Are You Helping or Hindering? Believing in the Brilliance of Others


The other morning when I let my Portuguese Water Dog Emma out for her morning duties, I noticed a fledgling Robin in our back yard. This little guy hadn’t mastered flight yet, as a matter of fact, it was probably its first moment out of the nest.

I watched him all day trying to fly – all on his own. I thought he had been abandoned by his parents and being the “savior of all things furry, feathery and small” I was ready to make a little nest for him as per the instructions I looked up on the internet. I researched what to feed him, how to feed him and how to care for the little guy until … I don’t know when. I told my husband Dave about him and he kept telling me to leave him alone that he needed to learn on his own. I became obsessed with watching his failed attempts and then periods of rest. To allow him space without fear or interruption, I kept Emma out of the yard and took her for a long walk to give “Peep” – yes, of course I named him (or her) – the space to keep practicing.

A few hours later I saw his mom arrive to feed him while he was on the ground; I then knew for sure it was all part of flight training. Later in the afternoon, Peep was still in our yard, on the low rung of our garden fence and since he didn’t seem wary of humans yet, I approached him. I took oh, about 100 pictures of him and I crept closer and closer until I realized that he didn’t mind me being there. I got right up to him and he let me rub his little spotted belly. That was so great! After sharing this amazing news with Dave, he promptly told me that now I will have to look after him since his parents won’t take him back now that he’s been touched by a human. Back to the internet to verify this fact as the guilt washed over me. Nope, it’s a myth. Peep will not be shunned by his family. Phew.

Around dinnertime Peep’s mom and dad came back, fed him some more and then more flight training. By nightfall, he had made it into the tree in our yard and I’m guessing, into his nest to sleep. The whole day of watching this guy struggle, then succeed made me think how many times in my desire to “help” those I perceive as suffering in some way, that my interventions could actually be hindering them. Gulp.

At the same time that Peep was in our yard, I was struggling with a family situation that was pushing all my “savior” buttons and I was contemplating intervening to “help” those involved. That day with Peep taught me how we can inadvertently cripple those we’re trying to assist simply by our beliefs about what they are capable of. Peep reminded me of the brilliance within each and every one of us!

Believing in the Brilliance of Others article is provided by Kimberly Martin. She is a Certified Executive Coach, business relationship strategist and Principal of

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1 had something to say.
  1. RE-

    yes it's true - you have to learn that each one can save themselves with the proper time to master their skills.


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