Too Busy

What if
we’re too busy
helping

to realize
that we
need help?

What if
we’re too busy
wanting

to realize
that we already
have it?

What if
we’re too busy
persuading

to realize
that we need only
ask for it.

How can I help?

For people in need of help
“How can I help?”
can be an overwhelming
question.

Instead,
listen and inquire deeply.

To unearth
their unconscious concerns.

Respect creatively.

To make value
from their unappreciated concerns.

Request permission.

Before sharing the load
of those specific concerns.

Be honest.

Enough to share
your own struggles.

And most importantly,
follow up.

Soon,
the need to ask
“How can I help?”
will vanish.

The Compassion Trap

A founder
was feeling burnt-out.

“When was your last vacation?” I asked.
He couldn’t remember.

“I can’t take one.
My employees are working.
I should be there to help them.” he added.

“What emotions do you experience
when you think of taking a vacation?” I asked.
“…Guilt.” he answered.
“Let that sink in.
That’s significant.” I remarked.

He first looked puzzled,
but soon his eyes widened
and he blurted out
“Oh!
I see!
We should all take a vacation!”

When we feel responsible for “others,”
it’s not unnatural
to feel concern
for their suffering.

With sufficient concern
it’s also not unnatural,
to want
to help.

This is known
as compassion.

Despite best intentions,
however,
the impact of compassion
can also make things worse for others,
and burn us out, as well.

Sometimes,
we need to tame our compassion
to put aside our need to help “others,”
and instead help our “self”
through a vulnerably creative process.

A process
by which we can realize empathy
unexpectedly,
and let emerge
a connected entity
“we”
between self and other.

A process
by which we can learn
a new choice of sight,
that synthesizes
an unpredicted form of help
that helps not other
not self,
but us.

An Alternative to Problem Solving

Most of us were trained
to problem solve.

Many also assume—
incorrectly—
that problem solving
is the best form of help
we can offer.

Such training and assumption
can serve us well
and poorly.

Because sometimes—
despite our best intentions—
problem solving
makes things worse.

If you’ve been accused
of being selfish,
lacking empathy,
or not caring,
despite your best efforts
to help your spouse
by solving their problem
you know what I mean.

When problem solving
makes things worse,
may we return
to our intention to help,
so as to learn
new choices.

Choices
that are actually helpful.
Choices
that improve things.
Choices
other than
problem solving.