Help for Helping Professionals

17/8/2015 |
Helpful hands 1Are you helpful by nature?  Do you sometimes put others’ needs ahead of your own?

We’ve worked with many professionals in ‘helping industries’ – Doctors, nurses, psychologists, suicide prevention trainers, social workers and teachers. We also find ‘helpers’ in industries outside of healthcare fields.

Let’s define ‘helpers’ as anyone who has a tendency to care deeply and want to help others at work.  If it’s a core part of your being to help others, it doesn’t matter if you are an admin assistant, HR specialist, insurance broker (yes, they can be very kind), facilitator, trainer or therapist.  It means you tend to give more than you take.  And it may mean a degree of self-sacrifice or a tendency to neglect projects close to your own heart.

Being super-supportive may be core to your work.  But being nice has its risks as well as rewards.  Us helpers are usually excellent customer services folks, praised for being conscientious and often quick to share the glory of success.  However, a common refrain we hear from ‘helpers’ is – “I don’t have time to get my own work done because I am busy taking care of everyone else.”  Does this sound familiar?

If you tend to be a ‘helperread on for 4 remedies we’ve learned from our kind and helpful clients…

1. Celebrate:

If ‘taking care’ is a core part of your work, then celebrate your impact on others.  Sometimes being helpful is so second nature that you don’t realize how much your work supports others to do their own great work.  Pat yourself on the back and revel for a moment in the effect you have on others.

2. Meetings for One:

Book an appointment for yourself and honour it as if it were a meeting with your boss or other important person.  Use this sacred time to focus on a passion project of your own.

3. A little Self-care is Not Selfish:

Treat yourself – everyday.  Maybe you enjoy a food treat like chocolate or a latte.  Or maybe it’s a brain treat like meditation or an hour of uninterrupted focus time.  One of my pleasures is to invest 15 minutes reading ‘productivity porn’.  A break from ‘work’ to simply read and reflect stimulates my brain in different directions than if I simply plowed thought my email inbox.  It’s a daily restorative gift to myself.

 4. Keep a “Nice Notes” file:

I learned this trick from a client about 15 years ago and have shared it hundreds of time since.  It’s one of my favourite practices.  Simply set up a folder and name it something meaningful to you – Well Wishes, Kudos, Feathers, or Compliments to name a few. I call mine ‘Nice Notes’.  File away all the nice thoughts and compliments people send your way…and maybe even the ones you send to others.

When I am feeling a bit low or unmotivated, I simply take a quick peek in my folder and enjoy an injection of warm-fuzzies that likely stimulates feel-good chemicals in my body.  Whatever the science behind it, it makes me feel good.  And when I feel good, I am more productive.

We’d love to hear your tips. And we know you are willing to share a few because that is the nature of a helper.

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