I remember the moment well. It’s etched in my brain like hieroglyphics etched into a rock formation ions ago. It was the moment as a single mom with three school aged children that I realized I could not do it all myself.
Up until that personally historic moment, I did a fair job at managing my two businesses and getting my three beautiful children wherever they needed to go when they needed to be there. I was used to late nights helping them with homework or just talking, even later nights staying up to do laundry and clean house, pay the bills and whatever else needed tending to. I had no family around so I was used to doing the jobs of business owner and mom, and all the roles and responsibilities those come with, solo.
I was a master juggler or so I thought. Until one day it happened. My son, about eight at the time, was at a soccer practice. The coaches called an extra practice exactly at a time I needed to be somewhere else on the other side of town with my daughters. A moment of shock and disbelief ensued as my ordered juggled life all came falling down around me creating shock waves through my body and brain.
How was I going to do it? It was literally impossible to be in two different places at the exact same time.
And then it occurred to me. I would need to ask for help. That was a foreign concept to me… akin to asking me to step into a plane, parachute out into a foreign country and speak their language.
My brain raced for solutions. Previously, I prided myself on my strategic thinking ability to solve whatever obstacles and issues came my way both in my personal life and business.
This had me at a standstill.
I looked around and surveyed the landscape. I recall seeing the mom of one of the boys that my son had taken a liking to- he seemed like a sweet boy however I’d only briefly and casually exchanged pleasantries with his mother.
And then I did it. I asked her if she could take my son with her to her house after the next practice since I had to be on the other side of town to pick up my daughters at the same time.
Without batting an eye, she said of course. They can play together until you are able to come pick him up.
And in an instant my problem was solved. All that stress. All the worry. All the internal dread dialogue- and in a flash, one woman’s kind gesture changed it all.
I share this with you as it reminds me how and why we all need community. We all need strong social connections and bonds with others – family, friends, and community. We’re built for it. Even men. Even introverts. Even you.
It is a reminder of the kindness of one acquaintance and how extending kindness can make such an impact in someone else’s life in ways you may never know.
Kindness. Community. Connection.
We all need one another. We need safe people to show up for us and we need to learn how to be safe people that can show up for others.
Whether or not you realize it, others are counting on you. If you are someone’s partner or spouse, they are counting on you to show up – especially when it really matters.
If you get to be called mom or dad, or aunt or grandma or grandpa, someone is counting on you to show up and help out.
If you are a business owner, you provide goods and /or services and your customers and clients are counting on you. You have so much opportunity to show up in big ways for people. Consider that as you make decisions including how and where you spend your time.
Is it easy to ask for help? For many of us the answer is still, well no, not really.
Many of us were raised with “do it yourself”- a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. Additionally, many people received messaging growing up that asking for help makes you look weak, inadequate or incapable.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but if that is a story you tell yourself it may still keep you from reaching out and asking for help when that is exactly what’s needed.
The next time you think about asking for help, consider it an opportunity to practice humility.
The next time you have the chance to help someone out- whether it is with a tangible task or emotional support, consider how graciously showing up can impact that person’s day or even life.
You never know the effect that extending a helping hand may have on another human being.
I recently found myself in a situation needing to ask my adult daughter for help with something that I felt might be a significant inconvenience for her. Since I truly needed her help, I decided to ask. While it wasn’t easy to ask, I reminded myself it was necessary, that I could accept her reply even if it was a “no”, and that one way or another I would resolve my situation.
I realized I didn’t have shock waves going through my body- just some mild apprehension. I’ll call that progress.