“Think before you act, and act on what you believe.”

~ Bo Bennett

This week I’m digging in on the reminder I’ve shared several times during this ‘helping hiatus’ experiment. If helping someone else is hurting you, it’s not helping. In this short video I share five ways the help you give can end up hurting.

Watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows, and continue (every day) to think before you act … then do what feels right for you.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here taking a break from helping my mom with the transition into assisted living. It’s happening in the next couple of months, but I’m here visiting and helping her out. It’s one of the things I’m able to do because my helping hiatus has allowed me to be focused on how I spend my time. So I’m here for five days. That’s a big deal.

This week I’m following up on some of the messages I’ve had from all of you around one of the things that I’ve said several times during this Helping Hiatus series:

“If helping someone else is hurting you, it’s not helping.”

I want to talk a little bit more about it, because many of you have commented on it. This statement most often relates to those times when you’re helping someone else outside of your day-to-day job responsibilities, or you’re giving of your volunteer time, or you’re giving of your expertise outside of your work or what have you. Sometimes that help can feel hard, which is when it’s good to remind yourself… If helping someone else is hurting you, it’s not helping.

Here are a few situations to where saying YES may cause you stress:

1) If you say yes and you don’t have the time, energy, or resources to do a good job, or because you have your own responsibilities to tend to, that might be an instance where you choose to say no.

2) If you say yes time and again, and aren’t appreciated for your efforts, or you start to feel like you’re being taken for granted.

This is a big warning sign, and if it happens regularly you’ve got to ask yourself why you keep saying yes. (And to those who might take others for granted … boy, oh, boy, thank you goes a long way when somebody is helping you, and giving you their extra time and energy.)

3) If you say yes to someone else and end up saying no to yourself.

This is a common one, where you find yourself not able to exercise, or do things that you enjoy, or spend time with your family because you’re giving so much time and energy to other people and other things. If helping someone else is hurting you, it’s not helping.

4) If you say yes, so you don’t let somebody down.

I really want you to think about this one. My lovely mom is a helper and caregiver by nature, and she collects bottles from the ditch and everywhere when she’s out on her walks. She’s been doing this for years. She hasn’t been able to walk very much lately because of her hip replacements, so the ladies in her walking group will now collect all the bottles and drop them off at the house here for mom to sort through. They all go to lunch at the end of the year with the money they get.

Mom is trying to downsize because she’s leaving this home in the for a couple of months. And so I said to her yesterday, “Maybe you could tell the ladies to stop dropping off the bottles?” And she said, “Well, I can’t do that because they depend on me and I don’t want to let them down.”

I’ll work on that one with my mom. But think about how this example might apply in your case. What are the things that you’re saying yes to so you don’t let somebody down? Have a gentle conversation with them.

5) And finally, anytime you say yes and feel resentment, frustration, regret, sadness, and yes, even invisibility because someone is taking you for granted, stop and ask yourself why you feel obliged to give your time, energy, and expertise when it doesn’t always feel good to do so.

I will say this again. This example is related the time that you give outside your work responsibilities. It’s the extra time, the volunteer efforts that you provide, the helping that you want to do as a good person. If helping someone else is hurting you in any of these ways or any others that you choose to share, then it’s not helping.

Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg, reminding you that in order to Ignite High Performance, we do have to protect how we give away our time. Boy, I’m learning this through this helping hiatus. There are now five videos in this series. Take a look. They’re all about how to say yes strategically, how to say no with strength and conviction, and how to trust that you’re giving away your time in a way that is meaningful for you. Until next time.

I’m booking 2024 speaking engagements across North America RIGHT NOW – keynotes, workshops, even 1:1 coaching… If you’d like to chat about how to bring me in to your organization to help your team eliminate burnout, increase engagement, and ignite high performance, pop me an email at hello@michellecederberg.com. I’d love to chat.

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Michelle Cederberg, Health and Productivity Expert, MKin, BA Psyc, CEP, CPCC
Hall of Fame Speaker, CSP, Certified Coach & Best-Selling Author



Using science-based strategies to eliminate burnout, increase engagement, and ignite high performance


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