I am not one to ask for help. In the past, when we, my family and I, have opened other businesses, I didn’t need to ask (okay, I probably should have then but now, I am so much more enlightened) but this is entirely different. When I was in my twenties, I was attacked and almost killed by a stranger. Along with the obvious discoveries that are made after an event like that, I discovered that I actually had a limited amount of energy (this was a revelation as up until then I believed it to be bottomless). The experience depleted me for a long time and I recognized how much time and energy I had wasted on people, ideas, and things that were truly unimportant. I needed to not only ration what I gave out but I had to ask for help with the simplest of things. It was both humbling and enlightening. I couldn’t waste my energy. I needed to keep my focus on what was truly important in that moment. I am in a much happier situation now, but the experience is similar in the sense that I am truly depleted by all that is going on. Even good stuff can take it out of you! Even though it is good, it is difficult. We as a family are truly giving this venture all that we have, financially, energetically, and emotionally. We have had many conversations regarding this. Should we do this? Is this what we want? And the answer has been a resounding yes. That said, I have had to ask for help with so many things and you know what? It feels great.
The Needy Incompetent Person in my Head
When I imagine asking for help, the image of the needy incompetent me comes to mind. I have to fight that urge to say, “no, I can do this by myself.”. The truth is, no one can really do it all on their own. Rather than being put out by being asked, people have said that it makes them feel special, included, important, and recognized. They feel more part of this project and therefore have a sense of ownership and pride. This is not just my studio but theirs too.
Another down side of doing it all myself is that I am then, perennially, expected to do it BY myself.
I don’t want to be the only person responsible. I want other people to not only feel capable, but BE capable. Besides, this is way bigger than anything I have ever done. It almost feels like a living being; organic, expanding and hungry! (Hope it likes vegan food.) No way I could do this alone even if I wanted to.
We all don’t need help with the same things but we all need help with something. Back when I was so depleted, I remember thinking I needed to be careful how I spend my energy because it is not endless. Now, when I contemplate how much energy I have for a particular project/person, I ask myself, will there be enough left for the project/people who I love? If no is the answer, then I don’t take it on. My family is my number one priority. If I don’t have enough for them then I am doing something very wrong.
Disclaimer: While reading back this post, I realize that I am not actually asking for help but accepting it when it is offered. I guess I am still a work in progress and still someone who hates asking for anything. That said, I will at least promise to accept all help that is offered if needed. How do I know whether it is needed? Usually, because Karen or Steven tells me. Karen asks folks for help and I say, yes please. Steven tells me all of the things that I need to focus on and all of the things that I don’t. (Ode to Karen and Steven will follow.) Suffice it to say that I have two very strong, loving and talented people who have my back and have unsurpassed talents, patience and energy. I am realizing, as I write, that even though depleted of energy, I am filled with hope and gratitude.