Self-reliant. Independent. Resolved. Driven. Focused. Persistent. Stubborn.
These are all words that can and have been used to describe my personality. I’m strong, self-sufficient and proud. These are not bad attributes by any means, but they do create a protective sphere around me that seems to ward off anything resembling receiving help from another individual.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been fiercely independent. Largely due to personality and I’m sure partly due to circumstance and environment, I’ve always wanted to be able to do everything for myself.
My aversion to help manifests itself in every facet of my life. I insist on printing everything for myself instead of having my assistant help. I don’t delegate as much as I should. When my husband asks what he can do to help around the house I tell him I’ve got it covered. I’m constantly juggling too many things at once, and yet I refuse to let anyone carry my coffee for me instead of letting it teeter on the ledge of my notebook as I shuffle from meeting to meeting.
It’s not productive or necessary for me to hoard responsibilities like I’ve been doing for so long. Denying help is hurting no one but myself.
The irony is, if I see someone in need, I’m the first to volunteer to help them. I see someone who needs help carrying something? Let me take that for you. A co-worker is stressed before a meeting? I’m there to help them prepare. A stranger looks lost? I step right in front of them and volunteer directions.
The real question is, why can’t I allow myself to be open to those same kindnesses?
I’ve reached a point where it’s become evident that succeeding in life means accepting collaboration and assistance from others. I truly do think two heads are better than one. Four hands are better than two. And a team can accomplish in a day what it would take an individual one week to do.
And so, I’m focusing on embracing help. I’m leaning into teamwork and even asking people to do things for me. It’s awful and weird and gross and uncomfortable. But real change usually is at first.