I sat in the meeting and felt small. I noticed everyone around me laughing and I felt sick to my stomach. Should I pretend?

You see, I felt like my business dilemmas much be so much bigger and more critical that anyone else’s. And I had travelled so far. I had spent so much money to be there. And I was exhausted. I just wanted to cry.

I stood up and stretched, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down again, trying to focus on what was actually happening in the room, rather than just in my head.

Later it was my turn to speak. It’s always been really hard for me to ask for help, but I took a depth breathe and finally let it out. I don’t know how to do this, I said. And I’m scared it might fail.

Everyone around the table started nodding in agreement, not that they thought my idea would fail, but that they recognized the fear and the discomfort.

Relieved, I continued to speak about this decision I needed to make and began to unravel all my confusion. There were some good suggestions, there were some horrible suggestions but everyone listened and I could hear myself finally.

You see for weeks the ideas had been just in my head. And it had been really noisy in there. Now I could talk it out, get some feedback and see it so much more clearly.

It was so helpful. But here are the 5 invaluable lessons I learned:

  1. When you share your story, you share your humanity – there is always someone who can relate.
  2. Telling your story out loud, the act itself, makes for more clarity and sense.
  3. There are people around you who can and want to help.
  4. Often they have experience and expertise that you don’t even know about.
  5. You are not alone and it’s okay to ask for help.

This last one is tough for me. You see, I’ve spent years being super strong. It’s always been easier for me to help others than to acknowledge I might need help myself.

I left with so much more clarity, humility and optimism. I can ask for help. I will ask for help. I’m not alone.

I’d love to hear what you think about asking for help.

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12 comments on “Help!

  1. A good example is Richard Branson. He’s dyslexic and so has a real hard time with business accounts. Even though he’s a billionaire he still can’t work out the difference between ‘net’ and ‘gross’ on a P&L account. So he’s used to asking and hiring people whose strengths make his weaknesses irrelevant. For me that’s the key – when you know your strengths/purpose/story you also know what you’re not so good at. Then asking for help is a whole lot easier.

  2. As someone who relies heavily on my intuition, I have a very hard time asking others for help. My biggest fear? That their idea or input will not be in alignment with where my intuition is trying to take me.
    Or worse yet. They will tell me to “get real” and will not honor where I feel strongly I need to go.

    • It’s good to jump in Sheyenne and take the chance – asking for help has been a huge block for me and a giant jump in my own abilities once I dared to try it! Much recommended actually!!!

  3. I can so relate. Like you I found it easy to help others but couldn’t ask for help – at the time it seemed to me to be a sign of weakness. Thankfully I am pretty much over that! Thanks for sharing.

  4. It is always a big dilema and hesitation to tell openly about your concerns and share your bad days with anyone else,but if you want your story te be accaptable,you sholud do that.

  5. I’m from a long line of New Englanders who value — no, revere — values like “keeping a stiff upper lip”, “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”, and “self-sufficiency”. I have inherited what I consider to be a healthy respect for the strength and fortitude of my forebears, yet I have to also say that coming to a place of acceptance of my own vulnerability and actually learning how to ask for help has definitely come at a price and only after many, many years!! It’s been a very long road, with its uphills and down!!

    I now understand the strength it takes to stand in your own place of need and feeling safe enough inside yourself to be able to look beyond and ask for help. I salute all who have that kind of courage within themselves!

  6. Thanks, Lisa, it was so refreshing to read your “Help!”. Over the years I’ve grown to accept that it’s okay to ask for help, but it is more difficult to actually do it than just thinking you could/would/will ask for help.
    Will they understand me? Can they relate at all? Do I want them see me vulnerable and think that I desperately need help? So, I really appreciate your 5 points leading up to asking for help.
    If they see it as a story they can relate and try to help…

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