THE LAST WORD

Why is it so hard to ask for help? A chance en­counter with a stranger leads Fiona Blayney to re­flect on the wis­dom of ad­mit­ting when things are get­ting too much.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Fiona Blayney

Ionce re­ceived an email that shot me into an in­stant en­ergy boost for the day. It started with, “Wow! I wish had hooked up with you a long time ago” and con­tin­ued with words like ‘eye opener' and ‘lib­er­at­ing' – and yes, I am talk­ing about work.

In that con­text you'd be for­given for tak­ing this as lit­tle more than a beat­ing of my chest, but it is so much more than that. It is a re­flec­tion of a mo­ment in time when the light went on; some­one had reached out to talk about goals, dreams and cur­rent re­al­ity, only to be met with the pos­si­bil­i­ties of to­day and the re­al­i­sa­tion that the de­sires of to­mor­row were ac­ces­si­ble. My new client had asked for help, been au­then­tic about goals and to­gether we had iden­ti­fied the ‘re­al­ity of life' and the ‘true' path to suc­cess.

I won­der what life would have looked like for my new friend had they con­tin­ued to make the de­ci­sion that they didn't need help, that they could do it on their own? Why do so many of us strug­gle to ask for help, in busi­ness and in our per­sonal lives?

Dur­ing one of my many cab rides home from the air­port re­cently, and in what be­came an all too fa­mil­iar couch ses­sion with my friendly cab­bie, we un­packed the chal­lenges of his fam­ily life: a sick wife, dis­en­gaged chil­dren and his des­per­ate un­hap­pi­ness. He was at the end of his tether. “Thank you for lis­ten­ing. I'm sorry to dis­cuss this with you. I re­ally shouldn't have,” he said, clearly shocked at where our drive home had ended up. “I just don't have any­one to talk to about it all, and per­haps it's eas­ier to speak with you given we are strangers.”

As he was clearly lost and em­bar­rassed, I con­grat­u­lated him on our con­ver­sa­tion, thanked him for shar­ing his life with me for that mo­ment and en­cour­aged him to keep do­ing it. We even chat­ted about why peo­ple don't speak more openly. Cul­ture, fear, judge­ment; it's just not the done thing.

Per­haps it is some­thing that has been drilled into us since birth, man­i­fested through child­hood and then blos­somed into our adult life. Do we see speak­ing up or ask­ing for help as fail­ing? I'm sure any­one who has asked for help would agree that more of­ten than not it makes achiev­ing goals, com­plet­ing projects or per­se­ver­ing through life's many chal­lenges so much eas­ier.

My mind, over the years, has be­come the most in­cred­i­ble vault of in­for­ma­tion, se­crets, fears, goals, dreams and am­bi­tions that we are so fear­ful to dis­cuss. I am con­stantly blessed, through the coach­ing in my busi­ness life and the dis­cus­sions in my per­sonal one, to know that we all have the same chal­lenges – in­clud­ing think­ing we all don't have the same chal­lenges. We are all vul­ner­a­ble and em­bar­rassed to dis­cuss our world, yet I see how lib­er­at­ing it can be when we do.

I too have a vault of fears, goals, dreams and am­bi­tions. I make mis­takes and I of­ten don't know the right an­swer. But ev­ery day I work re­ally hard at com­mu­ni­cat­ing them to that group of peo­ple around me who are keen to help me suc­ceed and I reach out to them for help, sup­port, and guid­ance.

Stop and think about the chal­lenges you have right now. Take a look; there are peo­ple around you – some with the same chal­lenges, oth­ers with the an­swers to them. Per­haps it's time to put your hand up, reach out and tap into the abun­dance of knowl­edge ready to be shared by a world full of au­then­tic peo­ple who want you to suc­ceed at hav­ing the best life pos­si­ble. ■

WE EVEN CHAT­TED ABOUT WHY PEO­PLE DON'T SPEAK MORE OPENLY. CUL­TURE, FEAR, JUDGE­MENT; IT'S JUST NOT THE DONE THING.

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