November 18, 2018
A young man sits next to a wise man and thinks and thinks and thinks.
Finally he turns to the wise man and says, "I need your help."
The wise man says: "I can't help you."
The young man turns away and thinks and thinks and thinks.
Finally he turns back to the wise man and says: "I'm really struggling with this."
The wise man listens and nods. "I've been through that before. I'll tell you a story..."
When people come to you with problems, how do you respond?
When they offer a dilemma up for your consideration, what do you give them in return?
Maybe you've fallen into the trap of giving "advice."
And, unless they've hired you to do that, I've got some news for you:
Most people don't want you to "fix" their problems for them.
In fact it might appear to you, oh wise solver-of-problems and slayer-of-dragons, based on their reaction...
That what they REALLY want?
Is to keep stewing in the problem, which is making it YOUR problem, while calling it: "the need to vent."
Otherwise, why would they resent you when you offer up solutions?
Why would they shut down when you're just trying to HELP?
"You don't want my help?" We ask, incredulous.
"Fine -- keep your problems to yourself!"
And we grumble and say that THEY'RE the crazy one.
But what is it they really want?
They don't want to hear: "Stop doing that, and start doing x y and z instead."
They don't want to be lectured, instructed or taught.
They want to feel listened to.
They want to feel seen.
And they want to feel capable of solving their own gosh darn problems.
What you can do is remind them that they already have what they need.
You can listen, and say: "Yes, I know what you mean because I've been there before, and here's what has worked for me."
You might find that a story is all they need to start seeing the problem differently.
And seeing differently... is the first step toward solving differently.