It is categorically not a sign of weakness to ask for help, asking does not make us high maintenance, weak or incompetent – but real, a true human being! Stiff upper lip, don’t show emotion, bottle it all up is nonsense and so out of date, my parents refused to ask for help because they didn’t want to be a burden, we all need help at different times. We are not Neanderthals, we are intelligent, educated and gifted there will be times when we need more help than others and by contrast there will be many times when we provide help for others and help them along the way. That’s called community, good citizenship and paying it forward!
Kevin Spacey is regularly quoted with saying – ‘If you’ve done well, it’s your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.’ No sports person in transition will begrudge helping others because they have had help during their career, its human nature to help – we all know this, so get on with asking and they will help, and remember when you make it, send the elevator back down!
When I typed into Dr Google a request for the meaning of an anagram for the word HELP I received a raft of random noise, from Harlem Eastside Lifesaving Programme, Heavy-Vehicle Electronic License Plate through to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. None of which really provided any insight for me – however having read several, the anagram HANDBOOK for EFFECTIVE LIFE PLANNING stood out. This is not an attempt to be profound for the sake of it, but a genuine question as to what can we take from the word HELP that will make it less scary, avoidable or more natural to seek.
For many I believe HELP is something that throughout our childhood and into adulthood, we are conditioned not to ask for. Some will disagree with this, however let me share further. Things that are said to us by influential people in our lives, such as parents, peers and coaches stop us showing vulnerability and asking for help. Consider these phrases: ”Just get on with it” or “Man up” or “Shut up moaning and get on with it” or ”Grow a pair” or ”It’s time to stand on your own two feet” or ”You’re on your own”.
Not very helpful! Hardly inspiring comments. Sometimes we just need a little help to reach our potential, determination to do it all on our own can only take us so far. When we need help and we hear these ‘negative sounding’ words in isolation we can feel very much alone and asking for help would be seen as a further act of weakness. It’s not! What’s the worst that can happen?
Some of this might sound very pushy and almost degrading, especially if these are used when talking to a young person. Reality check – I’ve used these myself when talking to my own children and I’m educated in the world of player welfare. Each one of these comments and many many more are used daily by sports people competing at all levels, during their journey to high performance and the elite or just social weekend sports. Is it any surprise then that we fail to ask for help?
If we are taught that HELP is the ‘handbook for effective life planning’ then surely we can make many areas of life easier to control and become supported. Growth and Resilience In Transition is such a difficult balancing act but having help from those around us and those we seek out will absolutely reduce the exposure to isolation and all the challenges that are included here.
Everyone will have different requirements for help – from asking about mortgage advice, juggling finances through to sponsorship endorsements and business partners – no one person has all the answers. Gone are the days when our parents and grandparents trusted the bank manager with every question and that person would ‘fix’ or ‘support’ their every challenge. Who is in your team to ask for HELP – your Handbook for Effective Life Planning.
If you need HELP then ask, if you are not sure then the chances are that you need some and of course if you are strong, on top and in full working order send the elevator back down!