“How in the world am I going to do this?” I wondered to myself. After two years of market research, trials and errors, self-exploration, and overcoming self-doubts and fears, I had finally identified my niche target market and my service offerings. I was finally ready to go full speed ahead and serve others, make a lot of money, and change the world.
One tiny problem, overworked and underpaid in my nonprofit job, I had no money for web design, website development, consultants or anything else. Staring out my window and into the sunset, I felt so overwhelmed, “How would I launch my dream? My company?”
Then I remembered one cold Saturday morning I spent in a room full of other women. We were at SisU DC’s guerrilla mentoring event, and on our name tags we had to include our biggest challenge or goal we needed help with. Kathy, the founder of SisU DC and the Chief Hot Momma of the Hot Momma’s Project, explained how we women don’t ask for help. She contrasted that tendency with men’s habit of announcing to the world their goals and informing others how they can be of assistance, as if men actually have their goals and requests plastered right on their shirts. She drove home the point that asking or not asking can often be the difference between success and failure.
With our name tags helpfully announcing to the entire room our goals and challenges, we all received the help we needed by the end of the event. Simply because we asked.
I decided to put the lesson I learned into action. I set aside my feelings of vulnerability, selfishness and self-consciousness, and I asked for help. I was introduced to an amazing graphic designer who exchanged services with me. I then found a former coworker who was willing to develop my website for little cost. But he was doing this in his spare time, so when he ran out of spare time, I had to go back to the drawing board. After asking around for referrals and talking with a few developers, I found a fantastic developer, who worked with me to keep costs low, but still create a high quality site. And my boyfriend lent me money for Ali Brown’s coaching program.
Yes, it was uncomfortable asking for help, but I needed the help to move forward. I needed the help, so I could be of service to you.
I haven’t always been much good at asking for help. In fact, I kind of really stunk at it. However, my dreams for changing the world became more powerful than my fears. By forcing myself to go against my natural inclinations, I ended up stumbling upon an amazing realization. I assumed that asking for help would leave me vulnerable and embarrassed. Vulnerable because any competitor that didn’t need to ask for help would come off as more professional and desirable; and embarrassed because a “professional” shouldn’t need to ask for help. But contrary to all my fears, I found that I became strong and confident. Strong because I tapped into the communal secret of all human beings; and confident, because I recognized an even greater power that lies in community.
As soon as I started reaching out to others, I began attracting just the right people and resources I needed to move forward. I also learned that by asking others for help, I demonstrated to them that I trusted their ability to help me, and I valued their assistance.
By asking for help, we can forge deeper bonds with people, achieve our goals, overcome our challenges, and move forward together. Each of us can make a bigger difference in the world when we get the support we need. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
So tell me, what’s your biggest challenge or goal? How can our community help you?