Oh No. I’m an Enabler

I’ve suspected it for a while. I used to think I was just a ‘DO-er’ – a catalyst – a getting stuff done sort of girl. But nope. I butt in and take over and then wonder why nobody likes me and I’m feeling so exhausted.

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Categories: marketing

Author:Tara Hunt

Strategist. Researcher. Interdisciplinarian. Founder, Lime Foundry + Buyosphere. Author, The Whuffie Factor. Speaker. Mother. Karaoke lover.


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One Comment on “Oh No. I’m an Enabler”

  1. November 19, 2013 at 03:04 #

    Are we allowed to comment if we don’t recognize ourselves?

    Fairly recently, I had a rather deep realization about my role. Sure, I’m also a doer. But my ideal role is about helping people accomplish their goals, whatever those goals may be. I’m not the one deciding for others what they should do. We may collaborate and then I have an impact on their own decisions about actions they’ll take. But I specifically don’t want to take over people’s agency.

    Similarly, I tend not to do things others can do. I have my own sphere of agency, which tends not to overlap that much with other people’s spheres of agency. When it does overlap, though, I sometimes prefer to let others do those things. In other words, I’d like my contributions to be unique, whenever possible. For instance, if a point might be made by somebody else, in a discussion, I probably won’t make it myself, focusing instead on something nobody else is likely to bring up.

    With students, it may mean many things. For one thing, I try not to do their work for them. But it’s also about letting things flow out of the interactions, not sticking to “this one thing which should be done a certain way”. We barely addressed an issue which seemed important to me? That might be fine, as the rest of the thinking work will be done by anyone interested, later on.

    With friends and other contacts, it might imply that the help I offer is as appropriate as possible for the situation. Doing something for somebody else because they can’t do it can make a lot of sense. Doing something for someone just because someone has to do it tends to be less satisfying.

    I would also use terms in the “enabling” semantic field to describe what I do. I really think my actions enable other people’s actions. Though the term is overused (like most terms), I might even describe it as “empowerment”. But I also distance myself from the psychological definitions of these terms. A benefit of being an ethnographer instead of a psychologist is that I fall in different traps.


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