There have been numerous occasions over the years when I made up my mind that I was going to help someone. They didn’t always know – they weren’t consulted – I’d decided.

I saw a need and it was my opinion that my assistance was going to be offered so that they could change! I’m just made that way.

Now, to be fair to me, in a small number of cases this has proven to be highly effective. My intentions were good, my aim was positive and my decision proved to be a correct one. The help helped!

However, in the overwhelming majority my ‘help’ was not actually ‘helpful’, I’d made the wrong decision. What happened? My intentions were still good; my aim was still a positive one.
Here’s the problem – you cannot change people, but they can change themselves.

So what, that you sincerely believe that you have a key to help them unlock their issue?

My ‘keys’ in the past have included ideas that I know ‘will work’, practical methods that are ‘easily implementable’, books that people ‘should’ read and assorted words of ‘wisdom’!

What I’ve discovered though, inexplicably, is that there are people who don’t want things to change! Even if they are in a place that makes them, for example, unhappy – and they could change – they don’t want to! How do you make sense of that? Answer – you don’t need to! It’s their life, not yours.

Of course it’s always admirable to want to be of assistance to another person that we deem is in need. The fact is though people have to ask for our help in order to place any value on it. And this is a major lesson in life that I’ve learned and that I continually need to remind myself of:

• You can only help those people who want to be helped;
• You can only offer advice to those who are prepared to listen;
• You can only make a difference to someone who chooses for things to be different;
• Always remember, to quote an old Lincolnshire adage “you can’t help them as won’t help themselves”!

Hope you found that helpful? (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)