The edict "mind your own business" has been uttered by many a parent. At times, through gritted teeth to a curious child who insisted on knowing everything about everyone in her vicinity.
Mom or Dad wanted us to let others be and tend to ourselves (or cease embarrassing them). Ironically, as adults, this task is just as difficult as it is for children. And yet, the advice should be the same.
Curiosity comes naturally, but the art is in knowing when to get involved, and when to let it be.
When is it your business to participate in a situation? Probably not as often as you think.
The next time an issue crosses your path, ask yourself, "Does this belong to me?" This is a great overall discovery question to help solidify your involvement. For instance:
If "the buck stops here" is you, then it is your business to be involved.
It's human nature to not only be curious, but to care and offer help. There are times when your emotions won't let you mind your own business.
If you find yourself in this position, make sure that others who are directly involved understand your true intentions. And be mindful of crossing lines with them.
You can become over-involved in a situation that eventually makes you feel taken advantage of. Make sure you keep enough distance so that, if this does happen, you will be able to remove yourself without repercussions.
There are also times when you think you're helping, and others see you as a nuisance. Again, be mindful of how involved you are and the true role you play. If you begin giving unwanted opinions and advice, it may only bring about resentment rather than resolution.
If your intention for getting involved was to make yourself feel better, you are not seeing the bigger picture. And the chances of hurting more than helping are greater.
Make sure you view the situation from all angles before involving yourself in something that doesn't truly belong to you.
If you're not sure whether you should become involved with an issue or situation, apply the "walk away test." If you leave it, will your absence matter?
Sometimes visualizing what might happen if you walk away gives you an eye-opening perspective. Because if your absence results in the same or better outcome than your presence, you know you are wasting your time and energy if you involve yourself.
It's okay if you don't play a role in every situation that crosses your path. Knowing what you want to be involved in, what you can handle, and what you truly care about contributes to your confidence and keeps you focused on the things that matter.
And a confident, focused person is one who can make good things happen.
For a little fun, here are some words of wisdom - in song - from Hank Williams, Sr.