Why helping is not always helpful

business woman

Are you a nice person?

Do you try to be helpful?

When people, like your kids, your team, your staff, come to you with a problem, do you love that feeling of being able to find a solution?

Me too!

Being helpful is a good thing.

Being tooooo helpful or attaching your self worth to the quality of your advice ........ well, that is the fast lane to burnout.

Most of us are so bloody busy that when someone shares their problem, we jump in after 30 seconds with advice and solutions. 

Often we don't spend enough time truly understanding the problem we are solving - or they want to solve. 

Our AGH!! (Advice Giving Habit) kicks in, and we send folk away with ill-fitting but well-intentioned advice.

Solving other people's problems quickly is seductive and very appealing. Yet the sad thing is if your advice doesn't work - and it probably won't - their failure becomes YOUR fault.

By constantly giving advice, we disempower others from finding their own solutions, and we encourage them to blame others (you) for their mistakes.

When we give advice too often:

  • we take away the risk
  • we take away problem-solving
  • we take away learning, and
  • we make people dependent on us. 

AND it's exhausting, so we:

  • burn out
  • get resentful
  • disengage ourselves

This is a simplistic representation, but you get the idea.

So what do we do instead?

The key is to notice when the impulse to give advice pops into your head and stay curious in the conversation for just a little while longer.

Listen a little longer.

Ask a simple question.

And resist the urge to rush to advice for just one more minute.

Here is a great video from Michael Bungay Stanier about  The Advice Monster

Why helping is not helpful.

Check out the podcast and video I did with Lisa Entwisle from Wellthy Living about why helping is not always helpful. Here we take a deep dive into The Drama Triangle - Victim, Rescuer, Persecutor. 



How could you be more curious and less helpful this week?

(Oh, you can absolutely carry on giving your advice if the person you are giving advice to is clueless, incapable of generating their own solutions OR if there is a fire and people want your opinion on the best way out of the building!!)


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