People’s only wish is that some simple, incontrovertible solution will magically appear and solve all of their problems.
That would take them off the hook. It would absolve them from having to do the dirty work of confronting themselves.
Unfortunately, human beings are more complicated can that. Nobody is black and white. Each person is alive with longings that cannot be satisfied by simple, prefabricated answers. One size fits one, not all.
And so, when somebody asks us for help, if we truly want to serve them in the most compassionate, empathetic and useful way, we must connect before we counsel. We must appreciate before we advise.
Maisel offers meaningful approach to these types of interactions in his book about humane helping:
If we are willing to step back and get some space between people and the things that are challenging them, we can invite them to crack through their defensiveness and denial and grapple with a complicated reality.
Imagine a coworker joins you for lunch one day. Clearly overwhelmed, she starts pining for advice about productivity and time management, a topic you have extensive experience with.
The fast and easy solution would be to offer her a few insights and quotes and book recommendations, a slap on the shoulder, a friendly off ya go mate, and then make your way back to the buffet line.
Exactly what she would expect.
But the humane solution would be to make a connection first. Knowing that all human beings rest at the nexus of a vast number of interwoven causes and conditions that influence their behavior, you take some time to find out who this person actually is.
What makes her tick. How her brain works. Where her motivational and value systems come from. Because the question is never the question. The problem is never the problem.
There are always several larger and more complicated forces at work.
Once you make that empathetic leap, then you can give her what she really needs.
Remember, simplifying things may help people make quick order of a complicated world that is full of shades of grey.
But there are as many answers as there are different human preferences.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you making connections before offering counsel?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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