Take the Help

On my recent She Summits 14ers I was reminded why it is ok to accept help even when you don’t ask for it.

First let’s start with – what the heck is a She Summits 14er?   It was a group started by two work associates, that have become dear friends, that take women (from technology execs, to moms that run their household, to entrepreneurs, to family, to friends and to all their friends that these ladies bring along) and teach them how and give them the courage and support to climb a 14,000 ft mountain.  I often get to tag along as the 3rd guide and support system.    The ladies that climb leave as lifelong friends with an inner courage and passion they might not have known was there.

On my recent climb there were 14 ladies in total.  Two, who were on their first climb, struggled. They were willing to take support on the way up (support came in the form of encouragement, tips for maximizing each step, tips for breathing, tips for body posture and confidence, and the reduction of 25lbs by handing over their backpack).  Now they both did not take the support initially, but eventually concluded that they needed it.  Taking the support meant they had a better chance of summitting and not impacting anyone else along the way.

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

We had summited, had a dance party on the top, and were about to start our descent.   These two ladies had regained their fire having experienced the summit and regained their backpack to carry in the process. This turned about to be a good thing as two other ladies had to go down more quickly with our fearless ClimbingExecutive.com leader Louise.

On the way down we laughed, we cried, we sang, we told stories about other things we wanted to accomplish with our new found courage.  Fast forward 3 hours and just .25 miles to go (the end in sight) both ladies stopped and were struggling to finish and initially wanted to finish on their own.   To be honest I just wanted to be done myself and get to the parking lot.  I simply said, I know you can make it to the finish on your own.  But you are doing us a favor by letting us take your backpacks.  Some people enjoy helping other people; we feel good knowing we can help.  Sometimes even if you don’t need the help, you can take it for the benefit of the other person.

Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” – Emily Kimbrough

The other climber that took the 2nd backpack stopped me shortly after.   She said wow, she needed to hear that.  That she always tries to do things herself and often refuses help when offered.  She was now going to start becoming more aware of this and change her perspective, choices, and actions.

That hit home with me.  This other climber helped me, by rephrasing what I had just said.  I, as the coach, often give help, but don’t always see it when it is offered to me.  I often feel like I need to do things myself.  I am now aware and will be grateful for the opportunity to change my perspective, my choices and my actions around taking help with offered.  I needed that reinforcement.

Seeking help when you need it is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you understand your limitations and are wise enough to seek the support you need.

Your Turn

Here are some journaling prompts to help you explore ways to let others fill your cup and accept with gratitude.

  1. Why do I find it difficult to ask for help when I need it?
  2. What are some instances where I needed help but didn’t ask for it? How did these situations make me feel?
  3. How can I become more comfortable with asking for help?
  4. Who are the people in my life that I feel comfortable asking for help? Why do I feel comfortable with them?
  5. What are some ways that others have helped me in the past that I am grateful for?
  6. How did I feel when I last accepted help from someone? What was the outcome?
  7. What fears or beliefs do I have that prevent me from asking for or accepting help?
  8. How can asking for help be a sign of strength rather than weakness?
  9. How can I practice asking for help in small ways to become more comfortable with it?
  10. What are some situations in my life right now where I could benefit from asking for help?

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or incapable, it simply means you’re human. We all need help sometimes, and there’s strength in recognizing and acting on that need.

5-Minute Cup Filler Exercise

Here is a 5-minute daily exercise to further develop your skills around asking for help.

“Choose to be a better version of yourself every day.”

Think back over the last 24 hours.

BECOME AWARE:  Name one time when you refused help or could have asked for help and why (pride, defiance, shame, fear etc).

BE GRATEFUL: Rephrase this occurrence into a choice you can be grateful for.
I am grateful for __(negative action)___ because it gives me a chance to take __(positive action)___ .

TAKE ACTION: What is one action you can take in the future to accept the help with gratitude?   Name an additional action you choose to take throughout your day to reinforce.

Choose to commit to repeat daily until you build your “I need help” muscle, and it becomes natural!

Jen Weis

The publisher of Morning Cup.