How Helping Others Helps You
By Roger Crawford. This was originally published on Roger's blog.
We have all used a hands-free, automatic faucet. It has a proximity sensor, and once hand motion is detected, water starts flowing. Those faucets are typically found in airports and hotels.
Now I’m a dude with only three fingers. Let me tell you something: Automatic faucets are, well, not so automatic. When I’m ready to wash my hands, I stand in front of the sink, do a few finger waves, and get nothing.
Since the finger wave doesn’t work, I begin doing the “Backpack Dance,” trying to trigger the infrared. (If you’re over 30, Google “Backpack Dance.”) The rapid arm and hip movements cause me to sweat more liquid than the faucet!
At this point, I have a decision to make: Leave without washing my hands (yikes!) or ask for help.
When I was younger, I often felt embarrassed to ask for assistance because of my hands. Today it’s just a humbling experience and a reminder that we all need one another. I find someone in the men’s room and ask, “Will you please wave your hand in my sink and turn on the faucet?” You don’t hear that request in a men’s room very often, and the looks I get are priceless. On a few occasions, a person has asked if they were on Candid Camera or being punk’d.
Despite the unusual request, no one has ever been unwilling to help. In fact, through this experience, I’ve made new friends and even booked a speech as a result of someone helping me. The most common response I receive from people is, “Thrilled to give you a hand” or “Blessed to help you.” Here’s what it has taught me: Don’t underestimate another person’s willingness to help.
I share this story with you for two reasons:
During the difficult times we’re living in, I want to encourage you not to be afraid or embarrassed to ask another person for a hand. We’re living through a period of unprecedented challenges that are out of our control. It’s reasonable to need help and encouragement from others to manage the uncertainties of our world today. It is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and wisdom to ask for help when you need it.
Also, let’s all commit to looking for ways to reach out and give people a hand. You’re at your very best when you support and connect with others. We’ve all heard, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Think about the last time you helped another person. How did it make you feel? It’s a gift and a treasure to be a positive influence in another person’s life. You can inspire others to focus their energy not only on what is but also on what can be.
All of you have something significant to share and contribute. You have unique insight and inspiration to give others that no one else has. Being a hero doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do something heroic. It means showing up and being willing to make a difference.
One message I share with audiences is this: “All of us have handicaps. Some you can see; most you cannot.”As human beings, we’re all imperfect, and that is why we need each other.
Today we need each other more than ever!
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