Today I had a meeting with a potential student and her parents and because of their particular situation, I had to let them know something that many people do not admit. For the sake bring honest, straightforward and respecting them as future clients…and people, I basically had to tell them that I couldn’t help them – OK let me rephrase that, I had to openly admit that I was not the best person for the job, but that I’d do my very best to see who I could find to help. Admitting I was not comfortable being hired as a tutor in this particular situation was not only difficult, but it also took a lot out of me to admit it.
I understand your situation, I sympathize with you, but unfortunately I don’t have the experience or the qualifications to help you.
With every new consultation I have before any tutoring sessions start, I make it my business to be as upfront and clear as I can be about my abilities, my experience, my intentions and shortcomings. While a “pitch” is supposed to highlight in theory all the amazing things about your services, I find that I am more comfortable being honest..and real. Sure, I have all the best intentions for my services, but my qualifications on paper only go so far. Sure, I’d love to help every student who calls, but I only have so many hours to spare each day. I’m so sorry that the education system has failed your child, I know that you are desperately looking for a ray of hope…but I can’t with a clear conscience accept that responsibility. If I do, knowing very well that I don’t possess the skills needed to truly help, I will be doing you more of an injustice than anything the education system has thrown at you in the past.
Right now, I’m so mentally exhausted. I feel guilty and sad and anxious all at once. I don’t understand why though, I told the truth and I in no way misled them. I should feel proud of my integrity and my ability to accept my shortcomings and more so, admit them. I’m not sure why I feel the exact opposite of these emotions.
With every new student I feel excited, happy that people are interested and actively reaching out for help. I just with that I could help everyone who needed help. How do I make peace with not being able to do that? Sometimes I feel that with every step forward I take with students, something else is pushing back at us. Sometimes it’s teachers at school, other times is stereotypes that keep us in “our place”, sometimes it’s our own bad habits, destructive thoughts, maladaptive behaviors – sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
I guess no matter what we just have to rest assured that we’re doing the right thing, we’re living the right lifestyle and we’re making the right choices. Admitting that you can’t is hard, saying it out loud to a bunch of people around a table who are asking for your help is even more mentally taxing – I sure as hell didn’t realize the aftermath would make me want to slump in the corner and contemplate my life’s purpose #dramaticmuch.
Human nature teaches us to be brave, dauntless, egotistical, persistent – after all, it’s survival of the fittest. I think however that part of being worthy of surviving, is being honest with yourself. No matter the damage to your ego.