“Why is it that so many of us have a problem accepting help and support from others?”
Yeah, we get how to give help and support – we are some of the greatest cheerleaders for our children, our family and friends – but we have trouble receiving it from others, even those that we know love and care about us. We are a major part of somebody else’s support system, but we seldom allow others in our support system.
We understand what it means to give our help and support to other people, but many of us have a problem being on the receiving end of help and support. We don’t ask for help and we don’t take others up on their offer of support. Also, it’s imperative to understand who’s in your support system and if you have the right people and support system in place.
How many times have you ignored a friend or family member’s request to, “Let me know if there is anything I can do”, or “Let me know if you need help with that. I’m here to support you.”
We often just nod our heads politely and say ‘thank you’, but we have no real intention of taking that person up on their offer. We say it’s because we don’t want to impose upon others, but I believe we do it for different reasons.
On one hand, we fear being too vulnerable and opening ourselves up to others. We don’t want others in our personal business or judging our shortcomings, our actions and decisions. On another hand, we don’t want anyone to know that we don’t have it all together or that we don’t know how to do something.
We think we ‘can’ handle it alone
Sometimes it seems easier to work through our own problems and situations and figure things out on your own. But by not asking for help and seeking support when you really need it, you’re only putting more pressure and stress on yourself.
We think we ‘should’ handle it alone
Like many of you, I was also raised to be strong, independent and self-sufficient. I take pride in myself for being a problem solver and being able to take care of and handle my own business and responsibilities. And because of that, I’m the go-to person for many other people seeking help, but I used to never allow anyone to return the favor.
There was a time in my life when instead of raising my hand and admitting that I needed help, I would spend countless hours trying to figure it out on my own and being frustrated and overwhelmed throughout the process. Does this sound familiar?
Who should be in your support system?
If you were to seek help and support, where would you go? Do you have the right people in place? Who is a part of your support system, and who should be a part of your support system? Aside from the given (your spouse and family), your support system should also include the following four people or groups of people:
#1 Supportive Friends – people you trust and can confide in
You need supportive friends. I’m not talking about your Facebook followers or your Frenemies (the ones who are your friends up close but hate it when something good happens in your life). I’m not talking about someone who spreads your business either, but real friends that you can confide in and trust with your vulnerabilities.
#2 Coach or Mentor – someone who has been where you want to be
You need a coach or mentor. Invest in yourself, get a coach or find a mentor that has been where you are, who sees where you’re going, and can help you get there.
When I started my business, the second time, I invested in a business coach who helped me with planning and strategy. I say the second time around because the first time, I didn’t seek help and I was fumbling my way through. I didn’t have the right support system or business systems in place. Because I didn’t raise my hand and ask for help or seek support, my first business flopped.
#3 Accountability Partner – someone who helps you keep on task
You need an accountability partner. Now, this can very well be your coach, mentor, spouse or a friend, but you need someone who will help hold you accountable for what you say you want to do. This person or group will check in with you often and help you assess your goals and progress. They will help you to see if you have done what you said you are going to do. They might have to get tough on you sometimes and give it to you straight, but they are a critical part of your support team.
#4 Like Minded People – people who share common ambitions
You need to surround yourself with like-minded people. People who share your goals and values like your church family, a mastermind group, or other people who share your life trajectory. This group understands where you are in your journey because they too are on their own journey. They will help lift you up and keep you moving in the right direction. I believe that when you have the right support system in place, asking for help and support becomes a lot easier.
In addition to your spouse and family, you need a group of real friends, a coach or mentor, an accountability partner and a group of like-minded individuals in your support system.
Remember, seeking support and asking for help is not a sign of weakness nor does it mean that you don’t have it all together. Your family, friends, coaches, mentors and other members of your support system care about you and your well-being, and they want nothing more than to see you happy, healthy and prosperous.
“We were not put on this earth to live alone or to operate in isolation. We were created to live in community and to help each other.”
Just like you help and support others, you also have to allow others to help and support you.
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