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Are you "me-centric"? Don't know how to help people?

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SiuLung

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 13, 2019
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France
Hi everyone,

Credit goes to @Andy Black.

Have you ever heard of the 5 whys? I guess most of you probably have.

For those who haven't, it's a guideline to help you uncover the root of a problem by asking "Why?" 5 times, or even more if needed.
It's part of what's called critical thinking: a process to improve your process of thinking, to see any situation as it is and not as you think it is.
It's been largely popularized by start-up blogs and such.

But, thanks to Andy, I discovered other principles. You see, Andy PMed me after I liked one of his posts.

As I've been really frustrated with my situation lately, all I did during our conversation was vent about it.

Let me dissect our conversation without going into too much details:

Andy: Asks me how I'm doing.
Me: Thanks him for all the value he provides. Then it's me venting for several paragraphes. "I" pronoun count: 13
Andy: Gives me some advice, redirect me to one of his post, and then asks my opinion about something. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Thanks him again. Asks him some trivial questions. Small talk. "I" pronoun count: 12
Andy: Brief reply to my small talk. Redirects me again to his posts and asks if read them. "I" pronoun count: 1
Me: Me venting again. "I" pronoun count: 21
Andy: Gives me examples of how I can provide value based on my previous PM. Then redirects me to a thread. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Asking fore more advice. "I" pronoun count: 9
Andy: Gives me more advice. "I" pronoun count: 1
Me: Venting again. "I" pronoun count: 17
Andy: Dissect my feelings. Pushes me towards taking actions. Asks me if I've read yet another post from him. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Venting again. Talking about how my boss needs help with something and how I can't help him because I don't have the knowledge and how I'm scared to screw up if I do. "I" pronoun count: 17
Andy: Reassures me regarding my fear. Asks me how could I help without screwing it up. "I" pronoun count: 0

Everything that's in green is related to giving and focused on others, everything that's in red is related to taking, focusing on oneself and negativity.

Who has more green, who has more red? Pretty obvious.
Now, count who has used the pronoun "I" more often. Again, pretty obvious.

I'm not writing this to gain sympathy. I don't know if this was deliberate or not but Andy just gave me a lesson, and I'm just happy to share it with others on this forum.
This is the difference between someone who brings value, and someone who does not.

Now, time to link this conversation to my introduction regarding the 5 whys.

Notice how many times Andy redirected me or asked me questions at the end of his messages: 5 times.

But there's another important lesson here. Andy showed me how I already have what's needed to help somebody right now, even if I think I don't have the skills.

Just like you might ask yourself "Why?" 5 times to find the root cause of problems, when you encounter someone that needs help ask yourself "How can I help?" 5 times, more if necessary.
That's what Andy did for me at the end of our conversation.

I told him I wasn't able to help my boss with the problem he had because I didn't have the skills and was scared of screwing it up. And screwing it up would really harm the business.
Then he asked me: "How could you help without screwing it up?" Well, I could help my boss find the right person to do the job. And I feel capable of doing that.

See how powerful this is?

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning having discovered that. Asking yourself the right questions really is where the game is at.

Andy, thank you very much for our conversation. I hope you don't mind me sharing it here, I thought this would help people that might feel stuck just like I am most of the time.

SiuLung

TL;DR :

Want to discover problems? Ask people questions, encourage them to talk about them with open-ended questions. Let them vent. Don't talk about you at all. Keep the conversation on them.
When you can't help because you don't have the skills, knowledge and/or you might screw up, ask yourself 5 times or more "How can I help achieving this result?"
 

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Last edited:

Andy Black

Making a nuisance of himself on Twitter
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,933
47,593
4,306
Ireland
Hi everyone,

Credit goes to @Andy Black.

Have you ever heard of the 5 whys? I guess most of you probably have.

For those who haven't, it's a guideline to help you uncover the root of a problem by asking "Why?" 5 times, or even more if needed.
It's part of what's called critical thinking: a process to improve your process of thinking, to see any situation as it is and not as you think it is.
It's been largely popularized by start-up blogs and such.

But, thanks to Andy, I discovered other principles. You see, Andy PMed me after I liked one of his posts.

As I've been really frustrated with my situation lately, all I did during our conversation was vent about it.

Let me dissect our conversation without going into too much details:

Andy: Asks me how I'm doing.
Me: Thanks him for all the value he provides. Then it's me venting for several paragraphes. "I" pronoun count: 13
Andy: Gives me some advice, redirect me to one of his post, and then asks my opinion about something. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Thanks him again. Asks him some trivial questions. Small talk. "I" pronoun count: 12
Andy: Brief reply to my small talk. Redirects me again to his posts and asks if read them. "I" pronoun count: 1
Me: Me venting again. "I" pronoun count: 21
Andy: Gives me examples of how I can provide value based on my previous PM. Then redirects me to a thread. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Asking fore more advice. "I" pronoun count: 9
Andy: Gives me more advice. "I" pronoun count: 1
Me: Venting again. "I" pronoun count: 17
Andy: Dissect my feelings. Pushes me towards taking actions. Asks me if I've read yet another post from him. "I" pronoun count: 0
Me: Venting again. Talking about how my boss needs help with something and how I can't help him because I don't have the knowledge and how I'm scared to screw up if I do. "I" pronoun count: 17
Andy: Reassures me regarding my fear. Asks me how could I help without screwing it up. "I" pronoun count: 0

Everything that's in green is related to giving and focused on others, everything that's in red is related to taking, focusing on oneself and negativity.

Who has more green, who has more red? Pretty obvious.
Now, count who has used the pronoun "I" more often. Again, pretty obvious.

I'm not writing this to gain sympathy. I don't know if this was deliberate or not but Andy just gave me a lesson, and I'm just happy to share it with others on this forum.
This is the difference between someone who brings value, and someone who does not.

Now, time to link this conversation to my introduction regarding the 5 whys.

Notice how many times Andy redirected me or asked me questions at the end of his messages: 5 times.

But there's another important lesson here. Andy showed me how I already have what's needed to help somebody right now, even if I think I don't have the skills.

Just like you might ask yourself "Why?" 5 times to find the root cause of problems, when you encounter someone that needs help ask yourself "How can I help?" 5 times, more if necessary.
That's what Andy did for me at the end of our conversation.

I told him I wasn't able to help my boss with the problem he had because I didn't have the skills and was scared of screwing it up. And screwing it up would really harm the business.
Then he asked me: "How could you help without screwing it up?" Well, I could help my boss find the right person to do the job. And I feel capable of doing that.

See how powerful this is?

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning having discovered that. Asking yourself the right questions really is where the game is at.

Andy, thank you very much for our conversation. I hope you don't mind me sharing it here, I thought this would help people that might feel stuck just like I am most of the time.

SiuLung

TL;DR :

Want to discover problems? Ask people questions, encourage them to talk about them with open-ended questions. Let them vent. Don't talk about you at all. Keep the conversation on them.
When you can't help because you don't have the skills, knowledge and/or you might screw up, ask yourself 5 times or more "How can I help achieving this result?"
Wow. Interesting breakdown. I hadn’t thought of it like that.

Asking good questions is a good skill.
 

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