Send the Elevator Back Down


If you have done well for yourself, it is important to share your experience, knowledge and time helping others.  This aligns with healing or repairing the world through action.

While words may inspire, the action of pushing the button to send the elevator goes a bit beyond the words.   It is representative of a kind act that isn’t overall costly to the person pushing the button.   There is thought that goes into it and there is an action taken.

You Made It!

While everyone has a different journey from end to end, there are places in life to pause and account for hard work and accomplishments.  The definition of “making it” will be different from person to person.  What matters is our ability to articulate what “making it” means to us and our understanding of how to help others now that we have the ability to do so.

Many of us know, we have to help ourselves before we help others.  If you give too much too early the costs are very high.  Some people will take advantage of you.  Some people won’t be committed.  Some will not care for help but ask, which wastes time.   There are many occasions when helping someone else costs you more than you expected.

I have some rules established from learning over the years.  When I work with people I share them.  These are rules for me, not the person I am sharing with.  These let them know what I am willing to do and what I am not.

Rules for “Pushing the Button”

  1. If I make the time, you make the time.  If you don’t make the time, we won’t recover the time.
  2. I’ll help as I can and when I can depending on the situation.  If I don’t know enough to help, I’ll try to help you get with someone else.
  3. I work in micro-transactions.  I don’t have large blocks of time I can spend.  These equate to multiple modes of interaction.
  4. I’m in as long as you are.
  5. Results matter.  (Actions are important) If I don’t see action, my perception is you have taken a different direction or this isn’t important.

Common Experience

Two reflections:

Many times in my life, people chose to invest time in me.  As a very young person, I heard that I had a lot of “potential.”  I actually hated that term.  I was self-destructive and ran myself off the rails.  Early in my life, mentors may have been forced to walk away.  I violated their unspoken rules.  There were moments of reflection where I realized all the hands I slapped away.  I started to think about what people offered me and what their expectations were.   It took me many years to see that if someone sent an elevator down for me, that I had a responsibility and choice to accept it.  I could choose to take the elevator or I could choose to stay where I was.

Once I understood what people offered was a gift and a responsibility, I reframed my thinking.  If someone helps you by giving you a car,  you would still need to get a driver’s license.  You would still need to learn the rules of the road.  You would still need to care for the car.  You would still need to pay for insurance and fuel.  This is not a shared responsibility.  It is your responsibility once you choose to accept the gift.  If not, the car could become a weight or a burden.  The key is that a person who receives has to be as ready as the person who gives.

The Goal

My goal is to help people.  If it is one small thing and one transaction, that is good enough for me.  Over the years, I have found many people willing to help me.  I believe it is part of my purpose and it is a responsibility.   Sending the elevator back down is a small kind act, not a large sacrifice.  Something to consider!

What about you?

closed yellow elevator door
Photo by Martin Péchy on

2 thoughts on “Send the Elevator Back Down

  1. Thanks for sending many times the elevator down for me Howie. I have learned from you that my choices of what floor I get off on or my decision to take the stairs is mine alone but your friendship is always there to help me.


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