I just got back from a wonderful week on a boat. When you are living on a boat, there are very specific things that need to be done. Maybe it’s setting up a sail, or preparing food, or charting your course, or any number of safety measures. There are a list of tasks that need to be delegated and completed. Most of real life doesn’t work like that. When you are in relationship to others, there are very few things which need to be done. People have very complex lives, relationships with many different people, several jobs going simultaneously, all in addition to the few things we need to do to stay alive.
When someone comes to you with a need, think about being in partnership. It is tempting to be helpful and just solve the problem for them, but unless you are talking about a very small percentage of life, it is better to work with a person. Think back to people you admire in your life, likely you don’t admire them because they did something for you whenever you had a question or needed help. Likely you admire them because they heard you, and they understood you.
Think partnership, not help. Be someone’s helper and they will appreciate you for a few minutes. Be someone’s partner and they will admire you for life.