Support During Times of Need

by: Rick Simmons

The story of the man in need has taken many forms over time. Thirty years ago, it was popularized in an episode of the television series, “The West Wing”. The story goes something like this: 

‘This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. 

A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 

Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?’ and the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.’ 

You can watch the well-acted clip here.

As the story illustrates, effectively supporting others who find themselves in dark holes (or however / wherever their ‘liminal space’ manifests) is not limited to simply helping them identify their current location and/or sharing our limited scope of professional insight. It’s only by mindfully and deliberately exploring our own depths and capacities to overcome challenges can we optimally help, invite, and shepherd transformative growth and progress in individuals, teams, and organizations. 

In this year of emergence at telos and in support of our mission to liberate greatness, we invite you to consider these questions: 

  • What new depths are you finding within yourself?
  • How are you nurturing new levels of care, compassion, and capacity from within?
  • How are you strengthening your ability to endure and overcome adversity?
  • Are you learning to live well?

Let this message serve as a continued invitation to our individual and collective paths toward emergence. Let our organization serve as an ongoing global invitation toward emergence for all. 

Our book, Unleashed: Harnessing the Power of Liminal Space, from ForbesBooks, lays out what we’ve learned about providing individuals, teams, and organizations with the insights, tools, and opportunities to reach new heights. Read more about it here.