One of the hardest things for me to do is to admit that I can’t do something. “I can’t” is an ugly phrase that can forever hold you back. But sometimes, admitting you can’t do something is the only way to ensure you can.
It’s true that the keys to your own success are in your hands – you are in the drivers seat and you ultimately have the final say in any decision that you make. If you feel like you can’t control anything else, you can always control the choices you make.
But sometimes, your car will stall, you’ll get lost along the way without a map to point you in the right direction…
As silly as it sounds, it took me a while to realize that I couldn’t do it all – that I wasn’t invincible.
For me it was about a year ago when I moved to Chicago. When I left everything in Nashville and moved 500 miles away with no job, $2,000 to my name, and bills that didn’t stop coming. I had to turn to my in-laws for help. Of course they were gracious and welcomed me into their home with open arms while I worked on getting settled into my life in Chicago, but I couldn’t help but feel defeated.
I kept telling myself “If only I had planned better”. “If only I had saved more money”. I had somehow convinced myself that I didn’t deserve help, that I could have planned things out differently, sucked it up, and gone without the help.
And maybe it could have – but accepting that reached out hand, relying (temporarily) on the faith and support from another helped me (in more than words can express) to become the man I am today. I’m forever grateful for all of those people who have been there telling me “I can” when I’ve told myself “I can’t”.
We constantly tell ourselves that we don’t deserve help – but we often forget that there are people in our lives who love us, care about us, and believe in us that will gladly help when we’re in need (or even when we’re not). Admitting you can’t do something and being willing to accept the help of others is how we learn, it’s how we grow, it’s that selfless compassion that defines us as human beings.
All of these thoughts were sparked by a recent blog post written by Kristin Tennant titled “Viewing ‘Help’ as a Four Letter Word“. Kristin has this to say about the idea of “helping”:
…What is it about asking for help? Or maybe asking for help isn’t necessarily my problem, as much as allowing myself to think I deserve help. Notice that in my tweet, I didn’t say “I didn’t want to burden anyone.” I said I “thought I should suck it up.” I set these mysterious standards for myself—who knows where they come from—and then hold myself to them, no matter what reality I’m facing in my life, or what sensation is welling up inside me….”
Pride is something that will get you far, and get in your way, if you let it. Pride and confidence breed success, but too much pride leads to arrogance, narrow-mindedness, and an unwillingness to learn. It can completely cloud your judgement. It’s a delicate balance, to be sure.
I’ve learned now, especially since starting my own business, that you MUST be honest with both yourself and others in what you can and cannot do. And you MUST welcome learning with open arms. When you can’t do something, own it, be OK with it. Instead of accepting defeat, work to build a network of people who CAN do what you CANNOT. Just as you can learn from them, they can undoubtedly learn from you.
The smartest people out there are those who realize that there are others smarter than them.
If you think you’re at the top, if you’re telling yourself that you’ve peaked and you’ve made it. The world is going to be an extremely lonely and isolating place. If you’re shutting yourself off to the idea of learning, you’re not getting the most out of living.
Today, I implore you to go learn something new. Even better, go lend a hand and a bit of your knowledge to someone who can learn from YOU. Just remember, if it wasn’t for the help and support of others, you probably wouldn’t be where you are today…