I Can Help You With That
“I can help you with that” is my second favourite phrase in the world. It comes in right between
- I love you
- Here’s your burrito.
Because we don’t want to feel like we have to do it alone.
There’s a difference between being independent and being alone. Independence is a choice, being alone is a lack of other options. Someone who leaves the firm to set up their own shop is independent. An astronaut that has been abandoned on Mars when the rest of his team has flown home? He’s alone. (As far as we know.)
I love hearing “I can help you with that” when I ring customer service.
My internet has stopped working. I need to change my phone plan. My bill seems to be wrong. I call because I’ve got an issue I want to resolve and “I can help you with that” puts me at ease immediately. It reassures me that we’re in this together. There’s a person, with a face and a name (“I”) who I can talk to. Someone who has been down this path before and knows the way, or who is willing to saddle up and join me on the search for an answer.
One on one interactions form a bond. I can help you with that is a posture of generosity that fosters connection right at the time when the person who needs your help might be feeling at their most disconnected.
You want to help me? I’m worthy of your help?
It feels good.
Cultivate a Culture of Yes.
Melanie Whelan’s company SoulCycle has a culture of yes. She believes that there is a “yes in every interaction with a colleague, with a client, with anyone that you come across in your day.”
Where can you find a yes in the interactions you are having?
Debbie Millman has a chalkboard in her office with one word on it. It’s high up on the window where she hopes everybody can see it when they walk in. It says YES.
She encourages us to try and say yes to everything. Or say “Yes, but…” or “Yes, and…” to offer a sense of open-mindedness and still be able to qualify your agreement as necessary.
How can we make sure we help create and grow a culture of yes?
Yes keeps the world spinning. It moves the flywheel faster.
No puts the brakes on. It slows things down and it raises defenses.
Look for an opportunity to say “I can help you with that” today. It might be to someone who comes to you looking for your advice or assistance, or maybe you’ll reach out to someone you know who is ‘in the weeds’.
Helping someone isn’t always about changing things for them. Sometimes it’s just acknowledging and sharing the experience they’re having.
So today –
- Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and remind them that you love them.
- find an opportunity to offer (an offertunity?) “I can help you with that.”
- Grab a burrito.
Go ahead. You can thank me later.