My friend Gloria has challenged you and me to ask for help this week. Can we meet that challenge? Can we get past our pride and ask for help?
Here’s how Gloria learned to ask for help: Her husband has an illness that will likely take his life in the next few years. With so little time left together, she has cut back her work to spend as much time with him as possible. The two of them now spend many hours every day telling stories, remembering – making every moment the best moment it can be.
Of course that means a lot is not getting done. Working less means earning less. Spending more quality time means spending less housekeeping time. All that combines to put life even further into disarray. Add to that the private grief Gloria faces every day, as she both cares for and plans to live without the man she adores.
Gloria is used to living a high-performing, self-sufficient life. These days, though, she feels like life is simply spiraling and unraveling.
Then I got this email from her:
I have taken a cue from your wonderful birthday present. Two friends were planning to fly out for a social visit. I finally told them that instead, I need help, and that if they were willing to help with maintenance and repair projects, I’d welcome it. They not only agreed, but were excited to do whatever I need. Yay!
It is so hard for us to ask for help with the things we think we should be able to do. We are proud as individuals and as organizations. Those of us in “helping professions” are used to being the helpers, not the helpees!
And then there is the professional image that says, “I’m supposed to be the expert, the one in control! What would it look like if I asked for help?” We’re not supposed to need help doing the “job” part of our job!
And yet, when we do ask for help, we gain the wisdom and experience and friendship and love of those around us. Man, did I ever learn that with my 50th Birthday Gift! My house would not have half what it has now if folks had not given of their own talents. And I would not still feel a warm glow every time I step into my “new” living room, or every time I see the beautiful sunflowers painted above my kitchen window.
So that’s my challenge for you this week: Find something you have been putting off for lack of time or energy or skill. Something that might get done if someone else did it. Something that might make you much stronger once it was done, or that might just give you peace of mind.
And ask for help.
Personal or work-related. Your own life or your organization’s. A project to be kicked off or a plumbing leak to be fixed. Something your pride would normally not let you ask for help with, but that might just be terrific, if you could get out of your own way. (And no, please don’t count your latest fundraising appeal. In truth, we don’t need money – we need the help those dollars buy us.)
And share your story here. By Friday, ask for help with something that you may have been too proud to ask for before. And tell us what happens, ok?