Sometimes changing our mindset is much more involved than simply believing we can achieve.

If you are a human with a heart, you know this struggle all too well: the desire to save people.

As business owners, we want to instruct and coax our clients and contacts to greatness. We want them to see what they can’t: how their signature talents are always good enough and will be effective in anything they do.

We want to pump them up with enthusiasm and the unbridled determination to take over the world.

I have put myself in this trap many times and this is what I have learned.

It’s not very nice to prop people up when they are not prepared for their own success. When they cannot reach inside their own hearts for self-resilience. It’s akin to offering a raincoat to a person weathering a storm, but only for that one storm and then taking it away at the arrival of other unseemly weather.

This is not a sustainable action that we offer. Because just as the person who struggles with their own failures is not ready to realize their greatness, neither can we sustain our efforts to continually boost them to a level where they feel worthwhile.

I have helped people with their resumes. Taught them the subtle art of enhancement, that if you have performed a task once, to note it as a measure of experience. To answer in the affirmative that they can take on the job and then get busy figuring out the delivery—if only to save themselves from career wreckage.

Maybe you or I would be successful in that single endeavor of giving them a leg up. But then what? We return time and time again to do the same? Because we have faith that our belief is as powerful as that person’s self-belief? It’s not.

In order to achieve confidence, so much work must be done. It is similar to tackling an addiction.

It is a lifestyle change.

As I have repeatedly said, these sabotaging beliefs wind up as rivers in the mind. Our thoughts teach our brains what to anticipate…they run along these rutted paths and deepen the grooves. In other words, the more we think the same, be it negative or positive, the more we condition our mindset.

This is a physiological fact.

When you commit to elevating a person who doesn’t believe in their own power and strengths, then you also commit to helping them to reverse the damage of these cerebral carvings.

You, as the outside source, shoulder the weight of holding up an entire human.

It sounds ridiculous now, doesn’t it?

We don’t save people. People allow us to help them because they want to be saved.

If you think I am writing this about you, I am. But I am also writing it about me.

I have insulted my fellow entrepreneur by bellowing empty phrases at them. Putting them on motivation blast, you might say.

My lack of sensitivity to their status and path was the wrong approach. I should have worked with them on their level, and not to say they were above or below me…but our levels are different. Because we are all different. I should have listened and not insisted they could do anything. They heard only hollow words.

When we step in and light a fire under someone who has to struggle to accept their own value, when they accomplish their aims with a little urging, we also rob them.

We take away their ownership and they are left with the sense that “I could never have done this on my own. So, I will probably fail the next time.”

Not everyone will respond as we would to identical motivations or rewards. Most people won’t experience an exact thrill from what you love and vice versa.

Everyone is on their own journey, having reached varying milestones along the way. We have to respect that fact and help our clients and contacts who are ready.

As much as we might think blowing sunshine is influential and contagious, it’s not.

People pick up what you drop when they have done the mental work. It has nothing to do with you.

It shouldn’t.

  • To receive such loving messages, a person must first love and accept themselves. They must be ready to reject negativity. They must be ready to objectively identify critique designed to improve their state and deflect all the other noise. They must be fierce enough to stand up to critics and lovers alike. This can require a boggling amount of internal work, that can take years to work through.You don’t own that responsibility so don’t saddle yourself with the burden of saving the world.Help the people who are open and receptive to your loving missives. Encourage the rest, offer aids and resources, but then stand back and let these internal miracles occur without you.

    Healing can look like finally defining healthy love.

  • Deserting self-limiting beliefs.
  • Rewriting boundaries
  • Cinching up our circle to disinclude toxic people.
  • Treating depression or other mental illnesses.


These are massive, integral and defining elements of a person’s personality. It is irresponsible to assume so much authority over another human being without respecting the truth of a person’s emotional state. Again, not better or worse, different.

Are you ready to learn about self-identification, to treat trauma, to administer coping mechanisms while keeping the object of your intention safe?

Not many are…unless they work in a mental health field.

Your influence is important, but so is your understanding of your own responsibility.

In every subject, we all know enough to be dangerous.

Let us be careful with who we help and how we impact their lives.

Responsible coaching literally saves lives.

As does stepping back and stating: “This isn’t my lane.”

Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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