Pearls of Wisdom #5: Ask for Help

T here are two things I want to confess today.

One:  I regularly battle the perfectionist demon.  Two:  I have a bit of stubborn side.

Combined, this means that there may be days upon days when I’m so determined to get everything done on my own that I won’t admit to myself – let alone anyone else – that I’m struggling.  The perfectionist demon tells me that to admit that I’m struggling would mean I was also admitting to needing help.

So, for well over a month, I got stuck in this cycle of needing to do it all and not asking for help. I began micromanaging some projects, and became quite frustrated with several people that I love and adore.

Now tell me, darling, is that any way to love my life?  Nope.  And while trying to quell my frustration, I remembered one of the pearls of wisdom I learned as I wound my way from 43 to 44:

#5. Ask for help.  It’s ok to admit you can’t do everything.  Even if you can do everything on your own, you don’t have to.

Suddenly, I felt as if I could breathe again, all from remembering this one nugget. I’m often amazed at how stubborn we humans can be.  We find ourselves struggling with moving forward, but refuse to ask for help. Maybe we think it will mean we are weak. Even worse, we may believe that the inability to “unstick” ourselves means we’re total failures at life. Silly, isn’t it?

Darling, if you want to fall in love with your day to day life, you have to remember to allow yourself a little grace and recall the simple fact that you are human.

So how did I combat my perfectionist demon?

The first thing I did was hit the mat for some long-needed prayer and meditation, something that seems to have slipped away from my daily routine.  After better-aligning my mind, body, heart and soul, I sent out some threads asking for help, including talking with JB, sending a couple of emails asking for favors, and adding to my daily cards “hit the mat.”

Then I spent some time reviewing my task list to determine what I could delegate, what I could shift, and what I can simply let go.

Asking for help didn’t just help me, it also helped my friends, loved ones, and colleagues, because by giving help they were also giving their support.  I’m always happy to let you learn lessons from my experiences.  It’s a simple truth that it’s ok to admit that you are struggling and would benefit with a little help.

In fact, here are nine fabulous reasons to set your ego aside and ask for help.

Asking for help is courageous 

Admitting that we don’t know everything can be scary, but the more we step into courage, the more courage we grow.

Asking for help is wise 

None of us has the answer to every one of life’s challenges. Seeking assistance from someone with more knowledge or experience is always better than struggling. It means we are wise enough to recognize our personal limitations, as well as our personal strengths.

Asking for help is sign of strength

Admitting that we need help doesn’t mean we’re weak, it’s actually just the opposite: a sign of strength.  There is a synergy formed when we work with others on a common goal, bringing an undeniable strength to a project.  Even when you aren’t activity together, that group energy carries forward, making you a stronger individual.

Hiring help stimulates the economy

Whether it’s hiring someone to help with a website, clean your house or mow your lawn, hiring someone to help you with something puts money into the economy.   It also puts a little something in the other person’s emotional bank.  It’s a recognition that we can give to others of our resources while they give to us of their talents.

Asking for help allows us to builds trust

Asking a spouse, co-worker, sibling or acquaintance for assistance grows the relationship. It builds intimacy. It strengthens connection. It allows our partners to give, to feel as if they are contributing to the relationship. It allows our partners to see us at our most honest and vulnerable. It will also help your partner see the value in asking for help from you when he/she needs it.

Asking for help gives perspective

Sometimes, we are so close to something that we can see only one path. Talking something over with someone can help us to see alternative paths.  Often times, the person we go to for help sees a better side of us than we can see.  Why limit your options?  This is why it’s great to work with a coach or mentor.

Asking for help allows us to receive 

Sometimes we block the greatest gifts in the world because of an inability to receive. But asking for help isn’t just an admission that we need support, it’s also an opportunity for someone to give it. I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling I get from giving to others.

Asking for help allows us to learn 

No one is an island. No one knows everything. Asking for help allows us to grow in knowledge.  It allows us to learn from the life stories and experiences of those who have gone before us.

Asking for help moves us forward

When I first began working with a coach, I knew I wanted to move forward in my life, but wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I wanted to fix everything, only to discover that a better approach was to focus on one area of my life at a time.  When I learned to do that, my life began to move forward at a rapid pace. Focusing on one area actually seeped into the other areas of my life.

While one instance of asking for help doesn’t mean that I can’t still be stubborn at times, I am continuing to realize that I grow stronger and more independent when I walk away from fear, push my ego aside, and step into courage. I end up feeling more connected to the universe instead of frustrated and disconnected, and my life becomes more joyful when I ask for help here and there.

What about you? What keeps you from asking for help? And what fabulous  reasons have I missed?

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

6 Responses to “Pearls of Wisdom #5: Ask for Help” Subscribe

  1. Sally September 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Laughing in recognition. It took me years to figure out that I am not, in fact, an island. I even apologized for asking for help… until people in my life started pointing out that they were so happy to be given an opportunity to contribute. Big mindset shift.

  2. Joanna Z. Weston September 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Why do we have so much trouble asking for help? We are social creatures, meant to live interdependently. And yet we insist on pretending that we can live as little islands. Even cats, among the most independent of critters, know that they need help operating a can opener!

    • An September 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      LOL! Looove your cat observation! 🙂

  3. An September 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Ah! The fear of asking for help! Often so hard (OMG, they’ll think I can’t handle it alone, that I’m weak, that I’m not good enough!), yet so powerful when we ask for the help we need. I love the different perspectives you offer up – asking for help is powerful, a sign of strength and smart! Yesssss!

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