Offering Real Help

Ron Macklin & Michelle Mosolgo

Offering Real Help

Episode 8: Real Offer of Help

Michelle asks Ron: What does it mean to be a “real offer of help”? And is there an emphasis on the word “real”

Ron says that if you’re making a real offer of help, the word “real” means it’s fitting into the other person's reality. No matter what we think, whether someone accepts our help or not, it depends on how they interpret that question: What help do I need

How do we figure out what help we need?

There’s certain help that we all need; for example, with our health, our body, our family. But each person has their own interpretation of the question: What is a good life? It may not be a question we ask each other often, but it’s an important one.

Michelle asks whether Ron has had any instances of asking someone “What is a good life for you?” and they didn’t want to share their true answer because it may be different from what is considered the “norm.” How do you get people to open up and share?

Ron says it’s more like people trying on shoes. They begin to create space for these realities and take a look at the skills or other steps it would take to get there.

The first real offer of help could be helping someone figure out what a good life is for them.

Michelle says that it took her about three years to become comfortable with her idea of a good life because she got caught up in society’s norms. For her, it came down to taking care of her family and living somewhere warm -- in South Florida.

Ron says it can take courage to figure out what’s important to you and not just pay attention to the media’s idea of a good life.

Michelle shares a story about the process and the time it took for her to come up with her idea of a good life. She figured out what was important for her. While at first it was disruptive, she eventually found peace.

Ron asks Michelle what lines she likes to toss to others. Michelle says she likes to toss this line: “What brings you peace?” Peace may not be a word that’s used a lot, but then people stop to think about it.

Ron shares a story about “trying on a lot of shoes.” Part of his journey was asking himself what he cares about and then deciding what was important to him. Ron realized he wouldn’t be happy if he’s not able to contribute and make offers of help to other people. He wants to be in a space to spend time with his family. If he’s doing something that isn’t helping him achieve those goals, he looks for ways to close that out so he can get back to what’s important.

Michelle asks: Now that you know how to help people start thinking about what a good life is to them, what do you do with that?

Ron says, when someone starts a dialogue with themselves, maybe they don’t have all the pieces. They don’t have the story. You can help by giving a real offer of help and sharing a story. It’s not a one-time thing -- you want to be in their network and help them along the way because they can’t do it all alone.

“To be a real offer of help is to be able to bring forth what is missing in a way that doesn’t sting.”

Michelle asks about the timing. As you see someone working through what they care about, you can toss lines when they get stuck. How can you help someone find what’s missing in a way that’s dignified?

Ron holds the distinction of the “minus self, plus self, and zero self.” A plus self has it all figured out and doesn’t need to learn any more. A zero self is feeling pretty good but is open to learning more. A minus self is looking for help.

Look for the people who have gotten quiet because they’re thinking about so many things. Then, they might be ready to ask a question.

Ron shares a story about tossing lines with a man, wanting to find out what he wanted from his life. The man went quiet and didn’t come back to Ron. Five years later, Ron went out to dinner with the man and his wife. He found out that the man and his wife had a hard time with those questions but it was the best thing that ever happened to them, even though Ron didn’t hear from him again until then.

Michelle shares a story about a friend of hers who wanted to open a school built on compassion, though the physical building was causing some problems. Michelle tossed a line to her friend: “What is a school?” She was afraid she had upset her friend, because she got very quiet. But after five minutes, she came back and the conversation shifted. Now, after COVID, her friend is teaching online with students from around the world and the physical building is less important.

Ron and Michelle discuss the stories they tell themselves in those moments of silence, when you’ve just tossed a line and the other person is quiet and considering the question.

Michelle asks what happens if you try to step in with help too early, when someone is a “plus self.”

Ron shares a story about his friend James and a time that he went in “too fast.” James said he wasn’t sure who Ron was yet, and he wasn’t ready to share. Ron said he didn’t yet have the story on how to “clean up his own messes.”

Ron says that while not everyone knows what they’re looking for, a lot of people know what they’re not looking for. Running experiments to see what happens can help, and having fun always helps.

Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.


Episode Summary

Offering Real Help

What does it mean to be a real offer of help? And how is it related to finding out what it means to have a good life? Ron and Michelle discuss being a real offer of help in this episode of “The Story in Your Head.”