5 Ways to Manage Your Mindset When Help is Anything But Helpful

5 Ways to Manage Your Mindset

“Hey, I just wanted to make you aware…”

Ever had a coworker say this to you? Or maybe it’s someone in your family/friend system. They’re “just trying to be helpful” by pointing out something to you. Unsolicited, they share feedback about you or your performance or how you are showing up in the world. Most of the time they heard it elsewhere, and it’s all under the guise of being supportive.

Big red flag for me.

When I first stopped wearing high heels at work, I was pulled aside by three different women to ask me about my flats. One thought I was pregnant, one was worried I was unwell and dealing with a health issue, and one just wanted to make me aware that flats weren’t professional.

Sure, maybe sometimes this kind of unsolicited sharing is actually helpful. It might even be well-intentioned. Perhaps what they’re telling you is constructive and kind. And at the same time, it might shake your confidence. Cause you to take a step back and wonder if you’re really doing as well as you were just starting to believe you were. Make you question yourself. What can you do when this happens? Try these 5 tactics to manage your mindset and not let it crush your confidence.

  1. First, lean into a learning mindset. Accept this information as a piece of data, but not the entire data set. Examine it as a scientist to see if there is anything valuable or useful, and be hyper-aware of where things really don’t jive with how you understand your situation.
  1. Next, consider the source. Is this a person you have a deep, trusting relationship with? Are they someone who knows you well enough to provide contextualized input? Do they have your best interests at heart? Are they someone you would typically turn to for advice?
  1. Check for intent. Ask yourself what this person might truly be trying to accomplish beyond just the stated desire to help you. Are they nervous about their own performance and passing this along because it makes them feel better? Have they been waiting to one-up you? Do they want to be seen as more powerful than they are? Are they possibly jealous of what you’re doing and how you’re showing up? Are you hitting a nerve of theirs in some way?
  1. After that, ask for specifics. Chances are they won’t provide them, but the more specific you can get, the more equipped you will be to figure out your next steps.
  1. Lastly, filter the input. A Mayor I used to work with always said, “Feedback is a gift.” I like to change that slightly to, “Feedback is a gift, but it’s not one you have to keep.” Take what serves you, create action steps if needed, and release the rest.

Toxic helpfulness shows up in lots of different ways, often from places or people you may not expect it from. In addition to the above, ask yourself if part of the reason it’s happening is because you are disrupting something in your place of work or your friend/family system. It might just be a sign you’re doing things exactly right for yourself.

Nicole LanceNicole Lance is living her boldest, most fiercely free life and loves helping her clients do the same. Leaving a 13-year career to launch her business with a newborn still at home, she now speaks and facilitates across North America. When she’s not writing or working with clients, Nicole is busy trying not to step on the Lego bricks her daughter leaves hidden in the carpet. Learn more at www.nicolelance.co



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