Ask For Help, Part II

Click here for Part I


“I’ll give you all I can…”
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Before I get to far into this, I feel it’s important to say just how stressful it can be for me to ask for help. Somewhere deep down, I don’t feel like I deserve help to get myself out of my own messes. I mean, things wouldn’t be quite so bad if I’d just sucked up my pride and kept my job. Or looked for a new one with more gusto. What right did I have to ask anyone for anything when I clearly couldn’t help myself?

(I should mention that Green had also quit his job, and for a span of at least a month and a half if not more, both of us were unemployed.)

I continued struggling through each day, determined to be solely responsible for digging us out of this mess, too embarrassed by my own foibles to even fully reveal the details of our situation to anyone.

I’d been reading a lot, and one of the books I’d been picking up for a few pages a night was Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher.

In the book, Sher lays out ten steps to take toward putting your life in the direction you actually want it to go. In lesson seven, “The Idea Bank”, Sher writes:

“This is probably the simplest and most effective way of getting great ideas that I know of. All it requires is that you tell as many people as possible – friends, colleagues, people on the bus – what your wish is and what obstacle you face.”

She goes on to say that the reason this works is because when people hear someone talking about their wishes and their obstacles, they immediately go into problem-solving mode and try to come up with ways to help. Even if that person can’t help directly, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.


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I read this and thought about a group I’d recently joined on Facebook called DFW Bartering Artists. The group encouraged artists in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to connect with one another, asking for things they needed in exchange for their artistic skill, or whatever they could provide. The only rule: No monetary exchanges. Bartering only.

The creator of the group set it up because she wanted a haircut. Within one week it had 500 members.

I’d spent the week of the group’s inception scouring the page looking for barters I could help with. I didn’t find any, but I did know people who might be able to help with some, and I pointed those people in the direction of the group. Watching everyone trading with one another so willingly really touched me, and reminded me just how good humanity can be.

So when I read Sher’s description of asking for ideas, I realized that I’d just watched that very concept in action.

It occurred to me that I didn’t have to ask anyone for money, or to fix my situation for me. But I could definitely ask for help with ideas, for nudges in the right direction. I began to compile a list in my head of the things that would help me out the most: a job, tubing to fill some hoop orders, but more than anything else, I needed a morale boost. I needed help remembering that the world is on my side.

I wrote up an open letter and posted it to Facebook, describing my issues with asking for help and how I could really use some good vibes and help coming up with ideas. I addressed the letter to friends, family and the Universe. I felt that if nothing else, putting it out into the world that I was finally open to help could shift things up a lot.

It did.

Within minutes, I got comments from friends sending their well-wishes, which reminded me that no matter how bad things got, I had people who cared about me. I had people tell me about places I could try applying. I had people offer to donate rolls of tubing in exchange for their own hoops or payment when I could afford it.


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But the thing that made the whole endeavor worth it for me came in the form of comments from people who related to what I said about being too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. I had people I’d never met before tell me they were inspired by my note, that they saw themselves in it and felt they could have written it themselves.

In other words, my asking for help directly helped others.

The note signified more than just a request for help, it was a declaration of upward momentum. From that point on, I would look at what I had, the things I was grateful for, and watch things get better.

A couple of days after I posted the note, I got a call back from the interview I thought I had bombed. The next day, I received an e-mail inviting me to interview at the company my friends had told me about. I got hired on at both jobs. I went from feeling convinced I may never work again to having to choose between two excellent job offers. There is no doubt in my mind that the abundance came as a direct result of changing my attitude about my situation and opening myself up to aid from the outside. They may have come otherwise, but would I have been in the right frame of mind to receive them? Would I have gone into the interviews in a bad mood and continued my unemployment streak? Very probably.

I’m now working at a company I am EXCITED about. A company that rewards its employees for a job well done, that shows its workers in innumerable ways how it values them as human beings, not numbers. It’s helping me change my attitude about employment, as well. Soon I’ll begin receiving paychecks, which will continue the upward momentum as I begin putting things back in order.

The moral of this story is: If you feel like you are stuck and you can’t get out, think about the things that you need and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a second step that might be even more important: Don’t be afraid to be open to receiving help. It’s the openness that allows opportunity to flow into your life. Getting rid of the resistance that’s keeping you from asking opens more doors than you might expect.

Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Inspired By Awesome – Jessica Mullen

I’ve been reading Jessica Mullen’s blog almost non-stop since I quit my “day job”, and I can’t get enough of it. It’s full of inspiration and ideas for making each day better than the last!

I stumbled onto Jessica’s blog when I was browsing through the backlog of Gala Darling’s “I Want To Be” posts. From time to time, Gala will feature a professional from a particular career and interview their journey getting to that point. I was actually looking to see if she’d ever done “I Want To Be…A Freelance Writer”, but I didn’t find that post. What I DID find was: “I Want To Be…A Lifestreamer!”

I had no idea what, exactly, “lifestreaming” entailed. I could guess, though, and it intrigued me enough to click on the article.

Turns out Jessica and her wife Kelly run their own School of Life Design, with lessons on how to build your life via your thoughts, and how to turn your website into the outward expression of you. Lifestreaming made immediate sense to me. One thing I’ve struggled with in the past is how to keep my “professional” life separate from my “personal” life (or my online life). I’ve always come to a stalemate with this, because I feel like every aspect of my life is so intertwined that it doesn’t make sense to try to separate them.

The concept of lifestreaming was like an excuse to stop the struggle of holding that barrier up. Make MY LIFE my work. Duh. How long have I been telling myself some form of this? I’ve constantly told myself to make my heath, yoga, hooping, whatever is most important to me my Real Work, regardless of what “day job” I might be holding down at the time. Reading Jessica’s site was like written permission to stop the niggling guilt monkeys in the back of my mind telling me that it might not be okay to live that way.

For some reason, putting a word on it, especially a word that can mean just about anything, gave it the legitimacy I needed to embrace it. I realized that pretty much all of the people I admire most are lifestreamers! Amanda Palmer, John and Hank Green, Kevin Smith, all of these people live their lives publicly online, constantly weaving their work with their lives. Their lives ARE their work!

In my poking around Jessica’s site, I also found The Popular Podcast, which she and Kelly have been doing together for years. Watching some of the episodes, I remembered that I had seen it somewhere before, a few years ago. Someone had linked to it somewhere on the Intarwebs, and I’d clicked and watched. But I hadn’t delved much deeper than that at the time.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, where something I find on the Internet then comes back a few years later and turns out to be really important and helpful to me. It happened with Halcyon Styn and his Hug Nation, as well. It’s always a little weird, yet synergistic, when it happens. It’s like, okay, the Universe keeps shoving me towards these people, and at the time, I wasn’t ready to hear what they had to say. But something out there knew I needed them, and it led me back at exactly the right moment.

Definitely the case with Jessica Mullen, I’m incredibly grateful to have come across her site when I did!

Lessons Learned From Jessica Mullen:

-Let go of your fears and trust that you are taken care of

-Post / talk about / think about the things that you want more of in your life

-Your life is your work!

-And much more. Not done learning from this inspirational woman!

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