When was the last time you asked for help?
Take your time. I will sit right here and wait.
*Cue Jeopardy theme music*
Was it last week? Last month? Last year?
I know some of you are thinking — why is she talking about asking for help? I want to learn more about grit. Come on Desiree, teach me the secret to becoming grittier!
Here is a secret: One of the fundamental building blocks of grit is understanding that asking for, and accepting help, does not equate to weakness. It is really a strength. A strength that expands your network and opens you up to increased opportunities.
Movies, books and games teach us that a hero will gain the highest praises and glory if he or she faces “impossible” problems and magically overcomes them on his or her own. Slays the dragon…enters the dark cave…sails across the ocean. We should all be able to handle everything in life without help. Every aspect of our life should be perfect. Our marriage, our jobs, our kids, and our home. “Look at the big “ S” on HER/HIS chest. They do everything perfectly.”
I call bullshit.
Comparing yourself with such unrealistic portrayals of others will only bring you unhappiness. Comparing your insides to your neighbor’s outsides is always a losing proposition, my friend. It will only keep you stuck.
Grit lesson #1: In refusing to accept help we ignore the fact that we are social beings who need to co-operate with one another in order to ensure that we thrive. Asking for help is how we get past obstacles.
When we work alone we focus only on surviving. When we work together our focus expands and we actually begin to thrive. We go fast alone. We go further together.
While it may sound simple, accepting help is something that is extremely challenging for all of us at one time or another. I am the poster child. It was challenging for me…all of the time.
I was the gal that would go down quietly…drowning in debt, pain, fear and hopelessness. I would never open my mouth.
I could never say three simple words: ” help me, please.”
Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that asking for help was a bad thing. I was killing myself. The stress, pain, and feelings of failure and isolation were killing me.
Nothing is created in isolation.
As a professional I was worried that my needing help could serve as a sign of a lack of professionalism. Maybe others would assume I was not up to the challenge. I could never seem weak or incapable. What if people thought I was a bad mother or employee? What if I was seen as a horrible friend or worse, a burden?
But here is the truth, 90% of the time when you ask for help someone will step up. Many of them will want to help because they care. And when they do help, most of the time they’ll make things better, not worse. At least that has been my experience.
Grit lesson #2: In order to receive help, you need to trust the other person and to trust that you are worthy of help. This might be the hardest part, but it is vital. Find people you really trust who will not make you feel “weak” for asking.
Asking for help has made me grittier… the rare times when no one was able to help, it allowed me to strategize plan B or C or even D… it helped me realize that the worst case scenario I painted in my mind was not nearly as bad as reality. It also helped me understand that I can dig deep and do my best in a situation, without guilt or shame. Things may not be perfect, but everything would be OK.
I believe you can do and be anything. I know you cannot do everything.
Show the world how strong you are–ask for help.