We all have those days – the ones where we think we might lose our mind, or a portion of it, if we are presented with one more ridiculous question. “Ummm, yeah, what was it I was supposed to do with those documents??” Or, for the 8th time in one week, “I’m sorry, but I can’t remember how we’re supposed to fill out our timesheets (giggle, giggle…)” Or, this one really gets me… “I don’t have time to look it up, can you just tell me what it says again?” Incompetence! The audacity! Why oh why must they use my brain instead of their own?! RTFM!
In cases where you feel like your time is being wasted, while a whole slew of legitimate tasks are backing up, it can be difficult to take the upper road and assist another who doesn’t seem to be able to use obvious tools to help themselves. It can be hard to look at this time-sucker-human as an opportunity to share your knowledge (again and again), offer building blocks and nurture a relationship that will reach beyond the immediate and earn you Karma points.
In my daily work, I’m presented often with questions that seem painfully obvious. Well, at least they do to me, because I am an expert. Yes, an expert! But, I wasn’t always an expert. I was a beginner in the beginning. (Some people stay in that beginning phase longer than others, like my 4-year old not remembering that it’s a house-rule to pick up your underwear.) I’m sure – actually positive – there were many redundant questions I pestered my boss with before they stuck. And now, with confidence, I have the answers, or I know where to go to find answers for myself. Luckily, my guru was patient. While not always successful, I try to offer that same grace to my customers who call me day in and day out seeking support navigating our property management software.
If you think about the cast of characters in your life, there is an interdependence that exists. A whole “scratch my back, I”ll scratch yours.” It may not seem so obvious at times, but the next time the proverbial phone rings and you hear “I am confused, how do you _____” take a moment to pause. Instead of feeling your eyes roll, allow an image of who you are to this person fill your mind. You are the helper. The guru. The trusted source. You are the one this person feels they can come to when they don’t know what to do. You are the expert. And, this person, who is about to waste your time, needs you. Follow me here to the next visualization… Who are they to you? Is this person your customer, who helps keep your company in business so you can feed your family? Is this person a vendor of yours who you may have to call on – after hours – to help fix a disaster? Is this person an employee who will advertise freely to the whole community what type of person you really are? Is this person someone you love and would normally protect? Is this person just some random stranger that has the ability to pass on your kindness in this world? In almost all cases, you are connected to this person. And, you have a choice about how you approach this person. Are you going to help them, or hurt them? Are you going to help yourself or hurt yourself?
This business of helping another…it’s always prudent, cost effective, mutually beneficial, the right thing to do. Karma Ka-ching. Imho.