We have the right to be nourished. It’s a phrase that is used in one of our seminars. It’s one of five developmental stages that shapes who we become as adults.
I was on a business trip in Boston, visiting the Fluevog team. It was during an autumn month. I flew in and went straight to the store, with my carry-on and computer bag.
Pete, one of the Fluevogologists, was outside sweeping the steps.
P: “Hey Karen! Welcome back!”
K: “Thanks Pete! It’s great to be back.”
P: “Can I help you with your suitcase?”
K: “No that’s ok. I can do it.”
Wait. Pause. Hold on a minute!
Why won’t I let him help me with my suitcase?
I’m in heels, the steps are steep, the suitcase is heavy – why the bleep would I not ask for help? Because I can manage this suitcase myself. I don’t need help. I’m self-made. I’m independent. I’ve come this far on my own, why would I need help now?
Reload, KT. Reload.
K: “Pete, yes I would love your help. Thanks.”
Pete grabs my suitcase and we walk down the steps together.
P: “Look who just showed up!”
And with that announcement, Fluevog’s finest welcome greeted me upon entering. Ahhhh, good to be back in Boston.
In our western culture, where independence and self-made principles are imbedded into our DNA, no wonder we have lost the art of asking for help.
When’s the last time you said, “I need your help”
It’s a constant reminder in my life. It’s easy to resist help. It’s easy to talk myself out of needing help. But I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to be human. Humans need humans.
Jason replies, “What can we do for you? We’re here to help.”
K: “My bike is in pieces. Can you reassemble it and air the tires so I can get it back in the trails?”
J: “We absolutely can do that for you.”
I could have reassembled it myself but it would have taken me far too long, in comparison to these pros that have all the gadgets and equipment and skill! And besides, they’d do a way better job than I would!
Asking for someone’s help is part of being human. It’s part of being in community. It’s part of belonging. It’s part of excellent camaraderie. It’s part of healthy relationships. From a professional point of view, it’s also good business.
Why have we stopped asking? What presuppositions have we distorted about the phrase, “I need your help.”
I have a request: I’d like you to ask for help once a day for the next fourteen days. Keep track of the responses. Let me know what happens: me[at]karenthrall.com I’d love to hear about it. If you’re the only one giving, it’s up to you to change that. How? You can start with, “I need your help.”
– Karen Thrall
* also published on www.karenthrall.com