own selves and our sense of well-being and happiness. So the two pairs are technical and personal, respectively.


Today the topic is self. Some people, when they think of self do not like the word. Immediately words such as “selfish” come to mind. Selfish people always put themselves first, do not love others as themselves, and will take but not give. This kind of person will not do well in a community of people who understand why it is good to give and take and who also find joy in it.

In fact, when I originally thought of my 4 S philosophy I put self last with just that idea: put self last, after skill, sales, and service. I didn’t want to be a selfish person so I would show this by placing it last on the list. But today we are going to put self first. The idea today is to discuss why placing a priority on yourself is good for you and to offer some suggestions that may be relevant to your professional and/or personal life.

Placing a Priority on Yourself is Not Being a Selfish Person

Even your best friend, your partner, your wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, your dog, or any other person or thing upon which you may rely in order to be or feel successful and happy will eventually let you down in some way. And vice versa. No one, including ourselves, is perfect. We cannot completely rely on others to take care of us. And if you have ever found yourself in a dark place, a hole that just dug itself, you are not alone. Sometimes the only way to improve your situation is to realize that YOU have to improve your situation.

Maybe you’re not in a dark place. I certainly hope not. But without judging anyone or saying who needs to share more or who needs to focus on self more, I’m not writing to people who feel satisfied and happy today. I am exclusively writing to people who are not doing marvelously. Today I am trying to reach the person that just does not know what to do, someone who is lost, or someone who just needs a little support.

Placing a priority on yourself is not being a selfish person because you, not others, who certainly have their own problems, are your only hope for seeing sun on your face again.

What to Do

There are emergency issues and medium-term issues, and long-term issues. First we need to focus on the emergency problems (money or health for example). But we can’t forget that there are other issues that are equally important for sustained happiness but don’t represent an immediate threat (loneliness for example), and long-term issues too (future living situation?). This reminds me of a business success book I read once, the title of which you may remember but I don’t. It’s a model for growth, regardless of whether you need to fix problems or just move forward. We need to balance our long-term and short-term goals always.

However, if you are in a dark place either personally or professionally or both, your main concerns probably lie in the emergency problem category and you don’t know what to do.

I think deep down we already know the answer to our problems, or at least we can see general direction in which we need to go and for one reason or another we are unable or unwilling to go down that path. The trick is to love ourselves enough (no one else can, and it might not be anyone else’s responsibility to do so) to give ourselves permission to take self-edifying steps towards self-worth, self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love. That’s tough to do for some people. Maybe you don’t know how to love yourself because you feel no one ever showed you how. I want to show you how. I love you. I want you to be successful. I want you to have sun on your face and to laugh until tears roll down your face. I want you to have enough money for everything you need and more. Take care of yourself! I have a friend who was so sad after a divorce that he hugged himself in his car for hours. God how I feel for a sadness like that and wish that friend a happy life. I have a friend who told me once when I was having a big problem: “Don’t even think about holding back those tears.” It’s good to cry. It doesn’t mean you are weak.

Dress up. Exercise. Eat nutritious food and drink lots of water. Do something you’re afraid to do. Forgive your grudge with somebody. Don’t waste your time with people who make you feel bad. I don’t know. For everyone it will be different. But the trick is to first build a solid foundation. You are the foundation, the center of your own community. Once you are strong, then you can help others, share with others, love others. But first YOU.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments or ideas.

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