The Dark Side Of Helping People

This post is part of a new series called “Shock the Status Quo.”

A couple of weeks ago I finished up leading Financial Peace University for the third time.

As I was saying goodbye to everyone, one class member, I could tell, was waiting on everyone else to leave.

Part of my awesome Air Force team.

Part of my awesome Air Force team.

As soon as the last person left, I looked at her, and she burst into tears.

She stood there, struggling to find words and wiping away tears on her face. After a few seconds, she said, “This has been life changing.”

That moment is why MaryBeth and I lead this class and always will.

The mission

One of the great joys in my life is teaching and coaching people.

Seeing someone take something I’ve taught them and go change their life is simply amazing and warming.

Be it coaching a small business entrepreneur on marketing, teaching one of my outstanding Airmen something, or helping people learn to handle money well, anytime I’m teaching, I’m happy.

But there’s a great irony in being someone who’s personal mission statement is “to advance others through personal-growth education.”

That irony would be me, and I suspect you may be able to relate.

Isn’t it ironic? (Thanks, Alanis.)

Other than being flawed, I don’t know where this comes from. That “this” is frustration and talking negatively about the very people I’m trying to help.

Perhaps you’ve done it, too.

In the same moment you go from being high on life about showing someone something powerful to complaining about why they aren’t acting on it.

There’s no other way to put it. It’s ego run amok. It’s arrogant. And it undercuts our ability to help people.

A couple cuts up a credit card in Financial Peace University. Awesome moment.

A couple cuts up a credit card in Financial Peace University. Awesome moment.

And if this is you, I encourage you to join me to shock this from our status quo.

The focus

Complaining about someone in need not acting on advice is nothing more than selfishness, and a waste of time.

In my experience, it erodes our ability to help because it causes us to view people as weak or inferior or incapable. Not exactly what people in need want so-called helpers to view them as.

The truth of the matter is we, the helpers, are the weak ones when we lose sight of what we’re trying to do and who we’re trying to help.

At the end of the day, I guess we get frustrated, at least partially, because we’re confident that what we’re sharing will help, and we want people to act.

So, therefore, its well-intentioned, right? It’s all good then, right?

Wrong.

Let’s shock negative speak from the status quo and get on with the business of helping and advancing lives.

Question: Have you experienced negative speak undercutting helping a person or situation? Share below.

How I Nearly Didn’t Get Married

This post is part of a new series called “Shock the Status Quo.”

When MaryBeth and I recently moved into a new place, we were unpacking the kitchen and it hit us. There’s no microwave!

Our knee-jerk response was, “Well, we’re going to have to buy one.”

Because we’ve used a microwave for so long, we couldn’t, in that moment, conceive of not having one. I mean how would we heat water or syrup or tortillas or anything?

A month has passed and we never bought a microwave.

‘I’ll always have a car payment’

It’s funny how we get caught up in one way of doing things and we can’t see alternatives.

Before my wife and I were married, I was terrible with money. I lived check to check and didn’t save anything. And I said things like, “I’ll always have a car payment.”

And that was logical to me then because I was living with a $425 monthly payment on a BMW I had no business buying, and I couldn’t see a way out. I couldn’t see an alternative.

Get mad!

But then one day I got mad. I got mad because I knew I was making good money but had nothing to show for it. And I was tired of the stress.

There I was standing in MaryBeth’s kitchen one day all fired up and upset, and she loved every second of it.

Why?

Hope.

You see before I finally got mad enough to change my situation and act on it, she knew she could never marry me.

MaryBeth was one of “those people.” She was a “Dave Ramsey” follower. Gasp!

And she wasn’t just a follower, she worked for him at the time, had paid off close to $60,000 in debt, and she wasn’t about to get herself married to someone like me….then.

I went on to pay off 18 months of car payments in 5 months time, and I never looked back.

And if I hadn’t shocked the status quo, my life would be drastically different, and this picture would not exist.

Wedding picture

Or this one.

MB and Josiah

Or this one.

Christmas 2012

Shock your financial status quo. Change your life.

Question: How has changing the way you handle money improved your life? Share below!

Starting A ‘Thank You Revolution’

This post is part of a new series called “Shock the Status Quo.”

In a lesson to entrepreneurs, author and radio show host Dave Ramsey said the last time many of us ever received an ovation was at our high school graduation.

That’s kind of sad. But it’s true. Thank you cards, thank you notes, revolution

Dave was teaching on recognition in that lesson, and encouraging a group of business leaders to seek out opportunities to recognize team members on the spot. It’s powerful.

It shocks the status quo.

But this post isn’t about doing what Dave said. It’s instead about something related.

The power of “thank you.”

‘Thank you Revolution’

My friend Matt McWilliams is leading a soft revolution.

What started as a single blog post blossomed into a full-on war to inspire people to give hand-written, thank-you notes.

Why is he doing this?

To shock the status quo.

In his words, “Two words not said enough, by bosses, by spouses, by friends, or by strangers on the street. We can change that.”

You see Matt understands that people are busy. They get into routines and focused on tasks.

As a result, we simply never think to say “thank you” or we never make time. Perhaps we even feel a little awkward about it.

His Mission Is Your’s

Regardless, Matt’s mission, which I fully signed onto, is to inspire people to be intentional about improving their relationships by not just saying “thank you,” but writing it down in a note – a rare thing nowadays.

We’ve probably all heard now that we’re all using electrons to communicate, a hand-written note is powerful.

And I’d say it’s safe to say most of us value our relationships.

If so, what’s stopping us from doing this?

What’s Stopping Us?

What’s stopping us from taking 1-2 minutes to tell our spouse, co-worker, boss, pastor, friend or even a stranger who held the door for one of us “thank you” in writing.

I can tell you from experience it works. It totally shocks the status quo for you, the person on the receiving end, and interestingly enough, it’s paid forward and shocks the status quo in other people’s lives.

I encourage you to suit up and do this. If you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable doing it, I encourage you to muster the strength and try it just once with someone you fully trust.

Your weaponry consists of a pen, piece of paper and the ability to care.

You can read more about the revolution and get Matt’s FREE e-book called The Power of Gratitude at his blog here.

Question: When’s the last time you received a hand-written, thank you note? How did it impact you?