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Asking for Help Is the New Doing It All

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

-Oprah Winfrey

Don’t you just hate it when you get a toothache? As if enduring the nagging discomfort isn’t enough, you also have to figure out how to do a root canal, gather all the necessary tools, find the time to perform it … talk about pain!

What? You don’t do your own dental work??

Of course you don’t. We can all agree that Pinterest and root canals don’t mix. But if you’re still carrying around that old “I-did-it-all-by-myself” attitude from grade school in other areas of your life, you and your superhero cape are as good as flying directly into DIY root canal territory. But why not do it all? According to your coffee mug, “you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”. Too bad that’s poppycock! Yes, technically Beyonce is bound by the same time and space constraints that limit us all to 24 hours per day. But Beyonce has eight nannies. And chefs, and trainers, and assistants, and makeup artists.

If Beyonce isn’t doing it all by herself, then we mortals shouldn’t either. We all need help — and not just when we’re drowning in overwhelm (or cavities). We all have different talents and skill sets, and we maximize our potential by focusing as much of our time and energy as possible on fostering those unique strengths. Asking for help allows us to do that. When we don’t ask for help, we end up struggling unnecessarily and suffering from burnout or frustration (or both!) while simultaneously limiting our progress. And those who depend on us suffer, too. Our valuable contribution to their lives gets watered down or eliminated, and we reinforce the damaging belief that a person’s worth (or the validity of their achievements) is dependent upon knowing and doing absolutely everything unassisted — and that there is nothing to be learned, gained, or created through collaboration. Not exactly the message we want to be sending to our kids, right?

So if we know we need help, why do we hesitate to ask for it? Do we fear judgement from our peers, or worse - from ourselves?? Maybe a big part of our identity is tied up in being able to “do it all”. Maybe we’re afraid of being told no. Maybe we don’t want to be a bother. Maybe we worry that we’ll appear weak. Whatever your favorite reason is, it’s holding you back and now is the time to let it go. Nobody’s calling Beyonce weak! Just sayin’.

Asking for help can be challenging, but luckily there are a million ways to do it. Try them all! Find what works for you. Keep in mind that asking for help doesn’t have to mean overburdening your in-laws/mail carrier/barista with constant pleas for colossal favors. Sometimes it just means asking your neighbor to keep his tuba practice to the daylight hours so you can get enough sleep at night or hiring someone to clean your house. I promise you there are people out there — friends, family, professionals, even strangers! — who truly want to help you and will be delighted when you give them the chance.

Remember: doing it all doesn’t mean doing it all by yourself.

Help is on the way:

  1. Figure out what’s cramping your style. Do you need more time? Money? Direction? Not sure? Consider hiring a coach/mentor/counselor to help you sort it out.

  2. Start small. If asking for help feels scary/foreign/worse than a DIY root canal, try starting with someone you feel confident will say yes. Try your mom, or someone who has to help you because you’re paying them to. Baby step it up from there.

  3. Ask. Nicely. Be direct and polite. And stay that way even if the answer is no.

  4. Give back. Remember to show appreciation to your helpers, and pay it forward. Return favors when you can and use your talents to be of service to others.

Now call your dentist, share your gifts and please, do me this favor: get yourself a new coffee mug.

PS - Help yourself! Click here to book your 1-hour coaching strategy session (first time clients only).

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