I think learning to ask for help, and then acting on it, is one of, if not, the hardest lesson in life to learn.
And, an even more challenging “mindset” to cultivate, as a teacher, in another.
As artists we are taught to develop a critical eye– to find what’s wrong with something first, instead of finding its virtues first, so that we can improve and learn from it for the sake of our artistic development. As a result, often, our inner critic has little room to accept the help we need because we are too busy beating ourselves up with a laundry list of mistakes and short comings to find room to take one more opinion or suggestion that might deepen or further our painful realizations.
Or, perhaps, we believe our inner critic has served us well, often serving as a self preservation mechanism, because our experiences listening to it tells us: “I have always made every decision and done everything on my own with enough success for me, thank you, so why would I need your help anyway?”
The article below, Nobody Does it Alone, was spot on in reflecting my own experiences learning about asking for help, which for me began my senior year in college in earnest, when I started my first entrepreneurial venture. Why then? Because I was in-over-my-head and simply could not accomplish what was needed without help. Thank God for it too because the incredible new doors of exponential growth that occurred then, and continues to this day from learning to ask for help, has taught me what an incredible strength- and not a weakness- it is to be able to.
If there was any one thing in this entire world I wish most for to change, if I could have just one wish granted, it would be this– for everyone in the world to be able to learn to ask for help and act on the support they are given. Certainly not because everyone who offers help is perfect, or better than us, or necessarily even right, but largely because so often it is exactly the help we recognize instinctively that we need in that moment to transform our situation, or move a critical step forward in our lives, if only we would ask for it and then accept it.
And, the irony of it all is that the struggle and barriers to be able to simply ask for it, and act on its benefits, lies deeply rooted in what, as artists, we are most blessed with: our imagination. This very strength we have helps us create part of what can hold us back from being able to make great strides forward– if we let it.
Enjoy this article by Jonathan Fields
Nobody Does It Alone
Simple factâ€¦we need help!
Simpler fact, we need even more help asking for help!
At least I do. Whether itâ€™s learning to blog, researching a new market, launching a business, snowboarding, being a good father, husband, partner and, well, just personâ€¦I need help.
And, I have to tell you, for the better part of my life, Iâ€™ve denied this.
Hell, Iâ€™ve outright fought against it. My thought process went something like this, â€œIâ€™m pretty smart, I work harder and faster than anyone I know, I can learn entire new fields in the blink of an eye. And, though it often takes an ounce of blood and a whole lot of pain, I almost always achieve what Iâ€™m shooting for. So, really, why would I need anyone else to help me out? All other people do is muck up MY process!â€
Thatâ€™s how I lived, until I realized what I was doingâ€¦
Itâ€™s about that line â€œthough it often takes an ounce of blood and a whole lot of pain.â€ For decades, I assumed it had to be that way. It was my fate. Karma unfolding. But, you know what Einstein said, insanity is, â€œdoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.â€
How could I know life could be different if I never tried a different way?
So, partly out of sheer exhaustion, getting older and the bewilderment that comes from accepting that, as a new dad some seven years ago, the better part of the time, you havenâ€™t a clue about the intelligent thing to say, do or feel to â€œsucceedâ€ as a dad, I began to relent to the idea thatâ€¦
Maybe, just maybe, there was another way.
And, very uncharacteristically, I began to ask for help.
Heck, I begged for help.
And, hereâ€™s something cool. When I stopped â€œdoing the same thing over and over again,â€ when I let go of the notion that flying solo was the only was, I began to get a different result. Answers, solutions and success came faster. The blood and pain devoted to the process lessened dramatically, if not entirely vanished.
And, instead of other people mucking up my processâ€¦
The knowledge and ease I gained by simply letting people who knew more than me in profoundly accelerated my journey and sharing that journey became a newfound joy. A fringe benefit of bringing other along for the ride.
In business, mentors, partners, managers and staff joined as a family to allow me to accomplish what I ever could have done alone. And, in my personal life, simply asking questions of people close to me, yet far more experienced in the ways of being a good dad, husband and sonâ€¦and being open to their answers has added so much to my ability to nourish my relationships.
Does it always work like this?
No, some of the people Iâ€™ve leaned on HAVE not only mucked up my process, but well, just change the first letter in the phrase â€œmucked upâ€ and youâ€™ll get what happened. No doubt, Iâ€™ve had some near-disastrous couplings. But, they were all recoverable and, over time, you get better at finding and involving the right people.
Find human catalystsâ€¦
So, take a look at whatâ€™s going on in your life right now and ask if thereâ€™s someone else you can find, let in, team with or share your journey with whoâ€™ll make your vision faster, easier, more enjoyable or allow you to succeed on a level thatâ€™d be near impossible to achieve (or at least take a LOT longer) on your own.
Then, beg, borrow or steal to get them on your team.
In business, these people are your mentors, peer advisers, mastermind partners, management team, and family of employees. In life, they may be your partners, spouses, therapists, friends and more.
And, they generally fall into two categories, advisers and actors.
Those who offer insight that moves your journey ahead. And, those who offer action that moves your journey ahead. On, rare occasion, youâ€™ll find both qualities in a single person. If and when you do, treasure that relationship. It is pure gold.
So, what do YOU think?
Have you ever relented to allowing someone else in after resisting fiercely for anywhere from minutes to decades?
Howâ€™d it work out?
Or, are you still in go it alone mode?
Whatâ€™d I miss?