RELATIONSHIPS THAT MATTER | What My Father Taught Me about Asking for Help

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On Memorial Day weekend two years ago, I began my holiday celebrations facing hundreds of dollars worth of unexpected car repair fees. With my car towed away and barely enough money to pay what I owed, my father was the first person I thought of to help me.

“You're a grown woman,” guilt told me. “You shouldn’t have to ask your dad for money and a ride.”

But I knew I had to, and he supported me without question.

What I didn’t realize, is that surrendering to my need for my father in that moment would create a ripple effect of feeling unconditionally loved and supported. This feeling breathed new life into how I live, love, and work.

As soul-centered entrepreneurs, accepting help can feel challenging, guilt-ridden, and frankly, wrong. We learn that our lives and careers are totally our responsibility, and to really need anyone may feel like a sign of weakness. And yet, we strive to be anchors for others to lean on, trudging along on our paths of self-actualization, living on coffee and an iron will—without stopping to fully surrender to the love and support that surrounds us.

How can you learn to receive what you need, so that you can realize your soul’s desire?

You may be familiar with Mother Theresa’s advice to “give until it hurts.” I challenge you to receive until it hurts (well, at least until you feel uncomfortable).

We might entertain our deepest desires or fumble to ask for what we need. Then, when the first signs of resistance show up, we shove down our longing by scrambling for a way to do it ourselves—whether it is building our businesses, cleaning the house after an exhausting day at work, or soothing our crying children.

So, when the desire to ask for what you need comes up, ask for what you need, no matter what. Even if you feel uneasy or struggle to get the words right. With practice comes progress (and the grace of surrendering to being supported).

How to identify what you need from others:

Think about a priority in your life that is causing you stress. This priority is one that you want to work on, but it tends to get brushed under the rug in your day-to-day busyness. When you think of this aspect of your life, you almost instantly feel overwhelmed and find it very difficult—if not impossible—to get that responsibility taken care of by yourself.

For instance, anything to do with regular car maintenance feels completely not me. I know that when my father is with me, his enthusiasm and wisdom on all things automotive inspires me to get the oil change or the tire rotation I need. I’ve grown proud to admit that without my father, I probably would’ve been stranded on the highway more than once!

Once you’ve defined your stress-inducing priority, see if anyone in your life feels like a natural fit to support you in addressing that priority. If not, look for someone immediately. The longer you wait, the more life-sucking stress you create for yourself.

How are you struggling with asking for help? Are there beliefs about personal responsibility and relying on others, that are holding you back in your life or your career? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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