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Daily Leadership Thought #120 – Be Wary Of Trying To Fix People

April 13, 2011

Free Black man explaining problem to female psychologist Stock Photo

Be wary of trying to fix people.  If in fact they are broken, they will need to fix themselves.  It is often easy to get “sucked into the vortex” of someone else’s problems, especially if you care about them.  However, the most important thing a good friend can do is simply listen and only offer advice when it is requested and then do it carefully and sparingly.   Do not try to be an amateur psychologist because you may be ill-prepared for what you uncover, and the burden of responsibility could then shift to you.

Every one of us has personal work to do. We all have areas in our life and aspects of personality that hold us back.  At times, it feels like a major part of our life’s journey is figuring out our personal obstacles and the lessons we need to learn to overcome them.   Sadly, it is usually an adverse event that triggers the need for learning and growth.  As they say, “sometimes you must hit “rock bottom” before you take positive action.”  Hopefully, the collateral damage for those surrounding you will not be too great.

Every individual has the capacity for self-awareness and self-sufficiency.  Friends and colleagues can act like a mirror reflecting what they see, but each of us must take ownership of our own life problems and lessons. The best we can do for others is to be honest, empathetic, establish healthy boundaries, and if necessary, encourage them to seek professional help.  You can’t fix other people, but you can still care enough to support them (if it is helpful).

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