One of the best things we can do is help fellow humanity out. I’ve read you can go fast by yourself, but I’ve been shown and told you can go farther as well as faster with others coming along with you. We’re linked. When those links are allowed to connect freely with out fear, incredible things take place.
The very glue that binds us all is our ability to help one another out. We are defined by these moments where we are reciprocal. No family exists with out it. You can’t play sports games with out it. Civilizations don’t exist with out it. We wouldn’t have accomplished much as a society if we didn’t regularly lean into one another to achieve things.
In what I have read and studied there really is three levels or categories of the type of help we can offer. Informal help is the most common. I experience this a lot at work. Helping someone get connected with another that can aide them in their goal work is a great example of informal help.
Semi-formal where there are a little more complicated issues outside of your knowledge, is the next category. A great example of this is the TV repair shop that fixed my TV. I certainly don’t have that training or know how to fix something so complicated. I have to pay someone to help repair it.
Formal is the third and most common category I like play in. These are highly qualified people that we seek out to help us. I needed a Dr to take out my appendix when it burst as a kid. This required someone that was a doctor to do the surgery. Someday it is my help that the IBtP and Well Podcast bloom into something that helps others professionally.
One of the things that we have to fight with inside of us is this transactional feeling that we’re not always aware is taking us over. If you scratch my back, well then I can scratch yours. Somehow in the human economy of people we’ve created this narrative of quid pro quo. We became more interested in the pay-off. What’s in it for me.
This pay-off is deeply embedded in our daily lives. We have to feel this equitable payback or we don’t jump to action. But, that’s not helping! If you gave money to a friend in need, and then expected them to say thanks or express in some manner gratitude towards you, it’s not helping it’s doing something and expecting something in return. So, how do we get over this?
I think we have to first understand what it’s like to be in need of help. Changing our posture to be like the person in front of us, helps us understand the altruistic ideas of why we need to help someone. When you needed help, you were at a total loss in your work to achieve something. Getting in touch with a remembrance of the deep anxiety you felt when you needed help, overrides that need to get something for helping someone.
When I get permission to help someone, I get super excited. This isn’t always a good thing when you’re the helper. When you’re too overly eager to help you miss the point of what they need because you’re too wrapped up in helping with your own agenda. The added danger as well is the person you’re helping may not want to tell you that you’re being destructive with your help or not helping. They don’t want to hurt your feelings. How can we be more effective so that both parties, the helped and the helper, get the benefit of each other in the process?
Start with a very humble inquiry. 80% listen and 20% talk. Helping people I’ve discovered is all about listening and doing a lot less talking. We need the full story of the person that wants the help. I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and probe, which helps me talk less so I can hear the story to each question. It puts both the helper and helped on equal ground so it works more effectively when helping. This asking and listening more than you talking as the helper also helps to restore confidence in the person needing your help.
The landscape of help has changed with today’s social dynamics. When receiving help others can feel like their status is diminished or they might be seen as weak. Assist others and be sensitive to these dynamics. Putting yourself in their shoes, listening actively, and showing humility as you inquire puts you into a posture to be an incredible helper.
Get out there! The world needs you!