Accepting help from others is difficult for many people. Myself included. If you are like me, you pride yourself on being, for the most part, self-sufficient and independent. An army of one. But this pride may be the very thing that is keeping you from achieving your wildest dreams.
As author and creativity coach Barbara Sher likes to say, “Isolation is the dream killer.”
The truth is very few great achievements in history were made by lone individuals. We tend to think of great pioneers like Thomas Edison sitting alone in a workshop burning the midnight oil as they tinker away. But in reality, Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory was a bustling workshop filled with a team of experts and craftsman. He surrounded himself with people who could help bring his ideas to life.
The same goes for Ford, Gates, Jobs. Also true for Michael Jordan—he had a team. Tiger Woods has his coach and caddy. As much as we think we are accomplishing things on our own, the truth is we rarely are. And if you are a perfectionist (me again), it can be even harder to even admit, let alone accept, we need help.
But we do. Every one of us.
The key is to accept help graciously. But not for the reason you might think. Yes, it is courteous to be cordial and thankful. However, when we deny another person the opportunity to give, we cheat them. We cheat them both temporally and spiritually. We literally rob from them the good karma that is their due. And by robbing them, we rob ourselves.
In every exchange in life there is a giver and a receiver. Sometimes we are the giver. Sometimes we are the receiver. One cannot exist without the other. If I choose not to give, then I rob you of your chance to receive. If you choose not to receive, you rob me of my opportunity to give. And we both lose.
So the next time someone offers to help, do yourself and them a favor. Say yes.
To your good fortune!