Character Creates Opportunity® – Giving & Receiving Part II: Thursday, December 26, 2013

Part I of this message focused on giving and covered the timeless truth that it is better to give than receive.  Part II of this message will address the aspect of Receiving as a key aspect to help build and strength our character.

We all enjoy receiving a thoughtful gift from loved ones during the holidays or other special occasions.  We may feel a slight sense of concern and express “you really did not have to do that”, but we all have little to no struggle in receiving a gift around these special events.  However, like many aspects of building and strengthening our character, I want to address an area where many of us struggle and that is in Receiving help from someone who is genuinely wanting to give some assistance.

In my learnings from the observations of others, research on the subject, and reflecting on my personal choices through the years, there is a tendency for many of us to resist receiving help, even when we clearly need it, and we choose to continue struggling on our own in trying to complete the task or address the situation.

In the workplace, it is quite common to observe individuals struggling to complete a task or key deliverable and when the offer from others to help comes around, the response is usually, “thanks, but I have this one covered.”  I can recall having the same response myself even though I was really struggling to complete a task.  In a work situation, many times we do not want to appear that we don’t have the skills to deliver on a task.  In addition, we have the desire to demonstrate we can handle a tough assignment.  Regardless of the reason, refusing help when needed puts us in an extremely stressful situation that has unintended consequences that go beyond the specific project.

It is not just the workplace where this “go it alone” decision persists.  We see the same choices on the home front when struggles occur with raising children, holding a marriage together, or dealing with aging parents.   When these problems are clearly visible to others and the offer to help comes from a genuinely caring, wise, and experienced individual, we respond with something like, “things are ok, we are just working through a tough time right now…thanks for thinking of us, but it will be ok.”  Given the painful statistics on the challenges in our homes today, too many of us continue to make choices that isolate ourselves instead of bringing together the help we need to effectively deal with the problems we all experience in the home.

There are just two comments I wanted to make on the aspect of receiving help as we look to build and strengthen our character:

  1. Receiving help is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of wisdom and strength.  Wise individuals understand that they don’t know everything and could learn a great deal from the experience of others.  Genuinely strong and secure individuals are comfortable knowing the value of shared experience and don’t feel a need to prove themselves by going alone in working through a difficult situation.
  2. Receiving help is a powerful way to enable another individual to experience the joy of giving.  We deny a blessing others will receive when we deny their genuine offer to help when we really need it.  There is a powerful emotional bond that is built when we help others in need and we deny that blessing to someone when we refuse their help and we choose to go it alone.

Our world continues to grow in complexity, uncertainty, and intensity.  The challenges to sustainable achievement in the marketplace and the home are becoming more and more difficult.  We should all begin to find comfort in receiving help from others as we continue to build and strengthen our character as Character Creates Opportunity® to build strong relationships and effectively deal with the challenges in our world.

What thoughts do you have on the challenges of receiving help from others?   Please share a comment below.