Helping Others is a Trick

hand card deck trick

It’s a trick into helping us realize how useful we really are. How much we really have to offer the world. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: We believe we’re of value because we’re helping, so we continue to do things of value. And then since we continue to do such helpful things, we believe we can do even more helpful things. And we get better, and do more, and get better…

I struggled to create meaningful work recently. Per usual, it took me a while to see it. I’m slow sometimes. And last week, imposter syndrome hit me like a truck.

Suddenly, all kinds of voices were telling me I was of no use to anyone. That I’m full of it, and can’t offer anyone any help. That people think I’m a fraud. I know nothing about what I teach, everyone else is better than me.

I’ve talked about those voices before. They’re assholes. And my chest hurt and my stomach was in knots.

I had been delaying responses to people who want to connect with me about my work because I’m questioning that I have anything anyone wants. I know that’s not good. I know it guarantees I won’t ever deliver on anything.

My mind was playing tricks on me, so I played one back.

I emailed a friend offering to help. Not with anything big — to re-establish a connection we’d discussed a while back. Just to prove to myself I can. To start there, with a single act. Anything positive.

I talk all the time with my clients and friends about small wins. That the tiniest snowflake can grow into an enormous snowball, if we let it. If we make that snowflake in the first place.

If you’re doubting your gifts, give one of them a chance to shine. Offer some help, whatever you can. The smallest amount. Start there and see where it goes. You have so much to give. I know you do.

And it turns out I do, too. A couple emails turned into some writing, a phone call, and now a hopeful partner in the future. Nothing huge yet. But something. That’s all I needed.

Photo via