A helping hand

We often wish for a helping hand in our careers; that generous supervisor, coordinator or colleague who will set goals for our development, introduce us to the right people, invite us to embark on different waters and acknowledge our strengths and talents. We hope that this one mentor will spot our gifts, give us an extra push and award us with their recognition; recognition that will help us blossom professionally.

Many professionals go on for years and years waiting for that help to arise in the hope of getting a promotion or a better job. Nonetheless, some of these professionals, when faced with no spontaneous helping hand along their way, tend to end up resenting the fact that others might have been ‘helped’ more than they believe to have been themselves.
However, a couple of days ago I attended a workshop by Paul Seligson in which he discussed a number of very interesting ideas and topics. One of the statements that got me thinking the most, however, was a Swedish proverb that he mentioned at the end of the presentation: “The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm”. I personally love proverbs and don’t think they would survive throughout the years if there weren’t a lot of truth within them. What this particular proverb triggered in me was the fact that there seems to be a rare awareness of what really goes on in our professional life. Rarely do professionals provide evidence that they understand that most of their career is actually managed and maximized by nobody else but themselves. We have the ability – and the responsibility – to help our own selves to find new opportunities, create challenges, overcome obstacles and ultimately grow as teachers and educators. We are not victims waiting for a hand. We are entrepreneurs, initiators, doers.

We should not expect others to help us develop professionally or outsource the responsibility to grow. We have to find the help that will propel us at the very end of our own arm. This way, the achievements we get will have a different taste and so will the failures we bring onto ourselves. They will be mostly ours. And if I were to add something to this Swedish proverb based on what I have seen in life, I would add that the more we embrace the responsibility of helping ourselves, the more likely we are to help others. And the more we use our own hands to help others, the more likely the world is to help us back. So at the end of our arms rests more than a helping hand. At the end of our own arms we might find the key to our generosity, drive and success.

Vinicius Nobre

Vinicius Nobre (Vinnie) is the Academic Manager at Associação Cultura Inglesa São Paulo. He is also a CELTA and ICELT tutor, a Pearson Longman author and former president of BRAZ-TESOL. Email: vini.n@terra.com.br

  • Sandra Stevens
    Posted at 17:42h, 09 junho Responder

    Mais uma vez adorei ler as palavras do Vinnie….um helping hand para todos.
    Sandra Stevens

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 15:31h, 10 junho Responder

      Dear Sandra,
      thank you so much for your kind words!!!

  • Francidéa Freitas
    Posted at 20:10h, 09 junho Responder

    I’ve always been that kind of person eager to learn new things, to find new paths and to change to better. Nevertheless, I found, along my professional life, people who helped, inspire and bred the will to grow and suceed and Vinicius Nobre was one of them. Thank’s, Vini!

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 15:31h, 10 junho Responder

      What a fabulous post to read, my dear Fran! You made really happy. Hope you are doind as well as always and look forward to seeing you soon.

  • Ricardo França
    Posted at 19:06h, 12 junho Responder

    Thank you, Vinnie. The law of sowing and reaping is a universal truth. My prayer is that my hands may always be fit for the battle.

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