- Thoughts for inspired living

July 9, 2015

When Help Isn’t Helpful

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:58 am

Know it allI had this phrase pop in my head the other day: “Your input isn’t going to change him.”

I was working with a pretty knowledgeable fellow helping me select a custom designed product for me. There was testing involved so that this product would fit my needs to a “T.” It was a 2-hour process.

The difficulty I was having was not with his information but with his style of delivery. He had one speed and it wasn’t the speed at which I was traveling.

Part of his job was being an expert and part of his job was sales. He will be commissioned on the product if I purchase it.

Basically, he was throwing up on me. That means he was coming at me with non-stop information and he rarely stopped to breathe. He wasn’t allowing me to process the information. I purposely interrupted him a number of times so that I could get a break from his machine gun delivery. He also lacked sensory acuity. That means he wasn’t paying attention to see if his message was being received.

After the session, I was tempted to “help him out.” After all, that’s what I’ve done my entire career – help people make changes.

As I was about to offer my “wisdom,” I got the gift of awareness that my input wasn’t going to help him. In the past, I would have tried to be like the story of Jesus going after the lost lamb.

People may benefit from the help you provide but if it’s not going to register with them, what’s the point? You don’t need the practice and to quote my teacher Dr. Dave Dobson, “They aren’t paying you.”

I could have helped improved this fellow’s delivery and his sales skills in a matter of minutes if he was open to it, but I could tell he wasn’t and, frankly, he wasn’t asking.

I guess the lessons I learned are these: If my intent is to tell someone what I know that they don’t, I will not be helpful to them. It smacks of superiority and will fall on clogged ears. Even if my intention was to just plain help them, I wouldn’t be successful with someone who doesn’t believe they need any or want any.

Generally what I find is this: The person who is the hero of their own stories isn’t going to be open to your assistance. The person who “talks in a trance” (doesn’t notice that you’re there while they’re talking) won’t be open to your help. The person who is an expert on everything, yet has nothing to show for it, will be closed off to any helpful input you may have.

Think of helping in this way: Pretend you’re a professional golfer at a driving range and you see a father giving bad coaching to his young son on how to swing the club. If you step in and offer unsolicited help, you most often will be treated as a pariah even though your expertise is far “superior.”

Best to lend a hand in these situations only when help is requested, otherwise your help won’t be helpful.

All the best,


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