The week before final exams my freshman year in college, my healthy, 44-year-old dad had a massive heart attack. I was devastated. But what saddens me as I look back on that rough time, is that I didn’t reach out for support. Other than sharing the news with one close friend, I kept my feelings to myself, armored up my tender heart and marched straight into my exams. I think I failed all but one of my tests. I often wish I could go back and tell my young 18-year-old self: “It’s ok, you don’t have to always hold it together. Learning to ask for help is a strength and an asset.” As the oldest of seven in a hyper-independent, achievement-oriented family, I had to work hard to cultivate this skill.
Over the last 20+ years in working with organizations, teams and professionals around work-life balance, I’ve observed that people who are comfortable asking for and receiving help—whether that’s from a coach, a therapist, a mentor, professional organization, business partner, neighbor, friend or colleague—experience greater success and feel more connected and confident in all areas of their lives. Having a support system can have a huge impact on how you experience day-to-day life.
Research shows that individuals who have robust support systems:
- are more effective at work and at home (they feel as if they have a “team” behind them and that they’re not all alone)
- weather personal and professional challenges more easily and are less likely to feel overwhelmed and are better at maintaining perspective
- stay healthier on all levels and keep resolutions—particularly those involving mental and physical well-being
- are less likely to feel isolated (isolation can lead to feelings of despair and failure) and experience less stress and burnout
- have children who are comfortable asking for and receiving support and help from others
Learning to get comfortable asking for and receiving help takes serious practice. Even though it’s difficult for most of us, it’s in our nature to give and receive help. We are meant to experience community and connection, to lean on and into each other, not just when things get tough—but every day!
In the chapter on Building a Support Network from my last book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, I share a powerful exercise guiding you through how to build your own personal and professional support network. Here’s an excerpt from that chapter.
Building a Support System: A Guided Exercise ~ Close your eyes for a minute and place one hand over the center of your chest. Take a deep breath. Observe with curiosity and compassion whatever “asking for help” stirs up for you. When you’re ready, take out a notebook/pen and answer the following:
- What would it look like to take the first steps toward allowing support into my life? Where do I most need help?
- How would it feel to be more supported—personally and professionally—in all areas of my life?
- How might my key relationships shift if I began to ask for and receive more support?
I challenge you this week to step out of your comfort zone and ask for help. Having a support system makes all the difference in how you experience the journey!
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? CHECK OUT THESE UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES:
- Best Year of Your Life Summit Jan. 12-21 (register today–it’s FREE!). I’m thrilled to speak at this year’s Best Year of Your Life Summit January 12-21. I’ll be joined by speakers Dr. Dan Siegel, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Dr. Kristen Neff and 30 more in an event designed to help you kickstart your New Year. Click here to register for free!
- **Available for a limited time as a download.** SOVEREIGNTY: A Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat A luscious, replenishing afternoon guided retreat experience with like-minded women. Poetry + singing + journaling + nature + connection + solo time + self-care resources + Yoga Nidra deep relaxation session. Step in to your personal power and sovereignty. Only $59 for the download.Learn more.
- Awakening Your Wild Soul 2022 Women’s Retreats ~ Join me at 1440 Multiversity (CA) Feb. 4-6, Art of Living Retreat Center (NC) May 6-8, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (MA) Oct. 14-16. Save your spot now; they’re almost sold-out. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by nationally-recognized mindfulness coach/speaker and self-care author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her pioneering work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. Renee lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where she just launched Wild Souls Nature Adventures. Originally from Austin, TX, she and her husband are enjoying a new empty nest. More on Renee here.