You can’t help everyone. You just can’t.
You may want to. You may want to be generous. You may want to help everyone, but you can’t.
But what you can do is go all-in helping a few people.
Recently there’s been a college graduate who I’ve taken under my wing. I met her three years ago after giving a talk at a university. She did a phenomenal job of staying connected to me. She would reach out every four to six months with a quick update or let me know how something I said had resonated with her and she was acting on it or asking me a question. When she graduated, in a very professional yet aggressive manner, she came after me and asked for a job and asked for help finding a job.
I was incredibly impressed with her responsiveness, with her professionalism, with her passion. I decided to give her a hand. I’ve gone all-in by introducing her and helping her find a job. I’ve gone all-in on trying to shape her and teach her some things that will hopefully be beneficial to her as she goes and pursues a career in International Business.
This young lady was someone who impressed me. I found a good fit where I could without too much of a burden on myself, my job, my family responsibilities, and everything else, and I really made an impact in her life. I found somebody I believed in and who I could generously help in a means that fit with what I was doing and with where I was at in my life. I have invested in her and I’ve gone all-in to help her.
I get dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of requests for jobs and I say no to them all the time. I say no all the time to those people just looking for an introduction because I can’t help them all efficiently or effectively.
Part of the reason I took special interest in this young lady is because I knew I could help. I was willing to give passionate introductions and genuine referrals. I was more than happy to stick my neck out because of what she had shown. I knew there was something there that she would grasp onto and take to the next level. I knew I could sink my time into helping her and have an impact.
For all the others, yeah, I can meet them for breakfast, I could have a phone call, or I could make an introduction, but would it really be impactful? Would it really be effective? No. I can’t help all those people. I simply don’t have the time to dive into the level that would be required in order to help them all.
You can’t help all the people all the time, but you can help one person and have an impact. Pick and choose where you spend your time being generous. This isn’t selfish; this is prudent. It allows you to make an impact in the world without disrupting your own life and getting your own priorities out of balance.