run down barn

Seeing the potential in a person or a situation is great. It is one of the strengths of being a problem solver, a designer, a fixer.

But we mustn't let that blind us to the reality: that potential we see so clearly may not ever be realised. And even it it were, the outcome may be completely surprising and not what we expected.

A house or apartment may have great potential, but it may not be cost effective or practical to realise that potential.

A troubled employee may have amazing potential, but they may not be able to overcome their demons in time before causing damage to the business.

The ability to see solutions to a situation carries with it the risk to rescue. Rescuing others disempowers them. And makes us responsible for them. We can even unwittingly find ourselves in a disruptive or toxic relationship.

Similarly the desire to rescue a business or an organisation (perhaps a charity you like) can be a strong temptation. With the same consequences.

I have no doubt that many of us can see potential solutions to global wicket problems like climate change and poverty. Before we throw ourselves into pursuing a particular course of action, we need to add a good dose of pragmatism.

Counterintuitive though it may be, taking over to fix a situation can cause resentment and alienation despite your best intentions. Because it disempowers and disenfranchises the people in that situation. And that makes any solution we attempt unsustainable.

Are you prone to rescuing others?
Under what circumstances is this more likely to occur?
What checkpoints can you put in place to prevent that?
Are you caught up in an unhealthy dependant relationship with a client at the moment?
How can you extricate yourself compassionately?

Image: Run down renovator's delight via Shutterstock.