“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

When you “give a man a fish”, you cripple their ability to grow. They become dependent and it is unhealthy for both you and them. You feel responsible them and at some point you will feel as though you are being used and grow resentful. For them it is restrictive and demeaning. Even though you may have the very best of intentions, at some point they will hate you for how¬†they feel about themselves. We see this play out in families and job situations all of the time.

It reminds me of the old coal towns, when the “company” was the only employer in a small town, and you had to rent your home from the company and buy your food in the company store. I am sure that there were some companies where it started out with the mentality of “give a man a fish”; but it allowed for the “company” to abuse the people, and the people who at first were so glad to have the home and job, later came to resent the company, because it was a restrictive and demeaning way to live. It essentially kept them in poverty and as the old folksong said, “I owe my soul to the company store.” .

When you “teach a man to fish” you give them skills that will last a lifetime. They can take those skills and apply them to a multiple of professions and interests in their lives. They say that you could take a self made millionaire, take away all of their money and drop them off in any town in America and in a short while they would be a millionaire again, because they know what it takes to become one.

They know how to stretch their comfort zone, to think outside of the box and that they have untapped resources in them that come out when they are in a challenging situation. They understand their potential, and they have self confidence, and understand that outside stresses are a catalyst to even bigger capabilities in their lives.

So if life is being challenging to you right now, go deep inside yourself to that “inner knower”. Tap into that space of infinite possibility and see what untapped resources that you have within you. Use those resources as a catalyst to leap forward on your journey. I believe that all of us are more powerful that we ever dreamed – so dream bigger and teach others how to step into their own greatness.

Sheryl Silbaugh

I am married with 4 grown children who are all married and currently have 14 grandchildren and two great granddaughters. I work fulltime as a Director at Bank of America and I am the founder of, which is a website and Facebook page dedicated to personal transformation and growth. We all have life's lemons show up in our life, this website helps us to make them into lemonade.