Being helpful may be hindering your success. Here’s why

Are you hindering your own success by helping others build their dreams?

Can I be honest with you?

This is a tough blog to write today because it involved me calling my own self to the carpet. Before I get into it, let me (of course) preface this post with my usual disclaimers:

  1. I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t help others in their time of need.
  2. I am not proposing that you stick your head in the sand and act as if your dream is the only one that matters

I must say those two things because I don’t want you or anyone else using this post as a green light to be selfish and go on a rampage embarking on your gluttonous pursuit of success. But, if you clicked on this blog post, then I would like to submit for your consideration that you (or someone you know) have dreams and desires that you are delaying.

The lack of pursuit could be from a myriad of things:  maybe it’s because you don’t feel you have enough knowledge, capital, or opportunities. You could think that you need more resources or connections to make things happen. Or maybe…just maybe…you’re afraid of how much time it will actually take to see some progress.


The Set Up

Now, I know the type of person who reads my blogs. They are highly skilled go-getters and are people who usually have already seen some sort of influence they have in they world. They are intelligent, resilient, made of moxie, willing to help others, and full of potential.

And if you’ve made it this far…pinch yourself, boo. It’s you.

Now the “problem” with dripping all this magic all over the place is that you can also become easily distracted by opportunities and people that aren’t really worth your time, yet.

Mind Your Own Business

Many people (raises hand, I am “many people”) use the sage analogy of the airplane scene in order to drive home topics such as self care and productivity. You know the one; the spiel the flight attendant says on every flight:

In case of an emergency, the oxygen masks will eject. Please place your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.

The analogy in and of itself is a powerful one. However, that’s not what I’m focusing on.

I would like to point out that no matter how many times you fly on a plane, these same instructions are reiterated time and time again. And it wasn’t until I was writing this blog that I realized it. I thought to myself:

Why not only include those instructions in the pamphlet? 

They could definitely have a video that automatically sends emergency instructions once the flight is booked – why don’t they?

I did a little research and found this 2017 Blog post from Bravo that gives some valid reasons around safety. Additionally, this quote from former air accident investigator, Hachi Ko, caught my eye:

“The safety briefings are important and passengers should pay attention to the details. As simple as it seems, plenty of people still mess it up.”

That’s deep right?

In the face of an emergency and rushing adrenaline, your natural tendency may be to help out someone else while sacrificing our own life in the process.

The only way you can secure someone else’s mask with confidence is to make sure you’re still breathing.

To put this same analogy in context with this blog….

The only way you can invite people to sit at your table of opportunity is if you first have a seat yourself.

[Tweet “”Secure your own seat before you invite someone to the table” Reading the latest blog by @vannesiadarby, you should too:”]

What’s next?

There’s a cost that comes when you decide to maximize your potential – a level of responsibility that can seem heavy at times.  Although it’s honorable to help everyone else out, I want to encourage you to get focused on what YOU are supposed to be doing. Here’s some questions to help you with that:

  • What meetings on my calendar are not of benefit to me? Can this be turned into a phone call instead?
  • Have I blocked off items in my schedule that keep my grounded [i.e. family time, prayer time, workout time]
  • Am I as efficient as possible with my time and energy or do I waste it and procrastinate?
  • Should I ask for help?
  • Do I really need to be part of all these organizations?
  • Are these apps distracting me [social media, groupme, slack, etc]

Be critical, not harsh

I want to reiterate that this is not an “Isolation Pass.” This is a “Focus Pass.” You have to be honest with yourself, but don’t be so hard. Find a middle ground where you operate out of self love. You owe it to yourself to be all that you can be, and that may mean saying “I would love to, but I can’t right now” to the people you love most.

You can even send a message out to your friends so they know to check on your and/or that you’re not neglecting them. Here’s one that I sent to my friends as we were working on launching our podcast:


If they are really your friends, they will understand.

Know that there will never be a shortage of people who need your help, time, skills, or resources. The way to help them the most is to make sure you’re in a position to give out of a place of abundance and not from a place of lack.

You will thank yourself later for not putting your desires, your time, or your money on the back burner.

Revisit the drawing board and get strategic about the desires in your heart, how to benchmark your success, and what you need to do in order to execute your Best Life vision.

Then, get productive.

Always speak life,


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