Serve and Support, Not HELP
I recently heard a lecture by Dr. Iyanla Vanzant where she repeated those words four or five
times before she continued by saying “The distinction being serving means that you give who
you are and what you have and what you know without expectation of recognition or reward.
Support means you do what is asked, no more no less and if it’s not asked, you don’t do.
Help means you have an attachment to the outcome so if they fail, you fail.
For me, those words were life-changing. I’ve always said I want to help, I want to change
people’s lives and when I look back on the ways I chose to do that, I realize most of them fall
into the “service” category. Things like participating in Meals on Wheels (delivering meals to
home bound people) or sponsoring a family through church at Christmas. But I never felt
fulfilled and I couldn’t understand why. I figured if I just did more, (More, MORE!) that I would
feel better. I realized after hearing Iyanla speak that I’ve always been attached to the outcome – I
even heard the term NATO a few years ago (Not Attached To Outcome) and still didn’t put the
I never did the things I did for the recognition or reward and for the most part, my serving has
been anonymous. But because I’ve always wanted to HELP and CHANGE LIVES, I realize I
was, most certainly, attached to the outcome. Not for myself, per se, but I wanted to know I
made a difference in the life or lives of those I was HELPING.
I have truly always SERVED. I have been working on SUPPORTING – this has been more of a
challenge for me since I want to HELP – and therefore am attached to the outcome. But a wise
friend recently told me:
[Tweet “Unsolicited advice is perceived as criticism.”]
I actually added the word “perceived” because I am good at giving unsolicited advice, but only
because I want to HELP. I never mean it as criticism. I am practicing to just keep quiet, unless I
So how about you? When you do something nice for someone else, are you serving, supporting,