How Can I Help Others?

October 3rd 2008

One of my favorite bloggers, Leo over at Zen Habits put out a great post recently called Helping Others Helps You In The Long Run . Basically, he is (as usual) offering everything he can to help out his community of readers and fellow bloggers and knows that it is along the concept that givers gain.  I absolutely agree and loved his idea so wanted to offer a similar thing here on LearnThis.  I truly enjoy getting comments and love working with fellow bloggers to promote their sites, but I don’t get many other types of requests for my help.  I would love to help in other ways so simply want to offer some suggestions as well as an open request to contact me privately (in the form on my about page) or as a comment so I can hopefully respond and do my part in whatever way I can!

Here are just 10 ideas I believe I can help others with and I’d love to see comments not only for requests but even just for more ideas.  Here goes…

#1

An article idea that you would like me to research and write about.  I have a long list of topics I have in mind but love to see ideas from others bloggers and my readers.

#2

Promotion for your own site or blog .  Include your favorite article and I can provide a link to it!

#3

Mention of your service/product .  Send me a note about what you’d like me to help you promote and I’ll put together an outline of those items to help promote it!

#4

Life Coaching in related areas to this site.

#5

Career Coaching to help you steer, excel and achieve in your career.

#6

Ideas for your own articles, blogs.

#7

Introductions to other bloggers / social media connections.

#8

Blogging questions , site setup, help with starting a blog and how to get it moving forward.

#9

Encouragement and positive help with any topic.

#10

Site review / suggestions for improvement.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 4 Comments »

Offer What You Know By Invitation

August 13th 2008

My Own Realizations

I’ve written articles on being humble before and I strive to stay humble when talking and sharing about my own knowledge and skills with others.  I used to have a much more competitive and egocentric attitude which I learned to change.  The problem is that I’ve taken that so far, I often now reserve myself while trying to be humble but it’s at the expense of sharing with others.  If there is an area I could help I often hold myself back to avoid being overbearing or pushy with my ideas.

Interestingly, I recently met David Zinger from Slacker Manager while he was in Calgary and he reinforced something I’ve been told not only by him, but also friends and colleagues recently.  He saw right away at how I shrug off some of my skills and he questioned me about that.  I’ve had this impression of myself that I can be too ‘pushy’ with my ideas.  David recommending getting past that by simply offering your help by invitation.  If you give the invitation to someone else, you leave it up to them if they want to take advantage of it or not.  They don’t have to accept and you certainly are not pushy by offering help by invitation.

So, I guess, having this told to me several times now, and especially when someone I first meet can see me doing it, I realized I need to be more careful of that perception I’ve created and not to limit myself with what I have to offer.  I’ve taken the step to share these findings and my skills by writing here at Learn This and I truly love knowing I can impact people’s thinking, their knowledge and lives.  Now, I need to extend that out by invitation to more people I interact with in person, not just behind this screen.  I hope this site will continue to find me friends and people to meet in person as that is where I hope to extend more invitations of help.  All of this led me to look at ways to offer what you know by invitation and these are some of the ways I feel a person can do that!

Realize What You Have to Offer

You need to recognize your own strengths and know what you are capable of before you can offer help to others. Obviously, there is help you can offer in almost any area even if you don’t have skills for that.  I’m meaning to look more at what your unique skills, talents and strengths are so that you can offer the best you have.  Take time and surveys to think about and outline your strengths so you can find ways to make them available.  There are great resources online in surveys, articles and of course in books (such as Discover Your Strengths, The Strength Finder) to help uncover your strengths.  Ask others you know what they see are your strengths and accept what strengths you have.  Sometimes we ignore our strengths we have because we want to have choose our strengths or give the impression that we have strengths that are not real.  While strengths can certainly be changed, it takes time and practice to learn them and its far more valuable to realize what you already have and take advantage off it.

Don’t Miss An Opportunity to Help

Once you realize the strengths you have, look for opportunities to use them.  Use them for yourself, use them to help others and look for ways to offer to others, the benefits of your strengths.  This might be some expertise, special skills, knowledge, personal trait or characteristic.  Any of these can be helpful in different situations, so pay attention to where you have a chance to use them.

One way to do this is to watch others who you know have a strength in common with you and see if you can see how they use it.  Ask them how they use it and observe their actions.  Seeing it demonstrated is a great step is seeing how you can do the same thing.  Look for ways they take advantage of their strengths and replicate their actions.  As you learn their techniques you can begin to apply the same steps and take advantage of every opportunity you can to share your skills and abilities with others.

Once you know your strengths, practice them and are comfortable with it as well, its helpful to offer that strength to others.  Sharing your experiences and especially your strengths with people will continue to reinforce them and it will give you the confidence to share it at every opportunity.  Make yourself and your strengths available to others.  Offer your services, your skill set, your help.  Putting out what you have to offer to others can take many forms.  Consider all the ways you could do this:

  • Face to face communication to others with an offer of your strength
  • Invite others to ask you about your strengths.
  • Share your story of how you’ve developed your strengths
  • Ask others about their strengths to bring attention to the topic
  • Advertise your services
  • Start a blog, write articles or white papers about your strengths
  • Reveal your strengths to others and encourage them to ask for your help

Growing the opportunities you have to help can also expand if you put attention to it.  This tends to cascade where you can develop those areas even further.  Continue to develop that and learn about it by practicing it, learning about it from others, and reading about those strength areas.

Keep The Invitation Open

This relates to not missing an opportunity but I think applies more when you have already helped someone or have been turned down for help.  If you respond to those people and inform that the invitation is always open and that you are willing to offer help, it is far more likely to reoccur.  People unfortunately feel an obligation to pay back what they have gained from someone and so they are often reluctant to ask someone again for help or to continue asking.  You can help to diffuse those feelings by offering your help and extending that invitation again even immediately after helping.  If they know you are still willing and not avoid them to get out of helping, that extra invitation can bring a lot of comfort in having to ask again for the other person.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 4 Comments »

How Are the Words, “I Can’t” Holding You Back?

August 6th 2008

There are so many challenges we face everyday it is no wonder we easily find ourselves falling into the trap of saying, “I can’t .”  Its an extremely negative response and really does nothing for us as it’s more of an easy excuse than a real useful reason.  Without getting into all the specifics as to why you should have a more positive outlook I’m going to focus on doing just one thing more positive.  That is to change your thinking and response anytime you would have said, “I can’t” to “How can I?”.  There are 4 major areas I’ll explore around the benefits of changing this response.

Stay Open to New Things

Saying “I can’t” will immediately shut down any opportunity as you don’t even consider any way to work with the suggestion.  Changing that response to look at how can I do something is far more positive.  It allows you to look for ways and if nothing else, think about ways to do that.  Even if you don’t act on those new things, staying open minded about them keeps options available for the future.  You never know when you will change your mind and want to focus on that very thing you otherwise would have said, “I can’t” to.

People learn from your responses and if you have a habit of saying “I can’t” then others remember that and come to you less and less frequently with those new opportunities.  “How can I” lets you question it yourself and gives you a chance to see those new things from different perspectives.  People will be much more likely to come to you again with an idea or question if you look for ways to do it instead of simply shutting down the idea in the first place.  Keep your interaction with others open and welcoming simply by changing this response.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Keeping that open mind lets you experience new things, new relationships and lets you see areas to make changes in your life.  Some of these for the better, some not so, but keeping the choice available is useful.  There is no point in limiting your choices in life and that’s exactly what “I can’t” does.  It becomes a mind set to you and others that you are not willing to even try and that you give up easily.  This is not a limiting belief that anyone should have!

Find and Offer Help

My favorite reason to never say I can’t and instead ask the question How can I is that it is often a way to find or offer help to someone else.  Most of the things we say we can’t do are because we don’t believe we have the ability to accomplish something on our own.  This is a perfect chance to then find some help and to see the same situations for others where you can offer help.  Offering help is easily a substitute for saying, “I can’t” as well since you are still willing to be involved but perhaps at a simpler level, just offering help.  This is very powerful in the workplace since even though you may already have a full workload, offering some help can be a huge benefit to others while requiring little of your own time.  Obviously this depends on how much help you are offering, but there is nearly always something you can do to help, even if it is just a few minutes of your time.

Accomplish More

As others discover you have a habit of looking at ways to accomplish something instead of avoiding it, you will keep them interested in coming to you.  You will have more accomplishments under your belt as well since as you develop a way of looking for solutions and ways to achieve things instead of ways to avoid them.  Balance this using priorities with your other work and focus on the most important tasks only will keep you from being overloaded can give you a massive boost to accomplishing many things.  Keeping some time available to always ensure you can offer help or ask when needed will allow you to ask that question of “How Can I?” without feeling overwhelmed by more new tasks.

Posted by Mike King under Life | Comments Off on How Are the Words, “I Can’t” Holding You Back?

Don’t Judge Others, Be Helpful Instead!

May 21st 2008

Unfortunately, we all do it. We judge others. Their actions, choices, behaviors, relationships, likes and dislikes and even their personalities. We’ve all been conditioned to judge and be critical of things around us (some of us more than others) and while this can be useful to look at ways to improve things by seeing what we do not like, it more often leads us to hurtful comments, disconnected relationships and various negative feelings. No one really likes to be judged and so eliminating this from your own actions will improve your life and relationships!

Don’t Judge Others

This is obviously easier said than done. It is possible to stop though with some practice, attention and a desire to eliminate it. The first step in not judging others is to simply stop voicing it. This is usually the hurtful part and if you can learn to keep judging comments to yourself, you can quickly eliminate any hurt you are causing to others directly. These might be anything from obvious verbal attacks, sarcasm, snide jokes about someone, gossip or subtle judgments like saying “I know”, or using the “but” word after agreeing with something. Stop saying and doing these things and you will no longer be judging others on the surface at least! The old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything!” is a perfect thing to apply here.

Taking this to the next step, however, is important because having a judging mindset still leaves that negativity built up inside you. What’s needed is to learn to see the good side or opportunity side of any situation that you would have normally judged by instinct.

Make Yourself Helpful Instead

I don’t think anyone will ever completely eliminate judging others in their minds but it is possible to change how your response, by making it helpful, instead of a problem for someone or yourself. Ask yourself questions about the situation so you can learn something from it or help that person out. David Zinger had a great article on Slacker Manager getting questions from his readers about the most powerful questions you can ask . My comment was to ask, “How can I respond in a way that’s useful to others?”. Use this for any judgment situation and you can easily turn around a negative thought or comment into something useful. Offering some help or assistance to someone in an area they are not excelling at, will be far more useful than telling them how poorly they are doing or by telling them how wrong they are. Look for ways to change the situation for the better. Wouldn’t you prefer an offer of help over an insult in an area you have not mastered?

As you look at people and situations with a helpful attitude, you will shift from judging them directly as a person to seeing (perhaps still judging) their actions . You won’t attack them as a person or their character and you can more comfortably look at ways to help them. Some advise or feedback about what they can improve on instead of accusing them of being or feeling a certainly way is definitely more useful and it will allow them be more open and receptive to whatever help you have to offer. The opportunities for this come daily with nearly every interaction you have with people, so make an effort and look for actions instead of wrongly assuming its a personality and look for ways to offer help instead of criticism.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 10 Comments »

Ask for help already! Its not that bad to need it.

November 2nd 2007

Why is it that so many of us simply believe that we can accomplish everything on our own? There are about 7 billion people on this earth, yet we each suffer in our problems and create a sheltered life that we have this burning desire to solve ourselves. After all, asking for help just shows that we must not be able to handle our own situation. We must be weak, incapable or worse, simply reliant on others to get things done. Society, especially in North America, has technologies, services and every other media available bombarding us with devices and techniques for us each to manage our own lives better and to get more done on our own. This is crazy! It just pulls people further and further apart, leaves people highly dissatisfied with their lives and makes a bunch of heroes and silos in amongst your small circle of friends and colleagues. Here is alternative to what seems to contradict everything everyone strives for.

ASK FOR HELP

Yup, let people know what they can help you with and simply, ask. Tell them why you need their help and why you are asking them specifically. Give them some reasons and opportunities to help and you will find that you will soon start deepening your relationships with your spouse, friends, family and God. This also opens doors for others to ask for favors and for help in return, which is certainly a good thing since you can be more involved in other’s lives.

Problem today is that people simply don’t like to ask for help. Especially the youngest generations as they have grown up with every possible invention and device to make them self sufficient. Its amazing how many relationships are stifled and stay at a superficial and shallow level simply because people are so unwilling to expose any kind of vulnerability in asking for help. Its not easy nor comfortable to expose oneself but its important to let others see where you need their help and allow them to provide it whenever they can. Doing this requires great courage and sacrifices some of your ego. It also quickly builds a relationship based on trust, a fundamental principal hugely lacking in this busy business word of personal drive for “success”. Patrick Lencioni demonstrates this well in his Five Dysfunctions of a Team book and Carnegie in his classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.

So, to get started asking others for help you might want to consider asking others if they know of anything they think they could help you with. Find out about other’s interests and ask for help in areas that they are better than you at. Whether that is some soft skill, hobby, past time or anything really. If you learn about a person’s passion and their interest areas, those are the easiest places to get help for when you ask. Its surprising how willing most people are to help and don’t since they are never asked or afraid to offer.

Do you ever ask for help and if so, how do you go about asking?

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 2 Comments »

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