We get caught up in an illusion that if we don’t do something ourselves then it won’t get done properly or that it won’t go how we want it to. For some of us we feel compelled to try and control everything because of a deep down fear that we’re not good enough. Our busy-ness consumes us like a jealous lover, demanding more and more from us, until we become progressively drained by all the ‘doing’ and isolated from the people and things in our lives that we actually care about the most.
This illusion of control can cause damage to ourselves and to others, harming our relationships with our friends and family and even our children. It can ruin our lives. Are you trying too hard to control your children and your role as a mother? Are you trying too hard to keep all the plates spinning and do everything yourself?
Participating in our lives fully often means letting go of the need to control things and allowing things to happen without being forced. Sometimes in order to do this we need to remind ourselves that some of the most wonderful experiences were so wonderful because things did not go as we wanted or expected them to.
To let go fully of our busyness and reduce the number of things for which we choose to be responsible for in our daily lives we need to ask for help. This help can come from those we are closest to, like our friends, partners and family members as well as those we work with and even from strangers.
As our society has started to move away from the close knit communities we used to live in many women, especially city dwelling folk can find themselves with very little or next to no locally based support. Joining parenting groups in your community or regional interest based groups can be a wonderful way of expanding your support network, even if just for exploring new ideas and inspiration.
Here are 7 Smart ways to start asking for help.
1. Start Small – Ask for help with something small that you would usually have struggled with on your own today. For example ask your partner to wash up after your evening meal this evening, ask a strong looking stranger on a bus to help you lift your buggy, pay for a taxi home from the station instead of forcing yourself to push the pram back home in the pouring rain. Remember changing things, even the smallest things, is worth it. You’re worth it. All the small things you ask for help with will combine to have a cumulative effect! And, they’ll empower you to ask for even bigger help….
2. Shift from Surviving to Thriving – If you notice yourself resenting other people who seem to achieve things with grace and ease, and find yourself getting caught up in the drama of your struggle (and everyone elses) take a step back, breathe and rescue yourself. Staying in the struggle only creates more struggle. When someone asks you “How are things going?” and you respond “Surviving!” – you are caught in your struggle. Step back from it and remind yourself that you are in charge of whether or not you struggle. You have a choice: Continue Surviving? OR Commit to Thriving!
3. Avoid Busy Women Attitude – When you’re just about to ask for help and a little voice in your head says “no one can do it better than you” or “in the time it takes to explain this to someone else I could do it myself” – take a deep breath and notice that you’re stepping back into the illusion of women who do too much. There are plenty people who can and will do things just as good as you. Ok, so the first time you explain things to them might feel like it’ll take you longer than it would to just do it yourself, but see that time as an investment because once you’ve shown them the ropes, they’ll not need you to explain it to them again.
4. Build Bigger – Once you’ve experience success at letting go of struggling with some of the little things, challenge yourself to gradually ask for more and more help. Keep building on the amount of help you reach out for, little by little, step by step.
Look at what you’ve got coming up in the next few days or weeks and find something that you are currently planning to organize or run all by yourself. It may be an evening dinner you’ve planned with friends, a weekend away with the family with activities for the children, or a task like clearing out your garage. Break the event or project down into chunks and think of creative ways that you could ask for help with different elements of it. For example asking your dinner guests to each bring a dish or accompaniment for the meal, hiring a cleaner to smarten up the house before your in-laws arrive, having your partner research child-friendly hotels for your weekend away.
5. Release the Jobs You Hate – There are certain things in our lives that we all dread and keep putting off, so much so that they never get done. The beauty is that what one person hates doing another person enjoys with passion! Release the jobs you hate by giving them to someone who can get them done for you. If it’s the cleaning you hate – hire a cleaner, if you loathe ironing – have it done by someone else. Hire a gardener, an accountant, someone to run your errands – whomever you need for whatever you hate.
You’ll experience more energy just knowing all those jobs that used to niggle and drain you are getting done. Plus you’re freeing up more time to do more of the things you love – including spending time with your children, without feeling stressed. This increased happiness will have a positive impact on everyone around you.
6. Wave Bye-Bye to Miss Perfect Pie – Allow yourself to lower the bar a little on all the things you do. Accept that it’s ok for things to be done ‘well-enough’ they don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time. You’ll find more enthusiasm and renewed energy for pursuing your passions and enjoying the things you love doing.
7. What would Oprah say to me right now? – If you get stuck imagine what your favourite heroine would say to you to encourage you to get help and keep getting help – someone like Oprah Winfrey or JK Rowling. Now there are two women who know they can’t do it all alone! They have teams of helpers behind them helping them to shine and touch the lives of millions of people.
About the Author
Jayne Morris, The POWER Coach, is Founder and Director of Power-Up Coaching. For more information see: www.jaynemorris.com