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, a 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, 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:
- April 26-28th Awakening Your Wild Soul: A Women’s Self-Care Retreat ~ Join me for a spring re-set: deep to-the-bones rest, divine natural foods cuisine, healing bodywork and replenishing restorative yoga and more. This is your ultimate self-care retreat. Join me for Awakening Your Wild Soul: A Women’s Self-Care Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (Berkshire Mountains, MA). Packages start at just $ 635 for this empowering and deeply supportive weekend. Learn more/register.
- *Available for a limited time* ~ Still, Dark & Quiet: A Deep Rest Virtual Retreat ~ Winter is here. You’re invited to slow down, go inward and relax in silence. Enjoy this 2.5-hour meditative virtual retreat 24/7 from the comfort of your home. Includes a long Yoga Nidra session. Learn more/download today. Only $49
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings are listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Sunday, Jan. 28 from 9:30-11 a.m. for Wild Souls Authentic Movement class near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. 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. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.