Once upon a time, I used to know myself: my strengths, my passions, my needs…..and then I moved across the country….. and got lost – not geographically, but rather I forgot some important aspects of my authentic self.
Immediately upon arriving in Victoria, I became mired in the “To Do” list: find a great school and daycare for my child, find medical professionals for my family, set up play dates for my daughter, renovate the entire house, and start my own business (in a town where I don’t know anyone!)
It’s fascinating to me how I immediately slipped into an old habit of going it alone when faced with adversity. I became what Robert Holden, author of Shift Happens, calls a DIP: a Dysfunctionally Independent Person. In case you are wondering if you have “DIPpy” tendencies, your internal memo would sound something like this: “I can do everything on my own…. I can figure it out as I’m a smart, capable, competent person….What if I ask for help and they say no!” While going it alone may seem noble to a DIP, according to Holden, we “win no extra points for not asking for help. In fact, all we get is extra struggle, pain, burden and loneliness – all unnecessary.”
So the question is — why do we as adults fear or fail to ask for help? Is it fear of rejection? Is it a case of pride? Control? Superiority? Unworthiness? For me, it’s was all of these things, but thankfully, I remembered the power and importance of connection. Everyone needs a support team — a “pit crew” of people there to help you. To that end, I recently took off my superwoman cape and contacted a woman whose work I really admire. Her name is Beth Cougler Blom.
I first met Beth this past Winter at an event at Royal Roads University where we were presenting our respective workshops. I immediately liked Beth for her kind and warm personality. Then, right out of the blue, she asked if she could take a picture of me (and my partner in crime, Valerie Watt) for her Facebook page to promote our upcoming Embracing Imperfection workshop. DIPpy me was floored by her generosity!
A few months later, I found myself stuck on how best to promote my business, in particular how to market the personal enrichment workshops I co-facilitate with Valerie. At first, I thought I should contact Beth, but then the DIPpy gremlins crept in: “What if Beth thinks I’m using her? Why can’t I figure this out on my own? Why would she want to take time out of her busy schedule to help me?” After exhausting myself with too much internal dialogue, I emailed Beth requesting a chat over tea. Not surprisingly, she said yes, and of course, she was generous with her ideas and suggestions on how best to expand my network….and to blog, but that’s a whole other story :/
Shortly after our chat, Beth extended an invitation to join her at a networking luncheon, as well as a dinner event she was hosting for local facilitators. In those moments of meeting like-minded people, I remembered that I am a funny, engaging person; that I am a people connector; that I used to be a person who gave out information, advice, and hugs freely……. and I can be that person again! It’s amazing how one small gesture, one small act of kindness can reconnect a person to key aspects of their authentic self.
I know from Beth’s recent blog post entitled “I don’t count” that she’s a “giver”: someone who “gives to others and doesn’t expect anything in return,” but I hope she will accept my sincere thanks and gratitude for her advice, kindness, support, and generosity. Since that meeting over tea, I have set up no less than 10 networking get-togethers, I’ve become clearer on my messaging and branding for my business, I’ve signed up to be on a committee, I’ll be mentoring some youth in the Fall and I’ve made some fabulous new friends! I feel empowered and enthusiastic about the future.
So if connection can work for DIPpy me, this leads me to ask: who are the helpers on your path?
If you like visual tools, I’ve attached the Personal Circles of Support handout that Valerie and I use in our Embracing Imperfection workshop, which is scheduled for November 23-24, 2013 and April 12-13, 2014. To register, please visit Royal Roads Continuing Studies Program or contact me for alternate dates and locations.
I hope you will include me as one of your helpers!
Attachment: Circles of Support