ASA 34 | Assistance Not Help


Believe it or not, there is a difference between codependence and interdependence. Alex Mandossian teaches us that asking for assistance is not the same as asking for help. Using his parenting skills as an example, he shows us how helping leads to codependence. Codependence breeds entitlement and promotes a one-way relationship. No one wants that, right? In this episode, we’ll learn the distinction between codependence, dependence, and interdependence as it relates to business.

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Ask for ‘Assistance’ NOT Help

In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights that I believe are critical to making you a highly skilled ethical influencer. You’ll discover, one, why helping others can lead to destructive and even abusive relationships. Two, the distinctions of codependence, dependence, and interdependence as it relates to your prospects and clients. Three, why the principle of interdependence can lead to more profitable clients and expand their lifetime value.

Lean in and read intently because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can quickly and easily win the hearts of others. If English is your second language, and half of my audience is from outside of North America. I hope you decide to read this and other episodes not once, not twice, but three times because nothing empowers your fluency in anything more than learning the art of ethical influence.

Interdependence At A Young Age

The story I’m about to share is true. It’s about my daughter, Breanna Marie Mandossian. When she was about one and a half years old, she was taking a bath. In between my teleseminars that I was doing at the time, it was my job to bathe her. This would be at night.

After the bath, I would put her to bed. Once she was done playing with her little rubber duckies and flapping all the water around with the soap in the bubble bath and all that. She would look up at me when it was time to get out. She would put her arms up as if to say, “Daddy, pick me up. Put me on the other side of the tub.” This was a defining moment for me.

You may think I’m overthinking this or I was a little bit too sensitive to what her needs were, but I believe that it was a defining moment that determined her interdependence on me for her future. When she put her arms up, what I did instead of taking her and pulling her up and flapping her on the other side and drawing her.

I put my finger so she could put her little hand over my finger and then step over the bathtub so that she could, with my assistance, walk over that threshold of the porcelain bathtub. She would know how to get to the other side eventually, like crawling and then walking and then running.

She didn’t like this. If you can imagine a one and a half year old looking at me with her eyebrows furrowed she said, “You’re mean, Daddy.” She didn’t say that. She couldn’t talk at the time, but that’s what I’m imagining she was saying.

It broke my heart, but I was all about ruthless compassion because I figured, “If I flapped her on the other side, she would be codependent on me and wouldn’t learn how to step over the bathtub.” Doing this in other parts of her life would only lead to struggle and trouble.

This also is relevant to business with your prospects, with your customers. Codependent customers and codependent prospects aren’t fun to be with because they have a sense of entitlement. They expect you to do more than what they do for you. Instead of being collaborative, it’s a one-way relationship.

[bctt tweet=”Codependent customers and prospects have a sense of entitlement where they expect you to do more than what they do for you.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

Back to the story, I put my finger out and what did she do? She held onto it. She didn’t want to. She banged her knee up against the porcelain. She banged the ankle of her other foot up against the porcelain. She started to cry aloud. I held her in my arms. I started to comfort her.

My former wife, Amy, ran in and said, “What are you doing?” I didn’t feel like I was a good dad at the time, but I knew that I was determined to teach my daughter how to get outside the bathtub at one and a half years old. I dried her and I put her to bed. Eventually, she calmed down and she went to sleep.

Fast forward to a couple of days later, my daughter did not like to take baths. She didn’t until she was in, of course. I have no idea if you have kids, but if you remember what it was like when they were young, you can relate. A couple of days later, the same thing happened. When she was done taking a bath, she put up her arms. She smiled at me as if on cue and saying, “Daddy, help me.”

What did I do? I put my finger up so she could grab it and walk over the threshold of the porcelain tub. She didn’t like that. She looked at me with this look like, “You’re mean, Daddy.” She did everything she could that a one and a half year old could do to manipulate a father or a mother to get what she wanted, but she didn’t.

It’s ruthless compassion, interdependence. Not independence, I didn’t expect her to do it on her own. Not codependence, I didn’t expect to do it for her. It’s interdependence. She depended on me for balance and I depended on her to learn how to go over the bathtub.

At this time, she didn’t bang her knee like she did the first time, but she did graze her heel as she was going over. It was as if she was in dire pain. She was crying out loud and I held her in my arms again to comfort her.

My then-wife, Amy, came running in. To her credit, she didn’t know what was going on. She said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Nothing. I’m trying to teach her how to get out of the bath.” “Why is she crying?” “Because she grazed her heel.” “It doesn’t look like she grazed her heel.” I said, “Believe me, she grazed her heel.”

If you’re a parent, I know you know what I’m talking about. I calmed her down. I put her to bed. Everything was fine. The next morning is as if nothing happened. Fast forward to a few days later, I got done with a teleseminar because that’s what I did at the time. This was the year 2003. What she did is the same thing.

When she’s done with her bath, she puts up her arms. She didn’t put her arms to say, “Help me,” this time. She put her arms as if to say, “Assist me.” She went for my hand. She didn’t expect me to flap her on the other side. I couldn’t believe it. When they say, “Three is a charm,” they must have some wisdom with that saying because three was a charm. It only took three times. She held on to my finger and hand and she walked over. Nothing happened. I dried her and then she went to bed.

Assisting Versus Helping

What is the moral of this story? It may sound like semantics, which also means a play on words, but I believe that helping others is not the same thing as assisting others. If you’ve been taught or trained by other people and they use the word help, this is nothing against them, but I want to define the lexicon of sales, the language of sales and make a distinction between helping and assisting.

ASA 34 | Assistance Not Help

Assistance Not Help: People are created equal, but they shouldn’t be treated equally. Those who work harder, those who do the work and get the job done, should be treated differently.


I believe helping leads to codependence. That is trouble and that is a struggle. Assisting leads to interdependence. You may hear a lot about independence, but I don’t think that’s such a great thing. When ignoring someone, in this case a child, when ignoring your prospects, your clients, and your business. They become so independent. They may seek advice and seek the counsel of other people.

Let’s take a look at what codependence means. If you look the word up, whether it’s on Wikipedia or on an online dictionary, it’s the emotional and behavioral condition of affecting an individual’s ability to have healthy, mutually-satisfying relationships. It’s all about emotional addiction to somebody else, whether it’s in a marriage that’s not working, in a client and teacher relationship which if you’re in one, you know what I’m talking about, or in a friendship or a family relationship. It doesn’t matter.

Codependent people unknowingly seek one-sided, emotionally destructive and sometimes abusive relationships. They may not know they’re doing it but if you allow them to do it, then the result is trouble and struggle. It requires ruthless compassion, candor, and a certain type of behavior where you are firm to seek the interdependence of that relationship. Not independence but interdependence.

What’s independence? If you look it up, it’s all about being self-governing, self-determined, and autonomous. Independent people are autonomous people, but the problem with independence is it’s not fun. It’s nice to have a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship with somebody else, whether they’re family, friends, a client, a customer, or a patient. Depending on what business you’re in.

What about interdependence? That’s what I’m focused on and that’s what I want you to live into. Interdependence is defined as collaborative and mutual reliance on others. The keywords are collaborative and mutual reliance. That’s a very special type of reliance on others. It’s the principle of what I call, self-serving benevolence. You’re serving yourself and you’re benevolent towards the other people, and they are as well.

If you have a great interdependent relationship, whether it’s a joint venture relationship, a strategic alliance, a marriage, a friendship, or a parent-child relationship, I believe both sides feel they have the better end of the deal. I know I feel that way with my life partner currently. It’s this invisible hand of capitalism instead of socialism. It’s collective independence.

It Pays To Polarize

I’m not getting political here. When you have equality of outcome, it is a socialistic process where everyone has the same outcome. I believe people are created equal, but they shouldn’t be treated equally. Those who work harder, those who do the work and get the job done should be treated differently.

If someone pays you $100,000 or $25, 000 or even $5,000, that person was created as equal as you are in my belief system, but should they be treated the same way? Shouldn’t they be treated a little differently, with more care, with more attention than someone who’s paid you $100 or maybe someone who’s gotten in for free? That is the principle of interdependence.

Interdependence is capitalism. It’s that invisible hand where a system works when everyone is in it, not just for themselves, but creating value for others. It’s not only self-serving. It’s a self-serving benevolence. Believe me, that is not an oxymoron. There’s no contradiction there. The Alexism for this episode is, “It pays to polarize prospects. They either will turn up the volume or change the channel with your marketing messages.”

That means want more of it or they’ll go to someone else with your marketing messages. I believe in polarization because I don’t want codependent clients. I don’t want independent clients. I want interdependent clients and sometimes I blow it. I have a tendency to move towards independence versus codependence, but sometimes I blow it. I know when I do. I come back and become more of an interdependent teacher and trainer, just like I believe I am for this show.

[bctt tweet=”Helping others is not the same thing as assisting others.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

These many years of sales and marketing know-how, of experience, of mistakes I’ve made, that has cost me and clients of mine millions of dollars over the past couple of years. You’re getting these tips, these principles, the fundamentals that you learn week after week through All Selling Aside.

This is episode 34, but there are other episodes prior and there are other episodes after this if you keep reading. I think it’s fair. You’re getting it at no cost. You’re learning something. You raise not only your energy, but your thermostat so that when you’re ready to pay tuition for a how-to course, a group consulting, or a private consulting.

It becomes not only a genuine way to move forward but you’ve already been educated. You don’t have to learn what others are learning along the way. I don’t have to repeat myself. When you are in a codependent relationship, and this is not a psychology lesson, but I’m saying over care is something that people talk about a lot in relationships.

It’s talked about in psychology as well. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Irvine as well as an economics degree. I was a double major in college. It was my excuse to go to college for five years instead of four.

When there’s a sense of over care, you’re caring too much and you are over caring with your team then you can never scale your business because your team is not interdependent on each other. You don’t have drivers on your team. They’re not interdependent with you or each other.

If you have over care with your clients, there’s a sense of entitlement. They feel they deserve more than they deserve, like that person who opted in is complaining that they’re not getting enough content or they’re getting too many emails.

Over-Caring Does Not Equal A Healthy Relationship

When there’s over care with your prospects, there’s no polarization. In other words, you’re not putting a line in the sand and saying, “This is okay and this is not okay.” I have these non-negotiables and here is one of them. You don’t need or have to come into my support desk that’s only for paid clients.

We don’t have prospects come into our support desk because it would wear us out. The more we got, the more staff we would need and we’re not monetizing. That’s what happens with over care with prospects. You don’t monetize them. There’s no monetization.

How about over care with kids? My experience is just watching friends and family is the kids tend to stay home, whether it’s in the basement or in their bedroom that they never move away because they’re not interdependent. They may go to college but then they come back.

If they’re independent, that’s not fun because of my experience and what I’ve observed. I don’t have this with my children, but what I’ve observed is the kids and the parents don’t interact a lot. If it’s codependent, then you may feel a sense of love as a parent or as a teacher with your clients, but it is unhealthy. It’s this delicate harmony of interdependence that makes the difference.

ASA 34 | Assistance Not Help

Assistance Not Help: Helping can lead to destructive and abusive relationships. Don’t help. Assist.


What about over care with your spouse? From what I’ve observed personally and watching friends and family, there ends up becoming lots of jealousy between the spouses. What about joint venture partners or strategic alliances? What happens when there’s over care there? You not only go the extra mile. You go the extra 100 miles. What happens?

Paradoxically, ironically, everyone is keeping score. “I did this for you. Why don’t you do this for me?” With interdependence, there’s no need to keep score. I hope this was useful. It’s fun for me to talk about it and I don’t have a definitive action plan for you to go by, but I can tell you what to avoid.

Let’s do a review of the insights you and I discovered in this episode. Number one, helping others. Helping can lead to destructive and abusive relationships with your family, with your friends, and with your business. Don’t help. Assist.

Remember the Breanna Marie Mandossian story in the bathtub. You learned the distinctions of codependence, dependence, and interdependence and why I believe interdependence is the way and what to live into. Finally, why the principle of interdependence cannot only lead to healthy client-teacher relationships. In my experience and I’ve tracked this. It will lead to more profitable lifetime values of those clients, customers, patients, members, and students, whatever you end up calling them.

Remember, these insights can only work if you work them. Speaking of reviews and I do this with every episode. Before we end the episode, I want you to go to Do that if you haven’t done it already and type in your single biggest takeaway or a-ha moment you experienced during this episode. If you do that, it will be in the iTunes review section.

iTunes is not that intuitive but you’ll find the review section. Rather than reviewing the entire show, I want you to use the review as an a-ha moment or as a big takeaway. Let me know what the big distinction or big insight was because I read them. iTunes will ask you to rate the episode after you’ve given the review. In this context, the takeaway or a-ha moment, and I do hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Will you do that for me?

If you’ve been an ongoing reader and you haven’t done it yet, I would appreciate it if you do it because it will assist, not help, me and this show to go up in the rankings. Most people hate to sell. I can teach them how to make the selling process fun because seeding through storytelling is the new selling. That’s the mantra for this podcast.

Go ahead, declare your one big takeaway in the iTunes review section by visiting It’ll take three minutes out of your day, but what you declare could provide you a lifetime of learning. It’s a declaration, not an affirmation because it’ll be public. If you’ve already done it, then you know that I typically ask you to write your big takeaway on an index card and save it so you can review it in the future.

I have one final gift to honor this 34th episode of the show and that is complimentary instant access to my video eCourse that will teach you how to identify your market. A lot of people have a problem with that. They don’t know how to do that. It will teach you how to create your message so that it’s attractive and has pulling power.

It will teach you how to capitalize on the most lucrative media sources available to you. Your market is about who, your message is about what, and the media is how you connect the who to the what. The perfect market to message match as one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, has talked about over the years. Rather than paying the $197 that others pay, this is a private invitation because you’re reading right now and you simply go to

That does it for this episode. I hope our paths cross again for the show that is dedicated to making an ethical influence within your reach so that you can achieve and even exceed your sales potential because you deserve it.

Please do whatever it takes to join me in the next episode because our topic will be Why Your Environment Always Wins. It’ll be a great one. You have nine environments that were taught to me by someone super smart. I encourage you to invite a friend or bring a study buddy to that episode and to read other episodes here at All Selling Aside. I can’t wait to connect with you. It’s going to be super fun and I hope our paths cross often.

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