Occasionally, someone approaches me asking for complimentary access to one of my company's business training programs.

When that happens, I stop and think hard. Not because I'm a Scrooge, but because I don't want to inadvertently harm the other person.

Too many people default to a "yes" answer. After all, we all want to be charitable and help those who are in need. And certain catastrophic circumstances do warrant acts of charity in the short term.

But we don't realize that our so-called "help" may end up hurting the other person in the long run.

Let me explain.

The Hidden Cost of "Free"

If we're honest with ourselves, we would admit that we tend to devalue things when we obtained them easily. We take them for granted.

I've seen this time and time again. After I give a person free access to a valuable training program, what happens? They don't show up. They don't go through the lessons. They don't do the work. They're not committed.

It doesn't matter how much they begged me for complimentary access. Or how convinced they were that my program was just what they needed to change their lives. They don't end up doing anything meaningful with it.

The other reason this happens is circumstantial. If you can't afford to spend whatever the cost of the program is, you're probably too distraught to make full use of it. You need to make the time and be fully present to get results out of any educational program. If you're freaking out about how you're going to put food on the table next week, then you can't do that.

By making it possible for the person to not be committed to the training program (which they're convinced is the solution to their problems), their level of commitment for everything in the future goes down.

And so I've come to the conclusion that giving people too much is disempowering.

A Better Way to Help

The better way to help is not by giving away resources, but by supporting the other person to become more resourceful.

"The defining factor is never resources; it's resourcefulness," Tony Robbins says.

When a person is resource-focused (seeing only what's in their wallet or bank account), they're disempowered, because resources are fixed. You either have something or you don't. Thinking "This course is just what I need, but I can't pay for it," is a disempowering headspace.

The meaningful way to help that person is to support them to shift from being resource-focused to being resourceful.

If they really want one of our online courses, then we work with them to find a way for them to be able to pay for it. We get them thinking, "What can I do to afford this?" It's an empowered headspace of "I'm figuring this out."

So, instead of giving someone free access to our online courses, we help them come up with solutions: How can they make the money to pay for the program? Are there professional services they can provide that would help them earn the money within a reasonable amount of time? Can they make a deposit now and then make regular payments afterwards?

And if they think spending the money is not justifiable--despite discounts and/or flexible payment plans--then that's a red flag that maybe the program isn't right for them.

Are You Resource-Focused or Resourceful?

Being in business requires resourcefulness. You have to figure things out. You don't let your current resources limit what you do. You think of ways to leverage those resources so you can have even more. That's what an entrepreneur does.

You can't succeed as an entrepreneur if you're not committed and if you're not resourceful in tricky situations. There's no such thing as an entrepreneur who's an entrepreneur only in good times. That person is daydreaming about being an entrepreneur.

So next time someone asks you for help, stop and think hard. How can you help this person shift from being resource-focused to becoming more resourceful? How can you help them transition from a disempowered headspace to an empowered one?