A Coach and player had a disagreement. The Coach said “I am going to help you to be great”. The Player said,” I don’t want your help. I run faster than you, I jump higher than you and I am even stronger than you.” The coach was stopped dead in his tracks
Just recently I told someone something along the same lines. Their response to me was, “Did I ask for your help?” When you say you are going to help me I take it as condescending!
Coach and I felt the same thing; we were both stopped dead in our tracks. At first when this was said to me I was taken aback. How is helping condescending?
Think about the last time you were at the store and the clerk asked you, Can I help you? 9 out of 10 people respond. No, I am fine.
Is it because telling someone you are going to help them when they don’t ask for your help saying they can’t do something? Does it give off the impression you are superior to them?
So what does helping come down too? You have to earn the right to help. How do you do that? You have to earn the right to listen.
An 80-year-old grandfather went to his daughter’s house for Sunday dinner. When the meal was over, he announced that he was going to take a walk through the neighborhood. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes,” he said. But two hours had passed before he finally returned. “Sorry I’m late,” he said. “But I stopped to talk to an old friend and he just wouldn’t stop listening.”
In order to serve you have to listen. There is a reason listen and silent contain the same letter. So, how can you become a better listener? A mentor said to me, you have to make it not about you.
You have to learn how to serve others. Think about it. “I am going to help you or I am here to serve you. Which phrase brings down your defenses?
If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
― Will Smith
Here are three tips to serve vs. just helping.
- Meet people where they are at-Seek first to understand vs. seeking first to be understood- Appreciate who they are and where they are at. Be curious.
- Be willing to listen without being judgmental- A guys walks into class wearing his sunglasses. The teacher says take off your sunglasses. The young man says I rather not I am blind.
- Earn the right to listen and help- It’s about building trust. People first want to know if you care. Then they want to know if they can trust you. Once they know this you can begin to earn to right to listen to them and how you can truly serve them.
“It’s frustrating when our best efforts to help people fail. But if we could see life through their weary eyes and experience their trials with the same frayed emotions, we might understand why.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich
So the next time you are quick to thinking you are going to help someone ask yourself instead, “How can I serve you?”
Equip, Educate, Empower, and Encourage others to become better leaders!
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