This chat is for all my Fixers. I’ll be the first one to raise my hand when it comes to helping a hand (and admitting that it’s my biggest problem!)

If you find yourself fixing other peoples’ problems, lean in friend because we are about to CHAT.

The good news is that we don’t have to cut these people out of our lives. In fact, they may be GOOD people that haven’t learned how to fix their own problems.

Friend, this habit can damage relationships and damage your health but there IS another way. There’s a peace in letting others fix their problems and we’re chatting about it today.

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Season 4, Episode 3


Friend, do you consider yourself to be a giver? And here’s what I mean by that. Do you consider yourself to be a person who, overall, if someone needs something and you’re able to do it within reason, you’re likely going to be a person who shows up.

And you don’t have a problem extending yourself and helping and if anything, sometimes a giver to a fault. You’ll make the spreadsheets, you’ll send the links, you’ll show up, you’ll check in, you’ll be the accountabili-buddy, right, you’ll do all the things. Well, I want to tell you, that’s me all day. Right? I will give to a fault. It is a problem, right.

And I talk about this in my book, Nothing is Missing, how I am a reformed fixer, you know, that I’m constantly working on limiting myself. So I don’t burn out, right? And I’m hoping that you’re working on that too, especially with all the chats that we’ve had.

But I want to talk about somebody, that’s a huge trigger for me, and how I am answering it. And how it’s manifested in my life. And if this is something you’re struggling with, I need you to lean in, because you may not even be aware of how this is, not just damaging your relationships, but also damaging your health. So if you tend to be someone who has a heart to give, it also is really likely that you are triggered by entitlement. And you know what I’m talking about. 

Entitlement is the person who feels like they are owed aspects of your life, that what you’ve worked for is not yours solely, but they are allowed to eat off of it. And when I say this, I’m not just talking about money, so hear me clearly on that. Entitlement can extend to time. It can extend to private information, it can extend to relationships. It can extend to just your presence. I mean, truly, entitlement can manifest in a lot of ways and if you’re someone who gives true all that you have, you know where you’re like, I don’t hold back. When you get something from me, you’re getting the best of my work. You’re getting me showing up completely. And I’m probably giving you a little more than I have right? The shirt off my back situation.

It can be so frustrating. I mean, we’ve all been there. Right? How many of us have spent or been? And I’m not kidding, you can raise your hand, you know, lean in on this one. You know, how many of you have been in situations where a friend has asked you to do something? Girl, can you help me set up the baby shower, and you get in there and you realize your friend can’t do it. I know you’re nodding your head right now, you’re like, they don’t have anything figured out. They haven’t figured out a cake. And you start realizing partway in that this friend is asking you to do this not because they can’t do it themselves but because they literally don’t know how. They don’t know where to start. And it wasn’t just an issue of, yeah, I just need your help. But it’s an issue of like, I don’t want to do it, and you’re the better person to do it.

And let’s just be clear, not everyone who does this is doing it intentionally to be a taker. But this may just be how they have learned to navigate life. Hear me on that one, you may have takers in your life, that present as nice, kind, reasonable people, and frankly, may even be that, but they just don’t know how to interact in the world where they take care of themselves. I know a good number of people like this, who are literally ineffective adults. They just don’t know how to adult. Understand that adulting and growing up is just your age, it doesn’t mean that you have matured, it doesn’t mean that you have grown in mindset. I know full grown men and women who expect other people to pay their bills, to handle their responsibilities, to fill out the paperwork, to show up. That they have never in their life, had their own place, had stuff that Mommy didn’t take care of, like literally that are just this and get this I don’t even say any of this in a, you can probably hear the tone of my voice, I hate entitlement, right?

But I don’t even say this in a way where they’re good or bad, per se, people don’t understand you can be both right, you can be a good person. And this literally is who you are. Because you do not know how to show up differently in the world. The world has trained and created a situation where that is the only way this person knows how to interact. To the point where and this is where entitlement comes in, they are offended when the world reminds them that that’s not appropriate. And that anytime that you take it’s because somebody else is doing. Like the only way there’s even room to take, is because someone else is working.

So if you are on the giver side of this, it’s crazy because going back to this example of the friend who may not even realize that they’re asking you to come in and do the whole thing. How frustrating is it when you finally make it happen? And you walk in? And then the person is like, oh, was this the only color of blue they had for the balloons? I know some of you right now are like cringing because you’re like, GIRLLL, right? Or they are you come in, and they’re just like, oh, they only had chocolate cake. And you’re like, I know you are not, you did not a single thing. And you want to sit here and tell me. Like, if you have ever felt that feeling, first of all, that person who came to mind, hold them for a second on the shelf, because we’re going to talk about how to handle that, right. But I’m telling you right now, I have been there.

I have people in my life. And honestly, again, going back to people not even knowing, I’ll get clients sometimes I’ve gotten employees sometimes who will literally want to complain about a circumstance, about an offering, about an opportunity and they don’t even realize how rare it is. 

Heck, if you’ve ever had teenagers! Teenagers will sit there and fix their face and complain to you about something you’ve done or not done and they’re not even going to realize until they’re 30 with their own kids, I probably did it to my mom, that what they had was so much. It was beyond. They don’t even understand the extent of what it takes, right? So I say this again, to say like, you know, some people just don’t even know because this is just how they relate in the world. So knowing this, right?

And knowing that we all have these moments that were said, I know you’re sitting here right now like Yes, girl, yes. And I have these people in my life girl, yes. What is your responsibility and response to the entitled takers in your life? Because there is a truth that exists. And the truth that exists is that life, the living of life, is the meeting and solving of problems. That is the point of life.

Everything you encounter all day is a problem to solve. Whether it is something as simple as I’m hungry, and I need something to eat, or something as complex as what is my purpose? And how can I show up in the world? Every single thing you do is solving a problem. And when you look at measure how effective someone is in adulthood, it is simply a measurement of how they respond to problems? How quickly, how effectively and how correctly? And what is their exposure to problems? And how do they respond to them when they are exposed to something new. That is all that adulthood is. We love to measure adulthood by how much money you have what you look like your relationships, your accolades, your degrees, it’s not, it’s how good are you at problems. And it’s why it’s so important that we want are raising kids and blah, blah. But that’s another conversation for another day. Right? Problem solving is key.

So whenever you have those entitled takers in your life, you’re going to notice that it’s not just a scenario of Gosh, I’m so tired, because they’re ungrateful. Or Gosh, I wish they’d really work or whatever else. It’s not that it’s that we feel triggered and frustrated, because you’re looking at us to solve your problems. And they are your problems. And if we’re not letting these people get trained at the meeting and solving of their own problems, we’re not letting them live their lives.

So friend, in talking about this, and thinking about this, as you’re taking this person on the shelf that I asked you to hold for a moment that you’re thinking of right now, who is in your life that you’ve just kind of accepted as being the person that you’re always going to have to pitch in for, they always kind of helping that is the red alert. And that can be anyone from your kid, to your sibling, to your spouse, to your best friend, to your coworker, anyone that you feel like you’re always running in, especially if there’s a lack of appreciation or awareness around how you show up. How are you responding and what is your response to it?

So I’m going to talk about myself for a minute, I’m gonna tell them myself. My response in the past to entitlement was terrible, terrible. It’s something I’ve worked on in therapy for years. And I still feel vestiges, little small pieces of it show up at times, but I’ve gotten much better at it. My response to entitlement used to be to go off. I would be baffled when the employee would come to me and ask for a raise when they don’t perform well, when they don’t understand their job, when I had to train them to do their job and they don’t perform well in it but then they’re asking for a raise or a title change to a different job. Like, you can’t be serious right now.

Anyone who knows me who’s my friend, or anyone who’s ever worked with me in consulting or anything like that knows that that is like a phrase I’ll say like you cannot be serious right now. Like because I am genuinely and entirely baffled by that response. And understand that like, you have probably said that in relation to someone coming in and criticizing your work that you did for them and solving their problem. You’re like, you can’t be serious right now, because it’s baffling that they don’t understand the context around it.

But two things can be true. While it may be baffling that someone doesn’t understand how much work you put in on the day in and the day out to meet and solve their problems, it can also be true that it is not their job to understand that, and you don’t need to make them understand it, in order for you to adapt how you show up. You can rewind back on that 10 seconds and listen to it again. And I’m gonna repeat it again, just so you hear it twice, right?

This for the people in the back. It is possible for two things to be true, that you are shocked that they don’t understand how entitled they are and it is also not their job, or needed for them to understand how entitled they are for you to change your behaviors.

You are only responsible for you. When I would be angry, upset, frustrated, shocked, baffled at the expression of entitlement from people in my life in various ways, shapes and forms. My response to that was often anger, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, all sorts of things that had to do with feeling like I must have lost control or been confused about how something was being received.

How is it possible that we both had a mutual understanding around the outcome and the problem that needed to be solved, at least I thought we did, but yet now at the finish line I’m hearing something different? And that was such a trigger for me, because you know, and this is, I talked about it in my book, growing up with a parent who, you know, was a narcissist, you know, confusion is, is one of their tools, right? And clarity is something that you think will help solve it, but it doesn’t because narcissism is so much bigger than that.

And having had a parent that dealt in confusion, I often would pick people in my life that also deal in confusion. So it wasn’t uncommon to have a situation where we would not be on the same page about the outcome of the results and I would go to work to try to solve their problem only to have them critique or not show up on their end, you know, based on what is understood and then act further entitled to a solution.

And if all of this is ringing true for you, friend, I want to let you know, shortcut to the therapy, although therapy is always recommended, shortcut to the therapy. If you are a giver who is struggling with entitled people in your life, the answer is not trying to solve or change or help or fix or get through to those people. Do you hear me now, on today, friend?

You are caught in a cycle of trying to fix things for people and fix those people who are not satisfied with your fixing. Okay? You want to talk about the definition of being a fixer, you are caught in this cycle, and then it is triggering you and you’re getting angry and it is frustrating and exhausting. The answer is to fix yo self. That is the only thing you’ve got.

When you get that act out response where an entitled person is dissatisfied with the boundary you set or the work that you did, or the fact that you’re not showing up in a way that they would like, and their response is to be disrespectful, to be rude, to criticize, to be otherwise inappropriate, you know, to to engage in things that are far reaching or unnecessary. It is so tempting based on your maybe I could get through to them, and maybe they can understand that, you know, I helped I did this, I did that, you know, it’s a sign of growth, when you’re able to say I don’t have to engage that. And I can actually just affirm my boundaries.

And it’s a beautiful thing that is deeply freeing, because you’re able to also say, you know what, I did what I could, I’m sorry, that disappointed you, you’re allowed to be disappointed, this is what I can do. And this is how I’m moving on. And furthermore, you can make a mental note to say to yourself, I’m not going to repeat this by finding people in my life who are like this. I’m not going to engage in this type of work. And I’m going to hold true to the boundaries of not doing this again.

Friend what would your life look like if in all of the situations where you have entitled people who are asking for excessive support and not showing gratitude for it, instead of you carrying that frustration, that anger, that disappointment that hurt even, you said to yourself, I’m not going to spend any energy explaining why what they did was frustrating or difficult or disappointing to me but instead, I’m going to turn that energy inwards to affirm my boundaries, get clear on the fact that I’m not going to help in these ways. And I’m going to allow them to develop the skills, resources, and learning to solve their own problems.

Truth moment, storytime. I talked in my book about how my eldest daughter has been struggling with addiction, and I shouldn’t even say has been struggling, I’m so proud of her. She’s over 200 days sober. And I believe completely that this is the beginning of the rest of her life. And she has done so much work to get there. But I also can say that one of the things that’s been difficult in the nature of our relationship is that she is inclined to let people help her right? To rescue her. And her mother is a professional rescuer. Okay, I am a professional rescuer. And that has not helped and I think anyone who has dealt with someone who has struggled with sobriety or addiction in their lives, knows that enabling and being with someone who is a rescuer, or a giver is par for the course. Right? That is a very common pairing and what I found in our relationship would be that she would run into a problem and for a long time, as a mother, you know, I would see all the pieces around how that problem came to be. She grew up in trauma, she didn’t have the resources, she wasn’t trained, she didn’t have the understanding, she didn’t have the exposure, I could very quickly see why she was facing that problem in her life, and I would label it as she’s not entirely responsible for that problem because she’s just a baby, she’s just a kid, you know, who was thrust into this world. And on some level, that is true, right friend?

When you when you look at your sibling, or your spouse, or whatever else, and you’re able to understand and have empathy, for how they came to be, and for what they’re facing and what they’re struggling, well, they can’t get therapy, or they don’t have this resource, or they have a mental health condition, or they had really mean mothers or fathers or whatever. Like, it’s so easy when you’re an empathetic person who is a giver, to be able to unpack why they deserve that hand, they deserve that help. But understand that there comes a point where we have to let go and let them help themselves. And when I tell you, this is hard to say, oh, my gosh, I can feel myself getting a little choked up about it. The minute I started letting go of my big daughter, that was when I really started seeing her thrive. And I had to let go in order to call her in. She reached a point where and it’s easier to use addiction as an example, because sobriety is 100% self work. You can have the people around you, you can create the support systems, but it is a daily choice that you have to make for yourself. And I’m so proud of her because she’s developing that character within to say, what are my resources that I have access to that I need to tap into, in order to maintain the goal that I have set for myself? Do you understand I’m saying with all the eyes, she’s realizing her own strength within. But if, as her mother, I allowed myself to constantly be this other thing externally, that she could lean on, she could never get better, you know.

Part of me getting divorced and you know, and I try not to talk too much about my marriage, because I really have moved on from that chapter of my life. But part of me getting divorced, you know, to only speaking to my own experience, you know, is the fact that I knew so much had happened and transpired in our marriage, that I didn’t want to be in an environment where my partner I could tell was unhappy. You know, and I knew I was unhappy, right? Like, I don’t want to say how he felt. But I could tell there was unhappiness based on what was articulated by him. And I didn’t even know how to fix it. The Fixer in me was literally like, I don’t even know what to do with this. You know what I mean? And it’s not for lack of trying, right? I’ve done all the things. I literally didn’t know what to do. And part of the letting go, the surrender of it all, was saying, maybe at this point, it’s time for you to meet and solve your own problems. And not even let me or this marriage be one of them.

So that it can be met and solved on your own, just like I need to expend my energy to meet and solve my own problems, because I got stuff. And this marriage shouldn’t be one of them. And when I tell you the growing and the learning that I’ve experienced and I hope you know, my ex is experienced as well, I don’t know, but you know, I hope he’s experienced too, as it as a byproduct of that when you are in a position where you’re responsible for your own life, you hopefully grow, right you hopefully grow, you’ll hopefully learn new things, you’ll hopefully find strength within you hopefully expose yourself to new resources, or you lean on your old crutches, right? Like one or the other, right? Or you find a coping mechanism, just like an addict, right? Like, it’s one or the other. But you know, it’s my hope that you know, at least this has been my experience, I have grown.

I’ve grown because if I’m not in a position where I can just fix if I’m not in a position where I can distract myself if I’m not in a position where I can ignore, if I’m not in a position where I can solve everyone else’s problems, instead of looking at my own, I’m going to be forced to grow. What if I told you that the very person that you we’ve been holding on to is sort of this avatar, this image, this example of the energy drain, the stress, the entitlement, the person that we’re using all the time. And again, they may not know they could still be good people, but still be this representation in your life? What if the best way to help them would be to let go and let them learn. And it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose them. Right? These people don’t have to be cut off, or you don’t have to divorce them per se. But when you start letting go, and there may be a response right to you saying like, that’s not something I can help you with, or I already made clear how I can help, or this is what I’m able to do. But if whenever they come facing you with their problem, you turn them around so they can meet and solve their own, what if that actually helped improve the relationship? What if that actually helped you grow?

I can promise you that there’s a real joy in watching the person that you’ve been fixing for, fix for themselves. It’s like looking at the child that you’ve raised, you know, for years, that you’ve always made a sandwich for, make a sandwich for you. And for themselves. It’s like a very sweet moment where, you know, the student becomes the teacher. And it’s beautiful and necessary and deserved. And even more, I have to speak honestly about the other side, even if they don’t, how beautiful would it be for you to have some of that energy back. And to be able to see clearly that this person just desires to have a difficult life. That they desire to live in a state of conflict, that they are resistant to growing up. And that they are fixated on you being a fixer, rather than fixing themselves.

And knowing that none of that is your problem, or your job. There is a joy in that there’s an ease in that. And more than anything, there’s a peace in that. And friend, when I look back on all the conversations I was having last year with you about starting over and feeling that internal chaos and like we talked about in our last episode, you know, lacking clarity, I found that creating space for me to meet and solve my own problems, started with me letting go of meeting and solving other people’s. And I want you to know that you deserve that type of peace too. But you have to make the bold decision first to let go.

In this episode, we chat about:
  • Why fixing others’ problems is MY biggest problem,
  • How this is damaging your relationships and your health,
  • What life events led me to finally make a change in this habit, and
  • How you can serve others WITHOUT solving all their problems (this is big, friend)

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
  • Grab my New York Times Bestselling memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
  • Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
  • Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
  • When we’re clear, we can confidently move forward. Learn how to get PERFECT clarity in THIS CHAT
  • I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

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