Its natural to help the people you love. Kids, parents, siblings, friends… when you see them taking a hit the instinct is to step in and lend a hand.
Don’t do it! That way lies failure. Bailing people out creates relationships of dependency. An unspoken contract is formed whereby the dependent knows that you’re going to save him no matter what he does.
He knows he doesn’t have to pay the price of failing.
And so a pattern is created. Not only does he never become emasculated, but you create more work for yourself.
Some people want to be dependent. Some people want to have dependents.
This is not the path of success and happiness.
True entrepreneurs want their partners to be independent. You want to know your partners are with you because they want to be with you, not because they have to be with you.
The only way you can be sure of the nature of your relationship is to throw your partner in the deep end and let him sink or swim, even if its clear he’s going to drown.
Don’t lend a hand unless he asks. The act of asking forces your partner to be vulnerable and acknowledge that he needs help.
Grabbing his hand and pulling him out of the pool without being asked allows him to save his ego from an important acknowledgement: “I need help. I can’t do it all myself.”
Also, maybe your partner manages to learn to swim at the final minute and saves himself.
If you’d pulled him out the pool before that moment you’ve robbed him of the chance to find out whether he has steel in him.
The feeling of confidence that comes from learning how to swim by yourself cannot be instilled through confidence and compliments. It only comes from learning to swim by yourself.
If you want to find true partners, let them sink. It’s the only way to create independent relationships.
And independence is the only way to find real success.
Also published on Medium.