“If you have a purpose of helping others, then why are you helping people that only help themselves?”
That’s a good question. One that I’ve been asking myself lately. There are some definite pros to helping athletes and others who compete. The results are easily measured and so clearly visible. A placement, a rank, a medal. And my contribution can be discerned. But to help someone win competitions implies helping them to focus – on that specific result, to the exclusion of almost everything else. This is the essence of Two Lengths of the Pool when applied to people who compete. To help people focus on competitive results is to help people become more egotistical. Because so many other parts of life and empathy need to go ta make place for that top position. For glory. For The Win.
I help all kinds of people – from athletes to housewives. And that is why I have come to ask myself this question. Because I can compare so many people I’ve helped. And while helping an athlete win gold is really fun, helping someone with a purpose to help others is far more rewarding in the long run – for the person I help. If the person wants to win a competition, I have to help him become more focused, more egotistical. If the person wants to help others, I have to help him to open up and become more empathetic.
This is the moral dilemma inherent in the question. But it’s not quite a rhetorical question, as maybe a balance is needed?
Here’s life from Geir’s point of view:
Not even close to complete or even correct, but it’s a start.
Business people, salesmen, game theory mathematicians, Donald Trump and negotiators would advice you to get the best deal possible. And the best deal would often amount to getting the biggest share of the pie that you can possibly get.
While that strategy may get you rich when selling refrigerators to Eskimos, it is not the best long term strategy for a partnership.
Whenever you try to get a bigger piece of the pie, the other parties gets less. And their motivation for baking pie suffers proportionally.
Trying to get the “best deal” by getting an unfair portion may be a viable short term strategy. But in the long run it kills partnerships.
The best way to ensure affluent pie making and long term profit is for every party to insist on a fair deal for everyone involved.
The best strategy is not to simply cater for one’s own interests. It is to cater for everyone’s interest. Putting my interest first hurts the other parties’ interests and kills off that much motivation to make the partnership work in the long run.
The best strategy would be to impress as much as you can by delivering value to the partnership as often as you can. Give life to the partnership by continually giving and insisting on a fair deal for everyone involved. Empathy, transparency, putting all cards on the table and dropping all chess gaming are keys to a good partnership. Don’t do tactics. Don’t do strategies. Just ensure everyone succeeds.
“I am struggling in my job. I don’t know if I should quit my job or continue. And if I continue, whether I should focus on this or that or the other thing. Is this type of work even for me? I feel exhausted. Not much positive feedback, and I don’t really know if what I’m doing is valuable for the company, for any customers or for other employees. I feel kinda lost. What should I do?”
He looked at me across the table. Across his cup of coffee, and mine. I started out slowly:
“You know, there’s stacks of books written about this, countless methodologies and coaching practices addressing these kinds of issues.”
He looked eagerly at me, waiting for some book or methodology that would match his complex problem. Some kind of intricate way of resolving his issues. But then I went on:
“But really, it boils down to just one simple concept. Just one.”
He looked sorta disappointed. Like I was about to invalidate his complex problem or insult his intelligence.
“You only need to impress.”
“Yes, impress your customer, your boss, your colleague, your wife, your kids, yourself. But impress by delivering something of value. Impress your customers in every meeting. Impress your colleagues every workday. Impress your kids by really playing with them when they bring out the Lego. Impress your wife in bed. Impress by delivering. Unconditionally and as much as you can. If you do this, you’ll be doing good. And this is all you need to do.”
After coaching lots of people on this (myself included), I’ve boiled it down to four simple questions that will get you close to most people in a matter of minutes. For this to work, you need to open up yourself and reveal your own answers to these questions along the way. A free two-way flow creates good trust, knowledge of the other and a basis for friendship or beyond. Try it out on some strangers and tell me how it went. But remember, be direct, blunt even – no beating around the bush:
- If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
- What are your 5 strongest sides?
- What are your 2 weakest sides?
- What have you done in life that has given you the worst conscience?
Get answers to these and share your own and you will both know if you have a potential friend right there.
- Decide to learn something new from every experience in your life
- Experience a wide variety of situations
You never lose. You either win and learn or learn.
I am continually simplifying and refining how I coach people.
Here’s a HyperList that sums up my current approach:
0. Be direct in the coaching. Speak your mind. Always
1. Ensure the person realizes that he is creating all his thoughts and emotions
This will enable him to take full responsibility for what goes on in his mind
It will help him to not blame others for what he himself is responsible for
2. Ensure the person is able to be fully mentally present
Get the person to read “Mental training – The core”
Train the person to be “here & now”
3. Establish the person’s “Two lengths of the pool” (2LP)
Assess his strengths and weaknesses in accomplishing his 2LP
4. Do what it takes to help the person accomplish his 2LP
There are several tools that can help, such as:
Unburdening stress and exercize liking everything
Failing and learning more
Or the short form:
Realizing he is creating all his thoughts and emotions
Exercize mental presence
Establish his 2LP
Accomplish the 2LP