When we attended a “Nar-Anon” meeting, I expected that we would be getting advice on how to help fix an addict in our life. What we got was advice on how to adapt our own thinking and behavior. (Believe it or not, there is a 12 Step program for those who have loved ones who are addicts.)

Honestly, I was initially disappointed. I’m not the one with the problem, right?

With a little perspective I came to understand the wisdom of the Nar-Anon approach. People can only change if they want to. No matter how much we want change for someone else, it is always up to them. The best we can do is to support them, set boundaries, and if those boundaries are not respected, then detach with love.

Motivation is an intrinsic quality. This is why we cannot motivate people. We can change the extrinsic factors (support, jobs, counseling, our own reactions, etc.), but that’s about it.

As leaders, the best we can do for people in our organizations is create an environment where people can succeed and give them great support. If it does not work, then we must help them to find that place where they will succeed.

And that shows both love for others and for ourselves.