“Helping doesn’t always help.”
Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer
Image from Unsplash by Wonderland
In his work, Meditations, Marcus Aurelius stated:
“Joy for human beings lies in proper human work and proper human work consists in: acts of kindness to other human beings…”
How have you been trying to help others in your various communities these past few months?
How have others accepted your acts of kindness and service?
How have your good intentions and efforts, on certain occasions, not helped or improved the situation?
It seems that despite our own best efforts to put forth what we perceive as our best human work, others in our world do not always see it as such and sometimes don’t seem to benefit.
At these times, your generous intentions and efforts can be replaced by far less pleasant emotions, leaving us clueless.
Consider the idea that you are speaking to a loved one or someone you care about in a new language that they do not understand or appreciate. What might be the benefit of listening for greater understanding and learning more about the language they are speaking?
“You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero.”
—Ricky Maye, writer and public speaker
Image from Unsplash by H. Shaw
I recently had a small basal cell carcinoma removed from my back. Once I got the OK from my insurance company (which took weeks), my dermatologist took a good sized chunk out of me, to make sure he had a significant margin of clean tissue. This left a two-inch boo-boo with numerous sutures.
The wound care instructions required periodic dressing changes which I was unable to do on my own due to the location of the wound. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town supporting my dad with his assisted living efforts. Vidal – and a few other folks who go to my health club – came to my rescue and patched me up.
Who are the heroes in your personal and professional communities? How can you more fully acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to your life? Where and with whom can you don your own cape to be a hero to others in your world?
“Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.”
—Ric Ocasek, late vocalist, guitarist and songwriter
Image from Unsplash by Zan
There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.
From the day we are born, our parents, family members, friends, teachers, counselors, mentors, and coaches have helped us along the way. If you look closely at these moments, you will likely see considerable happiness and smiles on their individual faces.
As we get older and gain more independence, many of us become reluctant, even resistant, to the assistance of others, because we don’t wish to impose or put them out.
How often have you stood proudly in your stubborn, I can do it myself shoes?
Where and with whom could you request assistance on an important matter to demonstrate how much you value them, and providing them the pleasure of being helpful?
Who in your world may be reluctant to ask you for a helping hand?
“How can I help more people?”
Image from Unsplash by Toa Hefitba
Research has shown that a critical component to a purposeful, happy life is helping others.
Consider how you currently help others in your personal and professional communities.
What contribution and difference have you made at this point in your life?
Each day, we allocate our time and energies. At some point we run out of gas and need a recharge. Beyond our own efforts to efficiently use these resources, how might you leverage yourself to make a ten-times or 100-times impact?
The Quotable Coach Blog and the book based on this series is one way I’ve chosen to assist people well beyond my geographic reach to better their lives.
You are welcome to explore the almost 2,000 posts written over the past 8 years, by checking out the drop-down category list when you scroll down the home page.
What leveraged activity can and will you pursue to help even more people in the years ahead? Feel free to reply to this post with some actions you intend to take.
“Don’t be smart, be helpful.”
Image created in Canva
How do you participate in your professional and personal communities? How often do you find yourself sharing your knowledge, life experiences, and wisdom with others? What is your talk-to-listen ratio?
What if a trusted colleague or significant other took a survey of ten people in each of your communities, asking exactly how helpful you were through your various interactions? How would you score?
Using big esoteric words to communicate a simple point just annoys people. Before you speak today, ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say just me trying to be smart, or is it actually helpful?”
It is, of course, OK to be both on occasion.
“How Can I Help?”
Being helpful and serving others is one of the most satisfying ways to spend our days. Such acts give our days meaning and purpose.
Unfortunately, our efforts to help and serve others do not always result in positive outcomes and the appreciation we hope to receive.
Why do so many of us get this wrong by solving other’s problems, providing advice, or doing the job ourselves?
The quick answer is that our authentic gesture was not seen in the light of helpfulness we intended.
Consider the direct approach of asking others, “How can I help?” This will allow you to see through their lens of contribution and hit the bulls-eye of helpfulness every time.
“The world truly does require your help.”
—Whoopi Goldberg, Comedian and actor
I have a vivid memory of my mom and my older sister Susie reading me a special book titled “We Help Mommy,” when I was about three or four years old. The gist of the book was that all family members, no matter how young or small, could do their part to improve the world around them—in my case, our home.
Some ways I could help were picking up my toys, raking leaves, washing the car with dad, setting the table, drying dishes, and of course, using that powerful torpedo-looking vacuum.
Although I now see that book as parental propaganda, I can still recall the feeling of satisfaction from a job well done, topped off with a hug or acknowledgement from my mom.
Explore all the worlds in which you participate, from the small and intimate to the large and expansive.
What strengths, gifts, talents, or other contributions can you mobilize and generously offer today in your world that truly require your help?