It’s a curious thing, asking for help. On one hand, you're admitting you can’t do “it all” on your own. It can give you a pang in the stomach as though you aren’t quite good enough and have somehow failed. Aren’t we supposed to be able to do everything ourselves these days? And yet on the other hand, asking for help can open up infinite possibilities, something I’m only just beginning to realise.
I’ve struggled with this for a long time. It started back at school when we were encouraged to give everything a go and were expected to compete with everyone around us. I wouldn’t dare ask a friend to help me with an assignment for fear of it being seen as ‘cheating’ and even asking the teacher for extra help was done at the risk of seeming like a ‘teachers pet.’
It continued after school finished…trying to do it all. University, working a few jobs, being at every social event, travelling…I was always pushing. And then one day I was forced to stop. I was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to depend on others to take care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself.
And while this experience taught me so much about natural health and the importance of treating our bodies with respect, I’m still learning. I think I came out of that experience more determined than ever to feel independent and not ever allow myself to be in a position where others had to take care of me. It felt so helpless.
So I’ve been building my business and brand for the last couple of years, with a new lease on life! Look out world, here I come! I know each day is a gift and I’m passionate about what I do and love my work.
Last year two girls reached out to offer to help with my training school, Shine From Within. It’s a holistic deportment and personal development school for teen girls so it requires a lot of event planning, content creation, marketing and building community connections, taking enquiries and of course actually running the courses and being there 100% for every beautiful student that walks through our doors. For so long I’ve tried to do all of this on my own.
I’m sure many of you will understand that feeling you can get when you are so busy and you know it would be amazing to have some help but thoughts pop in to your head like:
I’m too busy to train someone
They won’t be able to do it the way I want it done anyway
I can’t afford it
I don’t want to bother anyone or put someone else out
I can’t think about this right now because I’m so overwhelmed and just have to get this done!
Well that’s exactly how I felt. So I blew these girls off. I kindly said, “Thank you, it’s wonderful that you’d like to be a part of the team but there’s nothing for you right now.”
Thankfully, they persisted. They both chipped away over the next six months, while I continued to try to do everything on my own, while also building a house and doing my eco-advocacy work. I needed to take a break as I was getting run down. I’m quick to check in with myself these days and be gentle with myself when I need to, but I was still stuck in a space where I felt like only I could help myself. It was all on me.
Eventually I met with these two persistent girls and fell in love. They got me. They got what I was trying to do with Shine From Within. And they were happy to do whatever they could to be involved.
They’ve transformed my life.
The last course I ran, I paid for one of them to be there full-time to assist me for the week, along with a couple of volunteers and it allowed me to really enjoy the experience and be more present with the students. I wasn’t totally fried at the end of the week which has meant I could be more productive and keep the momentum going.
One of my past students also wanted to come along and help out as a volunteer. I was so grateful to have her there but I still felt a bit guilty I couldn’t pay her. As I drove her home one afternoon she must have sensed this and said to me, “Thank you. I don’t think you realise how much of a gift it is to be able to help in some way. People want to help. It feels good. Thank you for letting me.”
Wow. I was so consumed by how it made me feel to accept help I hadn’t even considered the gift it can be for the other person.
So ask for help. Ask your mum to help with something – she wants to feel needed. Pay someone to do that crappy thing you hate doing – you’ll be surprised at where the money will come from to support you. Accept that offer once in a while. Trust people’s good intentions and get out of your own way. The possibilities are endless and I’m only just starting to explore the growth and potential in my own business and life. I wish I had asked for help sooner.
About Amanda Rootsey
Amanda Rootsey is an ambassador for the College of Natural Beauty, an eco-model, health advocate and passionate educator. You can find her musings about living simply, eco-fashion, vegan food and natural beauty at www.amandarootsey.com.au.
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