Is HELP a Four Letter Word?

I ran into a friend at school drop off the other day.  I love bumping into her and getting the quick update on the business she’s launching. This is always a fun setup when my worlds of parenthood and entrepreneurship collide.  

She expressed some frustrations that were coming up. I knew these were all things to be expected during a startup stage but I also know that when you’re the one in the thick of it the feeling can be very intense.  

After some brief chit chat and empathetic “I get it” and “you’re doing great” I say to her, “Hey, when you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, give me a call.  This shit is hard and you’re not alone.” She smiled, told me how she always appreciates the offer, but she knows I’m busy…..

I realize she doesn’t feel comfortable reaching out.  So I circled back.  I want her to know that the offer is made with 100% sincerity.  As a friend, I want to be there for her. Because I’ve felt alone, and I don’t want others to feel that way.  I went a step further and really encouraged her to accept the help that others offer her.  She’s venturing out into a new territory and getting some support from those who’ve been through it can be really helpful.

I’ve been the person who smiles and says thanks and never follows up more times than I can count.  I’ve thought, “they don’t really mean it” or “they’re too busy.” But I’ve learned this novice mistake is a big one.  Most people who make this offer honestly mean it.  

There also seems to be this school of thought that if we can’t do it alone, we are weak, as though we can only champion the person who does it all seemingly on their own and that is the pinnacle of success.  Usually they a) have lots of help behind the curtain or b) are on the brink of a breakdown. (I've also been in both spots here ;) 

Whether it is in the parenting realm or in running our business, we all need help at various times.

Don’t be the person that views this as a four letter word.  

Embrace it. And to those of you who only help others and can’t receive it, you’re in a dangerous place.  Receiving is just as important as giving.   

Since I love having a compelling reason to do things, here are 5 reasons you should accept help.   

  1. YOU NEED HELP. Seriously, stop priding yourself on doing it all.  This is just the basic truth.  You probably really could use the help.  Maybe they are picking up your kid from soccer or they’re reviewing your copy for your website.  Sure you could do it yourself, but accepting the help will make life easier.  DO IT!

  2. They may drop a serious knowledge bomb on your lap and be just the spark you need.  In business, people often offer to help you in their area of expertise. This is super valuable!  Sometimes this is the stuff you can’t even pay for.  Take the help!

  3. They may make a vital introduction for you to someone who can help you with the exact problem you have. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened for me.  The person I’m meeting is great but when they understand more about what I’m doing and what I need, they know another person that is even more suited to helping.  A personal introduction here is golden and having someone in your corner to make that into is key.

  4. They may refer/recommend you to a potential customer.  Another thing that has happened to me numerous times.  I meet with someone and at some point down the road they connect me with a potential client.  Boom!  Perfect!

  5. You can gain a friend, someone in your corner.  Awe shucks.  Sort of sappy but you never know! Life is busy and things happen quickly.  When we take a few moments to receive help we have more time to connect with someone.  And the relationships we build with others is key to our personal fulfillment.  

The fact is you have nothing to lose and so much to gain by accepting help.  

When I’m nervous to do something, I ask myself two things:

  1. What’s the worst thing that will happen?

  2. What’s the best thing that could happen?

Typically the answer to these highlight that the worst thing really isn’t so bad.  Often for me it’s that I feel stupid or embarrassed.  (Ironically when I answer this question honestly with “I’ll feel embarrassed” I feel embarrassed at the vanity of my own answer.)  

But when I ask what’s the best thing, there is so much potential.  I can create crazy stories with fun and wild endings.  And that is often enough to push me into action.

What help will you accept this week?  Can you share a time that you accepted help and it lead to something great?  I’d love to hear.