the art of helping others

You know the stuff you do when you’re trying to get someone to think or feel differently when what you really want to do is tell them their attitude sucks- they can feel it.  People can feel it when you’re trying to fix them, and guess what, it ain’t gonna work.

You can’t get anyone to follow your lead if you haven’t first met them where they are. This is called pacing before leading.

Here’s the thing, there no lead to follow because how you want them to feel is not necessarily not how they want to feel or how they need to feel and it’s not for you to decide.  You can be leader, but you’re not a leader if you’re trying to “fix” people. People aren’t broken, they are simply in a “negative” state.

Before you decide how they should be feeling or acting, you may want to ask them first. You stand more of a chance of getting them to move (in any positive direction) if you’re nudging towards where they actually want to go vs where you think they “should” go.  Who are you to know what’s best for someone else (other than your children or partner, and even then).

Simple questions like how would you like to feel? What kind of positive forward movement do you think is feasible in this situation? Do you know anyone who’s experienced something like this and crossed over successfully.

START SLOWLY (yes, I actually shouted that).

No one is going to leap from one place to another in a single instant. The name of the game is relief (A.Hicks).  You want them to get some sort of improvement in how they are feeling, to stabilize that before moving on to another improvement jump. And this may take time – you can’t decide for them, you have to keep pacing people until they are ready.  You’re not doing anyone any favours if you’re going faster than they can move, you will lose them completely.  Again, it’s not where you want them to go at your pace – if you want to help the people you love, find out what they want, don’t impose what you think is right.

Then you can ask them what resources they have that they could apply in this situation to experience the desired outcome – always leaning towards a change of state and employment of resources, as these are internal and within their control.

Above and beyond all this, one of the most powerful tools you can use to pace, move and lead others is to tell them a story. Make one up, keep it general, lean it in the direction of improved thought and feeling.  Stories  disarm and empower. They don’t threaten anyone or highlight brokeness, instead they connect and inspire. It doesn’t matter if details are missing, the dots will connect, in the best possible way for the receiver.

And remember, sometimes people just need to be where they are, and that’s ok. To shit on someone for being in a negative state is not helping, it implies that you’re perfect and don’t have bad days or get into negative states.  We all do, whether we share, express them or not.

Finally, if you seek the light in others, you will see it and perpetuate more of it.Through your eyes, they will see their own and that of others as well.