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Challenge: Open Discussion

How can I help?

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There's this show I'm watching on NBC. I never watch real-time TV, but when my husband travels sometimes I like to have some background noise on while I work, read or do dishes. Have I mentioned I am a multi-tasker?

I recently found a show called "New Amsterdam." It’s about a new doctor who comes in to a hospital that's performing below average. He comes in, and instead of giving all his ideas and dropping his knowledge bombs, he always asks a simple question:

"How can I help?"

He asks everyone: the other doctors, the nurses, the janitors. Before he tells them what he thinks, he always empowers them first with the question, “How can I help?”

I wish I had counted how many times he said these four words. It’s something that's stuck with me all week – aphrase I want to emulate in my life.

I want to be a helper instead of quick-to-fixer.


I want to ask those I'm really close to who may be having a hard time, “How can I help?”

And, I want to ask those I just met, who have have had different life experiences than me, "How can I help?"

I don’t want to assume I know what's best.

Many times I've come into places – places where we serve or places where I have the best of intentions – with ideas blaring. But many of my ideas don’t work – and do you know why? Because what works in my life doesn’t always work in everyone else’s.

Others' paths and experiences have been different and they need something else.

I remember going into the local homeless shelter we visit each week. I go in weekly and had my own ideas of how to help – all these ideas of how to get everyone jobs and provide them with leadership lessons. And one of the founders of the shelter said, "Kristi, your job here is to love. Period."

What works for you doesn't always work for everyone else. You have to get to know people and ask them "how you can help," not assume you know what's best.

So, it's: "How can I help?"

Instead of: "Here’s how I'm gonna help."

Let's turn the tables. If someone asks you, “How can I help?” instead of saying, “Nah, I’m good" when you really aren’t, (because isn't that what most of us do?) be brave and tell them how they can help you.

Even if it is simple,. Even if it is just sitting with you, making you a meal, watching your kids or introducing you to someone. Most people love helping others, we just have to let them.

“How can I help?”

Try it with someone today!

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