Are you really helping?

The story goes that a man comes in and asks his wife for help on something but before it’s all said and done, the wife completes the whole project for her husband because “it’s just easier that way.” 

In a couple weeks, he asks her for “help” on a similar project as before. She agrees but does the project for him again. This repeats multiple times throughout the course of the year and finally one day she says “Why don’t you learn to do this yourself? Why do I always have to help you with this?” 

The answer is within herself. When he came to her the very first time asking for help, instead of doing the project for him, she could’ve taken the time to teach him how to do it on his own right then and there. Thus, preventing herself from the irritation and time of having to do it for him repeatedly. “It was just easier”…but was it really? In the short term moment, maybe but big picture, was it really easier than taking a few extra minutes to teach him to do it himself?

As this situation unfolded before my very eyes, I heard him tell his wife “you’re more of a do the thing and I’m more of a ask for help on it kind of guy”. 

The problem is not with men and women. I see this issue with people of all ages, genders, stages in life, etc. We are becoming more and more a society of needing things given to us, done for us and asking not for help but to be enabled. Yes, I said it. 

See, helping is doing something for someone who cannot do it for themselves. Enabling is doing something for someone who can do it for themselves…a lot of the time, “because it’s just easier.” 

In that moment where we believe that it’s just easier if we do the project, several things are happening cognitively. First, we believe that it will take a lesser amount of time if we just do it ourselves instead of teaching others to do it. Secondly, we so arrogantly believe on some level that if we do it, at least it will be done right. Third, on that same level, we don’t believe in the ability or intelligence of the person asking for help. Think about that for a second. We are so arrogant to believe that we are better, smarter, more equipped to do the task than our counterpart. I will also add that too much of this starts to become a breeding ground for contempt- one of the most toxic traits to have infiltrate a marriage.

At the same time, let’s say for a minute that the person asking for help truly has the intention of learning in their asking for help. Well, you’ve just taken away their chance to better themselves by agreeing to help but doing it for them. 

Let’s flip that coin now and say that the person asking really doesn’t want help but is asking so it sounds like they do. This is a manipulation tactic to get someone to enable them. It’s entitlement, selfish, lazy and crossing a boundary that says “my time is more valuable than yours so I’m going to care not about the time you’re going to waste in doing something I could do but don’t want to.” 

As a parent, it’s easier for us to do something for our children than to see them fail as they learn. But in that, aren’t we failing as the parent by doing things for our children instead of teaching them to be independent and thrive without us? 

As a spouse, it would be easier to do all the things our partner asks of us but if, in the end, we are continuously harboring negative feelings for our partner because of it, we really only have ourselves to blame for allowing the disrespect and agreeing to enable them. 

As a boss, how are you creating an environment that promotes self-improvement, learning, and being a self-starter but also asking for help when it’s truly needed? 

Where are you helping? Where are you enabling? How can you honor your own boundaries and create better time management for yourself by saying no? In situations where you are asking, do you truly need help to learn or are you asking to be enabled?

XOXO,

Kameran

Is “NO” a struggle for you?

I spent most of my life saying yes to everything anyone asked me to do or help with because deep down I feared that I would let them down if I said no. After all, why would they ask if they didn’t really need my help? 

About 3 years ago, I started recognizing that people would come to me quite often asking for help and I always said yes, even if I had a magnificent amount of loathing for whatever it was they were asking for. But when I needed help and actually swallowed my pride enough to ask for that help, those same people were rarely there to help me. OUCH!. 

That’s when I realized that everyone falls into one of two categories. Those who have no problem saying No and those who struggle with it daily. Guess which category is happier? Hint: it’s not the strugglers. 

Well my friend, here are a few reasons why saying no is so dang hard. 

You’re a people pleaser. 
Plain and simple, you’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s your job to make others happy, to comply, to be the helper, and to always do the right thing. That translates in your head as “I have to say yes because if I say no, people won’t love me as much. They’ll be mad and that doesn’t feel good.” This level of thinking isn’t exactly true. As a recovering people pleaser myself, I can tell you that the need for approval runs a lot deeper than being able to say no. Saying yes all the time is only one symptom of the need for approval. However, it doesn’t feel good when you disappoint others. But I challenge you to think about these questions. First, when you say yes but you really wanted to say no, how do you feel while you’re carrying out the task asked of you? Chances are you feel just as bad because you know you said yes when you didn’t really want to do this thing in the first place. This is a problem because not only are you now giving 50% effort in the task, you’re harboring a lot of irritation, resentment and maybe even anger. How is that helping the person who asked for the help? How is it helping you? 

Secondly, when you say yes but really wanted to say no, you’re giving away your power over your time, energy, and priorities. With your actions, you’re telling the other person that they come before yourself. So if you say no, you’re telling that person that “hey! I’m really sorry but I matter. My time matters. My priorities matter.” You’re affirming that whatever you’re saying yes to (more time with family, friends, yourself, your money, your other resources) is more important than what they were asking for. So now ask yourself, if this person is disappointed in you putting yourself and your happiness over them, how good of a friend/loved one are they really? Who does that say more about, you or them? 

Next, I say this a lot in my coaching. There is a massive difference between helping and enabling. Helping is doing something for others that they can’t do themselves. Enabling is doing something for others that they can do for themselves, they just choose not to. Those who are enabled once will continue to come back to you knowing you’ll never say no to them and you’ll continue to enable them. They are like a leech. They’ll suck the energy right out of you and never move on until you start putting yourself first! Along with that, how are you helping them live into their fullest potential if you’re constantly enabling them and never setting those much needed boundaries? 

You fear the feeling of guilt. 

This goes hand in hand with being a people pleaser but it also runs much deeper. Why do you feel guilty? Now ask yourself Why again and a third time. Maybe journal on this. When you hit that 3rd why deep, you’ll uncover a monsterous breakthrough. Feel free to email me when you hit this breakthrough and let me know what you uncovered. I love hearing stories of people leveling up! 

Here’s how to calm the guilt though because Lord knows, learning to say no is not an overnight experience. So start by saying something like “That sounds interesting, let me check my calendar” or asking “Can I think about it?” You can even politely say something like “You know, I’m just not sure that I’m the right fit for that job but I sure appreciate you asking/thinking of me!” You don’t have to bluntly say NO, just don’t immediately say yes. Remember, if your heart and soul aren’t in it, you’ll end up giving 50% and find yourself in the toxic realm of resentment and negativity. Which is more beneficial in the long run for both of you? 50% effort or 100% effort? Positivity and joy or anger and resentment? 

I saw a shirt about a year ago and while I probably wouldn’t have worn it much, I still love the saying-
If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s gotta be a No. 

XOXO,

Kameran