In my Life Coaching practice, I often help people with their personal life and business struggles. I regularly come across people that aren’t quite ready to hire a coach but want a great piece of advice to get them heading down the right direction.
When I get the question, “So where do I start if I can’t hire a coach right now?” my advice is usually to start with gratitude. Start finding gratitude for all of the things you have now. But take it a step further. Coach yourself to find the gratitude for things that aren’t the way you want them to be right now. Don’t just simply be grateful for the house you live in, but also be grateful for the missed meetings that allow you to catch up on some work and the rush hour traffic that is probably keeping you from an accident or allowing you to get an education in your car (via audio programs). Finding gratitude is an excellent start towards creating the life you desire.
But that’s not the best piece of advice ever given.
So what IS the best piece of advice ever given?
Ask for help.
That’s it. It comes down to those 3 little words but is so all encompassing that it works in all cases at all times.
- When you are unsure what to do, ask for help.
- When you want the sale, ask for help.
- When you want a raise, ask for help.
- When you are afraid, ask for help.
- When you are worried, ask for help.
- When you have a problem, ask for help.
- When you have a solution, ask for help.
In many of the personal coaching programs, self help seminars and personal development books I have read, they recommend this in various ways.
- Find a mentor.
- Seek out the top people in your profession and ask what their best advice is.
- Hire a coach.
- Get support from those around you.
- Lean on someone else.
- Share your goals with others.
All of these say the same thing. Ask for help. Seems like pretty good advice to me!
Now it is easy to tell someone to go ask for help. It sounds great in theory. However, it isn’t always easy for many of us. Just as it wasn’t easy for me when I started. In fact, I think one of my biggest life breakthroughs was when I finally stepped outside of my own comfort zone and asked for help. It was both the hardest and the best thing I ever did.
But how did you do it?
For me it was a matter of finally getting so tired of not being able to figure it out on my own that asking for help was my last resort. If I didn’t, it meant failure.
You don’t have to wait to get to that point though. Start small. Ask for little things that you aren’t attached to the outcome. If you get what you are asking for, great. If not, no big deal. Make it a practice, a game, to ask for things and see how people respond. As you build up an ability to ask and receive or ask and not, but not feel rejected or ashamed, you will be able to ask for bigger, more important things.
Start to realize that you ask for things all day long, every day. You ask for coffee at the coffee shop, and probably ask for them to make it exactly the way you like it. You ask to merge into traffic when you turn your signal on. You ask to have someone take your phone call or meet you for an appointment.
We can’t exist on our own. We can’t possibly provide 100% of all of our own needs. Even a hermit in the woods has items in his possession for which he is not responsible for creating himself. Other people are there to help us but it is up to us to let them know what our needs are.
“But I prefer to give. I’m not a good receiver. ”
Then give the gift of allowing someone to help you. Most people are generally givers. They like to help other people when they can. It makes them feel good to help. Don’t deprive them of that gift by not asking for help.