It’s kinda cruel, how we’re wired.
The more someone else struggles or suffers, the more we feel it and the more we want to help them, make things right.
But more often than not, we get exactly the opposite result… and it’s only down to trying too hard.
For example, you’ll know that I’m very hot on meditation. It’s a wonderful thing, I’ve done it for 25 years, it’s done me tons of good, has scientific backup as to positive effects…
And yet, you’ll never see me make a case for meditation – not until someone asks me.
Because if I were to try and persuade someone to try it, it would mean ‘trying hard’ – and the problem is that today someone might be swayed by my recommendation, and try it, but because the choice was made because of my clever pitch and not because of their own inner pull, they’ll likely find it a disheartening experience and give up. Trust me, I’ve seen this more times than I can remember, since I started meditating 25 years ago.
And then they might consider themselves ‘not fit for meditation’ or vice versa, and never get back to it.
So by trying too hard, I would risk putting comeone off their own course. Much better to help those who want change, or meditation, or growth or whatever, and who want to start it now.
Self-motivated, self-inspired. It’s the best way for anyone to step into change, and the best way to help with that is by helping the other find their own solution, and not imposing our own good ideas on anything or anyone.
Now back to opening lines: the more we care about someone, and the more we hurt seeing their struggle, the more important it is to give the other space for wanting change or help, instead of proffering our help and suggestions before that person is ready.
It goes completely against our mind’s direction, because we know – our minds know – that we can help, that there’s a solution, that if only they’d listen…
But the mind will have to suck it up, because the more we try, the more wrong the mind is in its conviction.
Go ahead and try, helping someone who isn’t ready yet… has it ever worked?
Most likely, you ran into resistance and objections, and the other person’s process didn’t speed up, no matter how hard you tried.
Could even be that things stalled or slowed down, or maybe the conversation got difficult…
Or maybe you’ve been on the other side, where someone just wouldn’t stop trying to fix things for you and didn’t give you space to even think.
All because of ‘trying too hard’.
Their efforts didn’t exactly help you, right?
Pay attention to the gut-wrenching feelings of grief and compassion and pity and helpfulness, at seeing another person’s struggle, and when you notice them: check yourself.
You might just be on the verge of giving the person the very opposite of what you want for them.
Be available, ready, present, but be careful not to hamper the other’s process by inadvertently getting in the way.
If you really want to help, create a space and a conversation that enables the other person to seek and find their own inner pull, and avoid trying too hard to help.
Which, incidentally, applies to all kinds of relationships and conversations: spouses, children, vendors, team members, clients and prospects.
No matter who it is: the harder we try to help, the easier it is to help less. But now you know what to look out for…
P.s. This whole attitude of helping people to want help by not trying to help so forcefully, is the foundation of my LEAP framework for ethical selling, and it’s really effective… and it actually helps. Both you and your buyers. More information here.