Asking for help: some problems cannot be solved by one person
This past week, my business partner, Bill Storie, and I were recording some podcasts and the subject of “asking for help” came up.
“Oh, that would make a great topic for an article!” I thought.
So how then, do you write a helpful article about asking for help?
In my mind the first hurdle that a lot of people encounter when they are in need of any kind of assistance is the fear of looking foolish, or weak, or being turned down, or being judged.
There's that word again — fear.
Have you noticed just how often these articles can start out discussing just about any subject under the sun and wind up being in a discussion about overcoming some aspect of fear?
Hmm. Do you suppose there's a reason for that?
Anywho … back to jumping hurdles …
So being unwilling to jump the fear hurdle, a lot of people choose to hide their problems for as long as possible, until the act of “going it alone in the face of adversity” becomes a life path.
Then, instead of being called foolish, these people get themselves labelled proud, or bull-headed or difficult. (But at least no one is calling them foolish or weak — gosh darn it … anything but that!)
The tricky thing is this secretive, bull-headed, independent strategy works for quite a while but eventually, inevitably, these people reach a wall; a wall so high and so wide, there is absolutely no way over it or around it. And then what happens?
They jump and they dig and they scratch and they pound but there they stay with their problem, unable to move and the problem just gets bigger and heavier and more complex no matter what they do.
Why do you suppose that is?
What is the one thing that people like this never consider?
I'm sure that there are lots of possible answers to this question but, at the core of the matter, is it possible that some problems simply cannot be solved by one person on their own?
Is it possible that some problems exist simply for what they can teach us about ourselves and the power and value of being open to interacting with and co-operating with other people — be they friends or family, or complete strangers on the other side of the world?
Similarly, is it equally possible that some problems exist in our lives simply so that we can provide other people with the opportunity to be empathetic or helpful or generous?
And if that's the case, what would happen the next time that you find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable obstacle if, instead of hiding the problem or rejecting offers of assistance, you turned to someone you trust and simply said: “You know, I have hit a wall in this area of my life, but I think if we put our heads together we might be able to build a door. Will you help me?”
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org