Be a Hero Today – Say This One Thing

Say the phrase: “What I can do to help you?” and really mean it. You will be someone’s superhero today.

This one phrase, “What can I do to help you?” has more power than you would believe. When you ask this phrase you:

  1. Signal that someone else’s agenda and needs are more important than your own.
  2. Show that you value the other person so much that we are willing to interrupt our life for them.
  3. Have a deep enough relationship, or enough self-confidence, to trust the person to whom you are offering help.
  4. Are willing to listen to what the person needs rather than start from the point of what you think you need.

If you ask the question, “What can I help you with today?” and mean it, you will be a hero. If you didn’t mean it and back-pedal when someone tells you what they need, you will be a nothing. You will break trust with that person. This doesn’t mean that you will end up doing everything that someone asks you to do. “What can I do to help you?” is the beginning of a conversation, not a surrender of all of your time and energy.

If you ask this question, you might be taken on an adventure that you hadn’t expected. You may also be asked if you can do something that you don’t have the skill to do. You need to be honest about whether you can do what they are asking. Maybe you have to let the person reply and then be clear about what you can do. “Wow, I understand how my work on sorting the 3000 files for the disposition would be really helpful to you. I can spend two hours at this, but I also have to get my work done to prepare the merger documents for signing. I’ll ask Alice if she has some time to help too.” Don’t weasel out of your first question, but set your boundaries for what you can indeed offer.

“What Can I Do To Help You?” Ask it. Mean it. Be a hero. Live the adventure.