How to Be Helpful by Doing Less

When someone comes to you with a problem, how much do you feel the need to fix it? What if there was another way you could help? Maybe you don't have to have all the answers. What if you were the one with all the questions instead? Sometimes people share their challenges without wanting us to fix anything at all. Maybe they just want to vent so that they can let go of something that's bugging them and move forward. Or, maybe they come to us looking for a thought partner, someone who can help them figure out their own solutions.

Start by asking clarifying questions - like "what do you mean by that" or "tell me a little more about what's going on". Then, acknowledge what has been shared with you, summarizing what you have heard. You can validate by saying something like, "it makes sense that you would feel that way given how important _____ is to you". Once they feel heard, you can ask solution oriented questions, like "what do you think your options are", "what have you considered so far" or "what do you think the other person would say is happening" to help them begin thinking things through.

Beneath it all, if you are able to bring the energy of non-judgment to whatever is shared with you, you'll be amazed at how helpful you truly can be. Let me know how it works out for you!

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