I hate asking for help. Somewhere along the line I, like many people I suspect, picked up the idea that doing stuff for myself is somehow more satisfying and worthy than achieving it with someone else’s help.
I think we all need to let go of this belief.
Nowadays I tend to go with the approach that getting something done is more important than getting it done on my own. Or, more likely, just not getting it done at all.
I first noticed my mindset shifting shortly after the boys were born and I needed to travel around London with a double buggy. As an able bodied commuter doing the same trip every single day I’d never noticed how inaccessible some stations are. Going up and down stairs with a fully laden double buggy really isn’t easy. Actually, I would say impossible – without help. (Even escalators are not as easy as you’d think, and if you have a double buggy: just don’t. You can’t keep to the right and this pisses people off big-time.)
It was then that I discovered that not only is help widely available, but it’s often graciously offered. And as a person who now always helps anyone with a buggy, I can confirm that it actually feels pretty good for the offerer too.
As if to further prove my point, I was thinking about this the other day when my preschool twins were, yet again, demanding that they need to put their shoes on by themselves. Even though they can’t really do it yet. In fact, I think one of their first words was ‘self’, usually yelled at the top of their voices whilst trying to push me away.
Of course, watching a toddler trying to put on his own shoes is frustrating, but having to stand back while he carries his own plate of beans on toast across the carpet is bordering on painful!
I’ve found it’s as frustrating to see grown ups display the same stubbornness to do something they either aren’t capable of, or can’t manage for some other reason. My personal issue is time. There are lots of things I’m technically able to do – either in my business or around the home, for instance – but I just don’t have the time. So if I don’t ask for help, things just won’t get done.
And that doesn’t benefit anyone.
So the next time you turn down an offer of help because you want to be self sufficient, or not impose on someone, or for your own self satisfaction, take a deep breath and say, ‘Yes, that would be great, thanks for offering’ instead.
It’s amazing how much more it’ll let you achieve.