If you interrupt the struggle of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, it will be crippled for life.
How do you know when to offer help and when to let someone to struggle (and possibly fail) in order to grow and learn?
Thursday Thoughts: Help is not always helpful.
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In addition to my regular leadership blog, I offer “Thursday Thoughts” – simple truths to remind you of what you know and provide an opportunity for reflection and deeper understanding.
This short post came as a pleasant surprise to a regular reader of your blog like me who is used to reading longer posts with lot of ideas packed in it. This new series may be a great way to balance longer posts with shorter bursts of insights.
Your post reminded me of a 100 word parable. Yes, our struggles are the biggest source of our strengths. It is so crucial to draw a line between when to offer help and when to step back and let the struggle reveal the lessons.
Thanks, Tanmay. Your 100 World Parables are inspiring, and your story about the butterfly is a wonderful complement to today’s Thursday Thought.
Love the idea Jesse!
And have asked similar questions: What’s the best way to help but not enable? …To show care, and encourage growth?
Ah… getting to the root of the question: the distinction between helping and enabling.
Thanks for your thoughts, Chery, and also for letting me know you like this approach.
Jesse, good – thought-provoking – thanks.
It would seem that the general context of the relationship is relevant to the issue of helping or not helping in a particular situation.
If the relationship is one of low trust, then not helping is probably is less likely to stimulate self-reflection that would make personal growth more likely. “My boss never helps. What a jerk.”
But if the relationship is one of high trust, then not helping in a particular situation might be noticed and signal that there is some sort of learning moment at hand. “Wow, my boss usually helps me out with stuff like this. I wonder why not now . . . this must be important for me to do by myself.”
Thanks for highlighting the variables that need to be considered when deciding whether to help or not.
I agree that trust is definitely a key one. When someone does’t trust you, an offer of help is not perceived as one. Another variable you point out is the history of the relationship and mutual expectations.
Much thanks for your thoughts, Joe.