Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Teach a Man to Fish - Monterey Bay - 17 Mile Drive - Lone Cypress - California

While it may be easier to do something for someone else rather than take the time to show them how to do it, it doesn’t truly help them in the long run. If you take the time to teach someone how to do it for themselves, they gain mastery of it and they aren’t dependent on you or anyone else for help.

We find this concept harder to incorporate in our personal lives rather than professional lives. I used to work for a massive retailer and my boss and team members were constantly asking me to run reports for them. And of course it was always needed immediately. It became such a nuisance that I sat down with them and showed them how they could access the data and run the reports for themselves. This accomplished two things. One, it decreased how often they came to me for the reports and two, they weren’t dependent on only one person to provide the data and reports they needed.

Think about this concept in your personal life. I know for me, I would rather teach someone I care about how to do something for themselves, not because I don’t want to be bothered doing it for them – it’s quite the opposite. I would rather invest the time in teaching them, so that they can learn the basics and then fine tune it to their preferences or style. I want them to feel good about themselves learning how to do it, feel autonomous and gain confidence in whatever skill it is I teach them. The payoff for me is feeling good about teaching someone something that they can now use in the future to help or provide for themselves.

In what areas of your life are you giving someone a fish rather than teaching them how to fish? How can you begin to take steps to teach them instead?

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