Posted by: bellazon | September 9, 2011

Overwhelmed? Even the Lone Ranger had Help

Recently I talked about the dangers inherent in getting stuck in a story that keeps
us on a kind of emotional, psychic, and even financial hamster wheel –
repeating the same sad, angry, or hopeless tale ad infinitum instead of
breaking the cycle by taking effective action.

Well, I’ve just come face-to-face with another aspect of The Story that can function
like fly paper to the soul – keeping us stuck and flailing, lots of activity
but going pretty much nowhere.  Here’s what I mean – I learned early in life to handle everything myself.  I learned that I shouldn’t expect support, that it was unlikely that anyone would be willing to help me unless I could come up with large amounts of cash in advance, that my needs, both personal and professional, were of little or no importance to anyone else and that I had to be willing and able to do it all by myself.

So, there’s The Story and for many years I lived that story to the tiniest
detail.  And I got stuck there in fine fashion, turning down offers of assistance (asking myself “what do they want?  What are they going to ask for in return?  What’s the catch?”) and expecting myself, all alone, to create the same quality results generated by individuals who had talented teams to support them.

(Now, let me add here that, as a tiny child, I used to watch Lone Ranger re-runs and
I idolized this handsome stranger committed to justice and to doing the right thing.  But, as I think about him now, I realize that I don’t remember ever seeing him without his pal and sidekick Tonto who provided all sorts of services that allowed that masked man to focus on what he was there to do.  He was not “Lone” at all; he had a loyal assistant.  No wonder he got so much done.)

I struggled for years, wondering why my results paled in comparison to those
accomplished by teachers whose message was no more meaningful than my own, but
who took advantage of the range of skills available through their team
members.  “But I am alone.  I have to do it alone.  I don’t have the time, money, confidence, flexibility to create a team” were my excuses.  But the real barrier to my asking for help was that, at that time, I was sure deep in my gut that I didn’t deserve help.  And so I stayed stuck in the trap (remember the fly paper?) of knowing
that my path was a lonely one, and that I was tasked with figuring it all out
myself and wearing every damn hat there was, no matter how badly they fit.

It all began to turn around when I found the courage to hire a coach to help me
move out of all that small thinking and into a much larger internal arena.  I will remember forever the feeling I had when I first hired a virtual assistant.
It felt like a massive step, almost dangerous; but the rush of (I don’t
know what to call the feeling) that came upon realizing that I now had someone
who would help me (sure, I pay her but so what?) when I was facing tasks I
didn’t know how to do, didn’t want to do, didn’t do well, almost brought me to
my knees.

I know this may sound silly, like no big deal.
But, given my background, it was and is sometimes still a very big deal.  And this week someone whose help I never expected approached me to offer to assist with an aspect of marketing that I’m not skilled in.  For a brief moment, I found myself thinking “But, why?  What do you want?” and then quickly I remembered that by accepting her generous offer not only do I get something I need, but she gets to expand her own range of skill and experience.  And that’s how it is when we’re committed to collaboration and to being of service.  Everyone wins.

Are you winning?  Are you asking for what you need?   Who can help you win? Are you looking for the opportunities to be of service that are all around you?  Who needs your help

Asking and answering the questions above can open a portal deep inside, a door that
can lead to a profound kind of success that quickly becomes a way of showing up
in the world.  Try these simple steps to get started:

*Look
for ways you can collaborate with someone else so that you both get what you need.  Everyone wins.

*If you need the services of an assistant and money’s tight, contact your local college or university and ask about students who are available as interns.  You can get cutting-edge services and the intern gets experience and possibly class credit.  Everyone wins.

*Get clear about what kind of assistance you need, and ask your network, your tribe who they know who can provide it.  You get what you need, the assistant you find gets to help as part of what you’re doing and gets more experience, and your tribe gets to be of service.  Everyone wins.

*Consider what you can offer as a “thank you” for help that’s been offered as a gift.  I have given tickets to my upcoming events, copies of any of my books, CDs, anything that is an expression of who I am and a meaningful gift to the person who’s offered to help.  Everyone wins.

*Practice asking for what you need.  Start with simple things and with the understanding that by asking you give another person the opportunity to give and to be of service.  Everyone grows, and everyone wins.

I remind myself (and my clients) regularly that if we don’t ask for what we need,
we don’t get to complain when we don’t get it.   Take responsibility for asking for help, and you’ll get to take full possession of the joy of getting it.

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