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Overhelping V Radical Honesty

Lucy Power, a leading success and leadership Coach talks over helping and its antidote, truth.

Overhelping is NOT helping (nor is it leading with love)

Do you find yourself saying ‘YES’ when every piece of you is screaming ‘NOOOO!!’ This is a common signifier of the overhelping pattern.

In Transactional Analysis, we name this process the ‘please others’ driver. By pleasing, we discount our needs, wishes and wants and we elevate those of the other. We get into an ‘I’m OK, they’re NOT OK’ place in order to assume that we can do, think or feel better than they can. We get motherly. Or fatherly, essentially we parent from a ‘better than’ position while busilly denying our own importance.

Sounds complex right? Well, yes it is. It takes some jiggery pokery for sure. And it is not even worth the effort because it leaves us feeling unseen, isolated, missed and angry (though we would never ever admit to that so we turn it on ourselves and in this we sabotage our success and happiness).

I am exhausted just thinking about this, and to think I used to live it, day in day out until I felt so chewed and spat out I could barely function.

So, I am here to tell you that you are not helping THEM or YOU by doing this.

Have you considered how honesty would liberate you and them from this pattern of thinking, feeling and being?

Claude Steiner (a very good and well regarded Transactional Analyst) said we can

“Develop the wise art of being radically truthful and remaining considerate, thoughtful, and safe.”

So, how about this, “I want to help but I don’t have capacity / I am not the best person for this”? How does this sit with you?

Choosing, making and holding boundaries is the route to freedom from pleasing. It releases us from the burden of making believe we know best, that we can do it all and indeed that we should.

Should. How I despair of this word.

So, what stops you from making, setting and holding boundaries? What stops you from setting consequences which you will follow through on when your boundaries are broken? My guess is that your muscle in this area is atrophied through lack of use and so I invite you to make small and manageable steps toward building it back up again.

How about practicing saying ‘no’ to a few seemingly inconsequential things?

I know that even this can be hard when this is an entrenched pattern, and ‘no’ to a cuppa, to a walk, to a chat because you are busy with something else, to a night out, to watching this film or that TV programme is harder than it reads and so ‘no’ to a discount which devalues your potency, to taking on a client you know isn’t a good fit, to offering a service you decided to cease, to spending time with a person who constantly leaves you feeling bad can be, for those of us with the pleasing process embedded deep into our way of being in this world, practically impossible.

SO, start small. Start tiny. And build up to the important ‘no’s, the ones which will leave you feeling like you are finally acting in your own best interests and stepping into your own importance.

This exercise is really worth doing, and practicing and returning to when you drift back into your unrelenting ‘yes’ behaviour. It is worth focusing on. When you focus on you, when you meet your own needs first and foremost, you step out of pleasing, out of feeling resentful and used, out of that desperate need to justify your existence.

When you focus on you first, you world becomes a little bit shinier and you become grounded, solid, substantial and successful in whatever you choose to do from there.

Pleasing is a severe and popular limit. I am here to help you to liberate yourself from ALL of your limits. I am here to lead you to the truth of you so that you can become successful whatever this means for you and whatever you choose to focus on.

Your truth is ALWAYS better for you and for them than your pleasing pattern.

Contact me on to set up a chat about how I will help YOU to grow your success muscle.

Lucy Power

Lucy Power

Leadership and Success Coach

I am a Therapeutic Success Coach working with people, groups and organisations, I am trained in Transactional Analysis for psychotherapy and organisations as well as being a Barefoot trained Coach and Lead Tutor. I am passionate about the difference TA and Coaching together can make in people's lives. TA gives me a model from which to support you to examine your thinking, feeling and behaviour toward yourself, other people and your world. Together we will hold it all up to the light of Adult scrutiny and you will decide in full awareness what serves you and what doesn't. Bringing your unconscious motivations into your awareness will help you to SUCCEED, whatever this means for you.