“Helping People” is the wrong mission

ginger johnson human connection

I sent out a message in my newsletter last week – a challenge really:

“If you say you want to help people, you’ve got it wrong.”

Being more specific in how you help is key – of course we all want to help others! That’s fundamentally human. If you want to make real progress, contribute in a meaningful way, you gotta get specific. HOW do you help is the question, not if you will or not.


ginger johnson human connectionHere’s a perfect example, from a friend who felt compelled to reply to the newsletter, that is useful for us all:

“I was also going to respond to your previous email too about helping.  First of all, I love how you stay connected by offering your wisdom, last time on helping.  Besides your point in being clear on one’s purpose, I don’t ever say I’m going to help because it sounds so patronizing.  If it’s not asked for or needed, then I don’t go there.  If I offer because I think it might be needed, then I state what I can do or ask if they want something other.  I think of physically challenged people where my dad is at in memory care, I prefer they do as much as they want to do for themselves, but if they are having trouble maneuvering their wheelchair or walker, I’ll ask them if they want me to move a chair, or get them thru the door.  If I’d do it without asking, my “help” would be patronizing.”

Simple, thoughtful, brilliant, effective, help-full in the best ways.


Decide HOW you want to help people. That connects you with action & purpose, toward a specific goal of helping.

Reframe, rethink, reword. They get to it.


p.s. here’s a great article on not helping people to rethink it through….