This is a famous quote of Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in other people.”
When I do presentations or training courses about networking there are always people in the room who say they never “get anything out of their network”.
When I ask them what they have done for others, there are two kinds of reactions:
1) They become silent and have to admit they haven’t helped other people either.
2) They say they got tired of giving, giving, giving and finally want to receive something. They are tired of getting their boundaries crossed too.
I think it is easy to see how Gandhi’s quote applies to the first group of people.
But how about the second group?
It is very important to not cross your boundaries, because then frustration can rear its ugly head.
The most common barrier that hold us from helping people the whole time is time.
Remember that most people are already glad if they receive help to go to the next step.
People who have difficulties with boundaries think most of the time that the other person wants the final solution. And as a consequence they spend lots of time to figure that out, cross their boundaries and feel that the other doesn’t respect their boundaries.
It is this discrepancy between expectations from one person and how we translate those expectations that leads to frustration. Because even if we give much more than is expected, the other person many times doesn’t give us the – from our point of view – necessary appreciation.
Not because they don’t want to, but because they didn’t ask for it and many times don’t understand how much time and effort it was. The reason: they are in the process of discovering it themselves.
My advice: when you want to do something for someone, ask specific questions and help the other person take the next step, not the whole walk. In this way you also give the example of how to help people and not cross boundaries.
Most of the times they are already very happy with that and you don’t get frustrated because you dind’t cross your boundaries. And you were the change you wanted to see in others !
Have a great networking day !