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Friday, February 4, 2022

Lean Quote: Don’t Fix or Solve People’s Problems

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Those who have the greatest need to tell others what to do have the least faith in themselves.  —  – Paul Ferrini

We are well conditioned to believe that it is our job to fix others and solve their problems for them. If we see someone struggling or uncertain, we are quick to race in and save them from their challenges. We have been trained to see this as an act of care, a gift to another. But is it really?

With this in mind, here are three other reasons to avoid fixing the problems of others:

1. People are inherently resourceful and resilient

We’re not born with the ability to solve problems and find solutions. We learn and develop this with practice. The only way to develop the ability to solve problems is to face them. Yes, it’s obviously much more comfortable for someone to do it for you. But this makes you be more insecure and dependent.

2. Serving promotes growth, fixing problems hinders it

Good intentions do not solve problems. Good intentions do not make someone a better, stronger, smarter person. Likewise, fixing problems doesn’t do any of these things either. On the other hand, discovering and implementing creative ways to be of service to someone (which is often dependent upon the need) does all of these things.

3. You limit their confidence and ingenuity

Solving other people’s problems is not a good idea because they will end up not trusting their own abilities. If you want to help, offer your support but allow them to make their own decisions and create their own destiny. Everyone must take their own path.

There is a place for offering advice or your opinion, but I would suggest that you try giving it when asked, rather than by default. Practice listening, offering empathy, and perhaps asking questions that support the other to look within. Encourage them to seek their own answers. Remind them that their intuition knows best, and that it’s always there to provide answers much better than those anyone else could give.

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