26 Apr The Trouble With Enabling
Last night, I was retting the kids ready for bed and I caught myself cleaning up after them in the bathroom. A tube of toothpaste, a dirty sock…all of those little things that add up to a big mess. I forced myself to stop and put the mess back where I found it. Why? Because I realized I wasn’t actually helping them. If my children are going to learn what’s best for them, they have to be able to do it themselves. I’m not helping them – or me – by continuing to do it myself, even though it seems easier at the time. I had an “Ah-ha!” moment when I realized how similar this situation is to Vickery Trading Company.
I have an amazing ability to always choose the hardest thing in life. Uphill climb? Look for me. Complicated? Yup! Vickery Trading is no exception. I’m not gonna lie, VTC is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But here’s why: because we’re choosing to empower rather than enable.
Enabling says, “Just let me do it;” Empowering says, “I know you can do it.” Enabling is faster; empowering takes time. Enabling seems easier but is deceptively burdensome. Empowering is challenging but allows for exponential personal development. Enabling chains; empowering sets free.
To empower means to set my own agenda of speed or perfection aside for the benefit of another. Just like it’s better for my kids to learn to make their own beds, it’s better for our Associates to learn to re-thread machines themselves. The gift of competence is one of the most impactful gifts we can give. It can also be one of the largest up-front costs to any organization – whether it’s a family, a sports team or a business. But it’s necessary for long-term personal growth.
Can you imagine how different charity could look if we all took this approach? To “do with” instead of “do for.” We would be able to make a long-lasting impact on people’s lives. For me, the most incredible part of my job is not helping people. That’s great and all, but if I’m in it for me, I’m going to give up long before I get anywhere.
The greatest part of my job is watching faces light up when they master a new skill. Seeing a smile when a woman hears, “great job!” Hugging someone after they’ve killed it on something they’ve been trying for months. Knowing that someone can do it for themselves. If I’m no longer needed, I’ve done my job.
Your turn. Is there someone you can enable less and empower more? What’s stopping you?
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