There was a man standing on his front porch during a flood and a boat came by and offered to rescue the man, he said “No thanks, I trust in God”. Later the man was sitting in a window of his second floor when the boat came back by and again the man said “No thanks, I trust in God”. Finally the man was sitting on the roof when a helicopter came by and tried to rescue him and he again said “No thanks, I trust in God”. The man drowned in the flood water shortly thereafter. When he got to heaven he asked God why he didn’t save him and God said “I sent a boat twice and a helicopter. What more did you want?”
You know I am a huge fan of Bob Burg’s book The Go-Giver and how it helps people understand how they provide value to others and bring meaning to what they do in relationships. I love trying to help others both personally and professionally. I truly believe my value is 100% made up of how much I can bring to others. I work hard every day to ensure every interaction I have has meaning and that I do everything I can for the person I am engaged with. To succeed in the services business you have to. But one of the 5 rules of a Go-Giver is “The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving”, and this is where I have struggled with the rules.
You see, being so focused on helping others I sometimes miss when others are trying to help me. There are times people are trying to help me make connections, provide me with a lead or even offer advice about how I can do even more for them and I just plain miss it. Later I may realize I missed the chance to be the Receiver instead of a Giver and by doing that I have taken away the chance for them to give and increase their value.
Sometimes it is as simple as it was last Sunday when I was at Publix grocery shopping. I know what you are saying “Your wife lets you do the shopping?” Yes she does, but only with a list. I was wandering around lost trying to find the Hersey’s Syrup, the last item I needed before I could leave, and was asked 3 times by different people if they could help me. Each time I said “No Thanks” as I felt like I should have been to find it myself. After 20 minutes of looking around I finally did ask for help and the clerk was more than willing to provide it. The effort of the store to try and assist me didn’t stop there as when I got to the checkout line they were very busy and the clerks that were bagging groceries were all taking out buggies for people so I did what came naturally and I stepped down and started bagging my stuff. I worked as a kid as a bag boy at Rountree’s IGA in Eatonton after school to earn gas money so to me this was no big deal. One of the department managers saw me doing this and came over and said she would bag things up and for a brief moment there was a standoff. After an awkward moment I stepped aside but continued to try and help as I hated that a Manager had to step in to do this (Not to mention she looked like my Mother and I hated even more to allow someone older than me do this for me). Once I checked out she offered to take out the groceries for me which I declined but thanked her for the offer and help. Once outside and about half the way through loading things to my truck along comes another Manager that I recognized who offers to take the buggy for me back to the store. I again felt that pain of allowing someone to do for me what I could do for myself but I turned the buggy over to her and thanked her.
As I started driving home I thought about all of this and why it was so hard for me to accept help when it is offered whether I truly need it or not. I think it is because we are taught as children to be self-sufficient and to always help others. We aren’t taught as much about how to accept help or how to recognize help being offered. But in doing this we rob those others of the satisfaction of being a Go-Giver and bringing value to us. So what should we do? I think we have to acknowledge this shortcoming and work to improve it. Now I am not talking about moving to the other extreme and taking advantage of others’ willingness to serve but just be willing to see others when they offer you a hand in a genuine effort to bring you value, whether you truly need it or not, and accept it with grace and gratitude. Then allow yourself to feel the small amount of debt that comes from that and either pay it back directly to the person or to the organization (Best to both) that gave it in the form of loyalty. Because not all offers of help are going to come with a flash of light or a booming voice. And many times those offers of help will lead you to great discoveries of new skills in people you didn’t realize they have, friendships and partnerships.
So do you know how to accept a helping hand offered to you? As always I am here to serve you so feel free to contact me with questions, comments or ideas.