I’m terrible at asking for help.
I'm sooo much better than I used to be, but I can’t deny that at times it's still a struggle.
My pride and determination for self-sufficiency is productive and rewarding, yet also a thorn in my side.
With a very independent and strong mother, I’m pretty sure I know where this came from, and I’m certain life as ‘an army wife’ exacerbated that ‘need’.
Military or not though, I know so many of you can resonate.
You want to be able to do it all, and often you smash it (!!), but the truth of it is that sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes, the demands you set, the standards you hold yourself to are, although attainable, often unsustainable.
And all too often before we reach for that supportive branch (friend, family, partner, coach, cleaner, child-minder etc.) we crash. We get ill, we snap at our loved ones or colleagues unnecessarily, we meltdown emotionally, relationships breakdown, or all of the above.
With one client, we’ll call her Emily, our work was centred around helping her find and do things that built the support and resources SHE NEEDED to be able to meet the large demands of her children with calm, consideration (and not the matched rage and retaliation of before). We were able to do this because she reached out for help.
With another client, Jemma, identifying her belief that “it’s not OK for me to ask for support when my husband is struggling himself” , was the eye-opening step towards making more conscious requests for the things her happiness, health and ultimately her relationships needed.
We all know logically that we should ask for help sooner*, we should reach out at those first signs of struggle*. Of course, we also should continue to learn and adapt how we operate so that we minimise the risk of moving toward burnout* in the first place. Often though, even that may require some external support.
So, when we all know this so logically, WHY OH WHY do we all still struggle so much with asking for help?
Is it the need look as if we're perfect? Like we've got it all together?
Is it because if others may think you're weak if you ask for help? Or a burden?
Well, today I called my Mum and asked her to come and stay.
Ideally she'd have just been a magical mind-reader and telepathically known from afar that I needed her help. How much easier would that have been??? (Truth is, probably not much, because accepting help for a 'I-can-do-it-on-my-own-er', is almost as hard as asking for it...but more on that another time!)
I've been unwell the past few days and last night I was up all night with Maxwell too. Graham is back from Afghanistan THIS WEEKEND (hurrahh!!), so my self-sufficient-wannabe brain told me just to 'tough it out' until then. But all I really wanted was my Mum to come and help... so I asked.
OK so maaaaybe I was a little late to the 'ask for help' game, and perhaps my recent temperature-take-down could have been avoided with earlier supportive interventions, but it's been a good reminder for me about some key things. Before I share those though, I wanted to share the one understanding that was liberating for me when it came to feeling more comfortable with asking for help;
If, when we ask for help we judge ourselves as 'weak', 'failing', 'useless' or 'pathetic' or (insert any other mean assessment), we also then carry that same judgement (subconsciously or otherwise) ANYTIME, ANY PERSON comes to us seeking support or help.
If you deem the act of asking for help as weak, then every time a friend / family member comes to you for support, YEP subconsciously you're judging them.
This means, if you genuinely want people to feel comfortable and safe with coming to you for help, then you first have to be comfortable and non-judgemental about asking for help yourself! (errr hello Life Coach Georgie, you think this applies to you??!!)
Ultimately people come to me as a coach for help. Thankfully, practicing what I preach, I also go to my coach for help. Help to move through what’s challenging us or holding us back and move into the things we want to feel and see in life - calm, consistency, joy, vital health, vibrant relationships etc.
We cannot hold different beliefs about the same act/behaviour just because of how it relates to us versus others. UNLESS we carry certain conditions.
What are those conditions? Well let's see...
Grab a pen and paper and write until you're empty of words, completing each of the following sentence starters. I think you'll be surprised about what subconscious beliefs you hold about asking for help...
Asking for help means...
It's ok to ask for help when...
It's not ok to ask for help when...
And as for those other key lessons? Well I highlighted them above, but really this is the crux of it;
Learn your early cues and signs that you could do with some help and respond to them.
Identify what tops up your cup and learn how to consistently integrate those behaviours into your days.
Clear out any limiting beliefs you carry about what asking for help means and when it's ok.
Ask early - don't wait!
This is exactly the type of work I'm going to be working through with a small handful of women in my upcoming 6-week group coaching programme; YOUR Freedom Formula, and I cannot wait.
If you want to hear more about that and how I can support you in moving away from burnout and into more comfortably asking for what you need, then click on this link or the picture above and check it out. It's going to be great!!
Otherwise, my advice to you all, is today to ask somebody else for one thing that you need - ask for one thing that they can help you with. If this feels a challenge, there's some work to do my friend. The good thing is I'm here to help! :)
So much love!