Help Day: The Customized Way to Help Others YOU Find Most Rewarding

Help Day

You like to experiment or tinker, right?

Everyone gets fired up to experiment with something. Like a new tool, some new software, or a Lego set.

I’m no exception although my experiments tend to be on (or with) myself.

My biggest one right now involves dedicating work to a purpose beyond mostly empty hours in corporate America.

Or maybe you remember the 72 hours I spent in a state of continuous creation without things like eating, reading, and non-essential communication?

Well here comes the latest experiment and I think you’re going to be excited!

I hope you’ll want to run this experiment yourself and see how rewarding and humbling it can be.

I’m talking about my first ever “Help Day” this Friday. Here’s what it is, why I’m doing it, how I expect to help, and the value you can get from it.

Help Day Is…

If I told you today was Help Day I’d expect you to say, “Umm…what’s a Help Day?” (Cue Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons with “What’s a battle?”).

At its core, Help Day is a full day of helping as many “things” in as many ways as possible. I say things because this isn’t just about helping other humans. For example, my environment can’t ask for help like a person but I intend to assist it as well.

Rules and guidelines are unimportant but the key principle is this:

From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, almost every second should be spent trying to help other things. And yes, it’s OK to spend a few minutes getting dressed or eating to make sure you are prepared to confidently power through the day.

Sounds incredibly vague and utopian right?

That’s intentional.

Your goals for making an impact might focus on touching the lives of folks in your local community, assisting a stranger on the Internet, helping living objects in your environment, calling that isolated relative desperate to hear a human voice…or none of the above.

You get to define the rules around things like (but not limited to):

  1. Time limits on each helping experience
  2. Focus among individuals, groups, animals, trees, etc.
  3. Categories of people like family, friends, strangers, co-workers, religious congregation, etc.
  4. How structured the day is like doing volunteering versus roaming the streets
  5. The format for the help like Internet based, phone based, or outdoors based
  6. Whether you recruit others to magnify the impact

Each Help Day looks and feels completely different than the rest. Mine will look just as unorthodox to you as yours would to me. That’s part of the fun and a huge part of the reward.

So let me briefly fill you in on the driving force behind this experiment.

My Favorite Question: Why

Help Day

There are countless ways to help people and they can’t be easily categorized. There’s random acts of kindness, charitable work, telling someone feeling down how awesome they are, and so on.

Some involve structure and planning (like charitable work), some you just happen across (like starting up a lawnmower for your 92-year-old neighbor), and some you go hunting for (like leaving a great answer to a tough question in an online forum).

Why create an experiment from scratch when so many folks have already created great ways to help our world?

It’s because my current challenge is creating something new, seeing if it has legs, applying the lessons learned to my greater sense of purpose, and communicating how this can help other people (like I’m doing right now).

This may not seem original or daring but I need a feeling of uniqueness to motivate the change I can bring to the world. That unique change might be small but it needs to be distinctively me.

Plus, according to my 2012 Goal Setting and Action Workbook – get your own from Scott Dinsmore at Live Your Legend and thank me later – I have a major goal of helping others in as many ways as possible. Help Day is one more way to end the long delay behind fulfilling my burning need to truly help others.

The Ever Changing Shape

Curious to know how I plan to help people? Well here’s my brief list. I’m open to however the day unfolds so what really happens could look completely different.

  • Ring door bells on my block and ask neighbors if they need a hand with something
  • Head over to the local senior living community and see what I can do
  • Stroll to the local elementary school to ask if they need help
  • Pick up trash to help my environment look better and be less polluted
  • Call friends and relatives and offer a friendly ear or assistance with a problem
  • Post on social media sites that I’m available to lend a hand
  • Go through online forums and give people really good input

The toughest part may be getting people to believe I have no hidden motive and that I truly want to help…no strings attached.

I’d like to limit each experience to about thirty minutes so no one thing takes up too much of the day. But in keeping with the spirit of loose boundaries, I’m open to chucking this out the window if necessary.

Will This Help?

I hope this will help me in unpredictable ways. At the very least, my sense of purpose will be validated for a day.

How many people will reject my offer because it’s so weird for a person to randomly extend help?

I’ll keep track (and report back later) how much of the day was spent getting rejected and how many things I helped with. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many things I help, whether they were big or small, how long the help will last, and who/what received it. This isn’t a contest with myself or anyone else.

I’m just trying to live my core values and awaken people to possibilities outside the standard ones.

I’m so confident this experiment will be rewarding that I already have Help Day #2 scheduled for later this year. If I feel this is worthwhile, I eventually plan to coordinate Help Days or assist people with creating their own.

Unanswered Questions

I promised you something valuable from reading this and you’ll get it by answer a question or two.

Pick one or more of the questions below and leave a comment on this post with your answer. Instead of having me guess what value you’ll get, find the real stuff yourself. Who knows, the answers may just reveal something important you never knew about yourself.

  1. How would you try and help “things” on your own Help Day?
  2. Would you spend most of your time helping people, animals, the environment or something else?
  3. How would you react if someone rang your doorbell and offered to assist you with anything you needed? What barriers would this person have to overcome before you would let them help?
  4. How many people in your life could benefit from a little of your time if Help Day was today?

I’m excited to see your comments!

Photo credit: pangalactic gargleblaster and the heart of gold and Marc Falardeau
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8 Responses to Help Day: The Customized Way to Help Others YOU Find Most Rewarding

  1. JaneRobinson says:

    I like the concept of “Help Day” and try to “help” many things in many ways each day.  Most of my “help” works is focused towards people – but I do like to “help” my environment – by cleaning my house, watering the garden, organizing my studio – I just feel more at peace.

    • Hi Jane,

      That’s the cool thing about Help Day. The way you define environment and I define them are very different, but it doesn’t matter. You’re helping someone or something other than yourself which is the key. I’m glad you make it a point to help other people many times during the day. That’s even better than a day dedicated to helping.

  2. CiaraConlon says:

    I think it is easy to help the people we love but I’m not saying that that doesn’t have merit in it. Lately I have been trying to help more in my community and in my children’s school. Things that I would normally run a mile from I am embracing. But there is always room for improvement and helping the older people in my community might be somewhere I should move to next.
    On your other question I do think if you called to my door it would take me a while to accept you were just being kind that is of course if I didn’t know you well and if I did know you I would gladly give you a brush or mop :)

    • Hi Ciara,

      I’d gladly take a brush or a mop and start scrubbing for someone on Help Day. But…I might ask you to explain first why this would be helpful to you as opposed to just getting someone to do a chore you don’t like because, well, you don’t like it. :)

      We’ll see how receptive people are when I ring their doorbell and ask to help them. I’m not expecting a warm reception from most people actually but that’s OK. There’s plenty of folks next door who need it.

  3. saraho says:

    I love this concept, and it sounds perfect for you Joel since you are a natural helper! I always think of helping as in helping people – especially those less fortunate. But this is an interesting thought that we can help things. One of my favorite things is to spontaneously realize I can be of help and then offer it!

    • Hi Sarah,

      I like to balance my help between scheduled time and spontaneous time. Help Day is an entire day of assisting and I know exactly when it’s going to be and how long it’s going to last. But the great part is most of the day will be spontaneous within this scheduled framework. It’s the best of both worlds!

  4. ZenCaffeine says:

    This is an awesome idea, Joel! Lately, I’ve been trying to get outside of myself and do more to help others… I think having a “Help Day” would be a great way to kick-start my daily efforts. I bet you that people would be really surprised to hear me (or anyone!) ask: “What can I help you with?” Nobody does that – I think it’d be so refreshing!

    • Hi Kaylee,

      Already today I’ve seen some WEIRD looks from people when I ask them “what can I help you with today?” Even prepping them for the question with some context doesn’t help too many people (pun intended). But it’s been rewarding so far and I’ve genuinely helped a number of people. The day is still young and there is much more to do.

      As you mentioned, this is also a great way to get outside yourself and I highly recommend it for that reason and more.

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