Perhaps the most important question for a therapist or coach, but one we rarely ask ourselves.
If we let this question help us, we can end up making a huge difference in peoples lives. By and large we seems to be a species that wants the feeling of doing something useful. We need to feel this even if it is temporary, rather than a more solid action that builds success for real. It would certainly sum up a lot of my early efforts to get busy 🙂
Most therapists I talk to have a litany of things they have tried that were more blind hope than part of a plan. 'I put up a website', 'I put up a sign', 'I worked on a brochure, but didn't get it printed because that was too expensive,' and so many more.
We're often frightened by planning when we don't fully know what the best thing to do is.
However, we don't need to be doing the 'BEST' or the 'PERFECT' thing. We just need to be doing something useful.
When we want to help people, that boils down to a simple question: 'Will this let me help more people?'
The amazing thing about this question, is that you can apply it across the board to everything you do, in order to keep yourself on track.
This question is useful as a good way to save money in advertising. With each expenditure ask yourself the question: 'How many people will this let me help?'
It helps us on all aspects of our business.
When it comes to buying office equipment, we'll get a happy glow of 'investing in my businesss' and that feeling is often unquestioned. How many times have you spent money feeling it was worthwhile, only to later regret it?
From the snazzy motorised chair or a new laptop, the question: 'Will this let me help more people?' can put things in perspective.
When we wonder if we have the right therapy – maybe making the mistake of thinking not being busy equals not being good, rather than realising people don't know where to find our help - the same question can be helpful. If I'm thinking 'I'll do training in another therapy' asking 'Will this let me help more people?' can again make us look at the real issue. If I have 2 therapies will I be any better at finding clients?
If we can't at least partly answer the question, then we know we need more information. If I don't know if the new phone will make a difference, maybe I should chat to someone who uses it to organise their life and see if it does help. Will putting up posters help? If I don't know then maybe I should ask a question on a forum of people like me who might have tried it.
Part of what a question like this does, is push us out of our complacency. So often we think 'I understand this particular thing so I'll do it', rather than look at what might be different but successful. Where we build success and grow, is just outside our comfort zone.
When I did my Psycho-trauma training I asked that question. I was seeing clients in sufficient numbers to find that there were some people asking for my help who I couldn't help, or whom I felt unable to help. I looked for what would solve that specific need.
There were loads of courses or trainings I could have done. Some were more alluring – they felt familiar, were things I understood more, and seemed easier. I had to resist those lures and focus on what would make the real sustainable difference in my practice. 'Will this let me help more people?'
Once I had worked out that social media was the easiest way to keep helping more people, I looked for
what training might make me better at it. There were loads of accessible trainings online and even locally, and I could have taken the easy option and done them. However, none of them were tailored to our industry – the helping people sector. It was an annoyance to have to search for other options rather than just get that good feeling of 'I'm doing something useful because I'm spending money in vaguely the right area'. I had to force myself to look for the answer to 'Will this let me help more people?'
In the end I hired a College Lecturer on IT and Social Media who has his own successful business in that field as well. I negotiated and hired him for a full day to come to my office and answer my questions on many different areas. I suspect it was more fun for me than him 🙂
But because I stopped and asked myself the key question, I learned alot more that was immediately useable. I gained skills that directly let me reach and help more people.
It wasn't always like that. At the start when I was feeling overwhelmed and underworked, I was letting that stress reaction throw me into the immediate release of 'Oh thankfully I've done something... I needed to do something'.
It was a bit like the person who buys the cycling gear in Lidl and feels 'I'm getting into cycling, that will get me fit' even though they don't have a bike yet 🙂
We confuse activity with achievement.
Want to move to more Achievement? Use this question a lot: 'Will this let me help more people?'
Focus on the contribution you can make, whether it's coaching people, helping reduce pain, emotional issues, suffering of any type, use this desire to make the world a better place, to drive you on and look for the ways that move you into helping more. That will create the win for you as well. Helping more people should also mean earning a better living for yourself and your family too.
Keep that win / win in mind and build success.
So, what can you do this week that will help answer the question: 'Will this let me help more people?'
Have a great week,
Let us know if you want to stay up to date:
John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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