Sometimes you think the mission you’ve been put here on earth to do is to help someone in life but did you ever think that someone might actually be you? Do you know what really motivates you when it comes to helping those around you? Is it your need to feel wanted, needed or important? Or, do you have the ability to know the difference between being a helper and being an enabler?
You can enable yourself and you can enable others when it comes to perpetuating actions, beliefs or behaviors that are counter-productive to reaching your main objective in life. You might be one who believes that by helping someone who has a drinking problem by being supportive, amiable and trusting, you are actually helping that person build trust in you. When in actuality that person has been lying to you and to himself or herself about how serious an issue they have. You could be the type of person who thinks by working hard and “trusting” someone at work you have the right moral fiber to make it in this world. But when your trust is misplaced and your commitment and support to the job goes unnoticed by the person you are protecting you now move into the enabler role and are perpetuating a pattern of behavior that will prove to hurt not help you in the end.
Realizing the difference between being helpful and hurtful to yourself before you get caught up in the office drama goes along way to not only protecting your future but also making sure you know and trust the person who says “Trust me.” We all want to be helpful and supportive especially to those who may have helped us along the way in a career move or with a job promotion. But how much is too much? When do you know that you’ve blurred the lines of being helpful or hurtful to yourself and to the other person who keeps telling you that they have your back?
You’ve worked hard to establish your credibility and reputation and even though you may feel you “owe it “ to the next person when it comes to being a team player, the person you really owe it to is yourself when it comes to protecting your back and ultimately your career future. You may think it’s selfish not to be supportive of someone who has helped you in your career but may have a mixed reputation, is a liar, cheated on his/her spouse or is of questionable morale and ethical character. You have a choice in who and where you associate your time and your attention. This does not mean that you have to turn your back on someone in need but you do need to make sure you take yourself out of the middle of any situation that does not have your best interests at stake.
Finding the balance between being a good friend and colleague from being an enabler requires a lot of soul-searching. You may not always know the difference when it’s time to actually help someone but maybe it’s okay to start by simply walking away.
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