Written by: Shari Teigman
Asking for help can be some seriously scary sh*t.
You want to reach new levels of growth and success you haven’t been able to do on your own BUT in front of you stands this boulder of being vulnerable, not knowing the answers, and not knowing who to trust to help you out. Eeep... I know.
It doesn’t help that society tells us that women should be fierce, powerful, and independent, and that men are meant to be super masculine and devoid of all emotion.
It makes us feel like we’ll look weak, silly, and incapable. But it’s time we change that once and for all!
Asking for help is none of those things and means none of those things about YOU.
It’s actually a marker for real strength and courage and is the factor that makes successful people successful - they know they aren’t the master of all things.
It requires self-awareness and courage and it’s something we should be proud of and welcome - instead of fearing and avoiding it entirely. But the problems don’t begin and end with asking for help.
Because…how do we even know WHEN we need help?!
Most of us will have at least one or two people that we could call up in an emergency. Like, if our house is on fire we know they’ll answer and help out. But what about when it isn’t a super obvious emergency? What if it’s something smaller, less ‘serious?’ What if it’s something we don’t feel is worth mentioning? What if we think we ‘should’ know the how but we don’t?
To tackle that and start to solve this predicament, we need to look for the signs that we need help, because unfortunately, they aren’t all as obvious as a burning house.
First of all: The dreaded ‘Overwhelm’
Y’know that feeling when you’ve got a million and one things going on and there’s no sign of anything slowing down? It’s that.
Our bodies normally react to this in two ways.
1. We freeze up. We feel like we simply can’t accomplish what we want, and we just shut down completely. Fancy psychology word is dissociation and it doesn’t only happen in trauma patients; it’s your brain’s way of short circuiting to keep you safe. Helpful in danger, but not so much in day-to-day life.
2. You do those million things - all at the same time, act like everything is super fine, and that you’re in full control. Because, if you just keep busy and never stop, you don’t have to admit you need help, right?! Spinny spin spin goes your life, your focus, and your energy. Need I continue?
These are both big red flags that things are headed south and you probably need a little bit of help.
Secondly: Repeating things you’ve done in the past.
If you find yourself getting stuck on the same old habits and patterns, using the same words, responses, movements, and choices without even thinking about it - something is up.
This is a sign that you’ve disconnected emotionally. You’re doing the stuff you THINK you should be doing without even consciously choosing whether or not you even wanna do it.
Is it even the best decision for you, or are you just doing it because it’s what you’ve always done?
At this point your drivers are external - what everyone else thinks is right, what others will see as achievement - but those markers move faster than we can catch them and suddenly you feel farther away from yourself than you ever have with no clue how you got there.
Lastly: When you don’t really know what you’re feeling in regards to what you’re doing.
You’re on autopilot. Doing and saying the same things over and over regardless of who you’re talking to or what the situation is hoping that no one will notice that you’ve become a drone on autopilot.
It’s a huge red flag when you start noticing that you’re not feeling sadness OR joy about things you should.
If you have a situation in front of you that should make you feel happy or proud and instead you feel nothing, this is the time to reach out and ask for some help.
And remember, you don’t have to feel less than or broken for asking for help.
Especially if you’re seen as someone who helps others, or always seems to have solutions for everyone else, it can feel like that image that you worked so hard to create is just gonna crumble away the second you stick your hand up and say ‘’Hey, I need help’’.
But, it won’t. Remind yourself that when people come to you for help, you don’t see them as weak. Treat yourself with that same respect.
It doesn’t have to be a big, intense conversation. A simple ‘’Can I run this idea by you?,’’ or ‘’Can I get your input on this?,’’ will work too. Plus, the more you do it, the more normal it becomes and it stops being as scary.
So, take a look at what signs pop up in your life. Start to recognise when you need help and practice by asking someone for help in a small way.
Stepping out of the silo of your own head, thoughts, and well-trodden solutions and asking for help can start to spark new ideas, trust in ideas you haven’t thought of yet, and help you zone in on your own superpowers. Practice not being a one-man-band in your life and business.
How do you determine in what areas you are ready for help?
Simple. Make a list of all of the things on your mind. Getting that out on paper helps your brain not feel responsible for holding allofthethings in suspension allofthetime.
Then, make a note next to each point - DRAIN OR FOUNTAIN?
Fountains are ideas or tasks that fuel you. Drains do...well, the opposite.
There, in black and white, you will see what is ready to be put down, eliminated, or outsourced.
Next, prioritize whatever is left in order of importance, impact, or drive.
The last step is to make a list of the kind of help you would like, even if you don’t know the ‘who’ answer yet.
Areas, characteristics, and scope of help needs to be defined by you first before the right people can show up!
Voila! You now have a working plan for what you are ready to work on, let go of, AND ask for support with.
Happy help receiving!
Originally published in Issue 2 · April/May 2021 issue of SOULACY.
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