Do you know the tools you have? More importantly do you use those tools wisely?
We have a saying in our house, “all it took was the $50 magic button!” We usually say this after working tirelessly to figure something out and it was some ridiculously simple solution. The saying came about after, for almost an entire day, I resisted calling a computer company to fix a new tower that wouldn’t come on. I resisted because I knew I could figure it out with what I already knew how to do inside a tower. I wasn’t going to pay this ‘little ball of fruit’ company a $50 service fee because our 90 days were up.
Well long story short, I ended up on tech support, paid the fee, and as soon as I explained the problem the tech says, “Okay, see that tiny little button on the motherboard next to the battery.”
Tech, “take a ball point pen and push it down until the power sound is heard.”
Like magic, the power returned, the tower booted up, and after hours of fighting with this machine, all it took was $50, a magic button, and I was DONE.
Moral of the story, sometimes it pays to have someone else tell you where the magic button is.
We’ve all been there, a ridiculously simple solution was at our fingertips, we couldn’t reach it, but all we had to do was ask.
Why Do We Avoid Using Tools?
So what is it in us that would rather suffer through the struggle alone? Why do we resist asking for help? Of course, we all have the desire to figure it out. Of course, we all want the glory of getting it done all on our own. However, there in-lies the exact issue. Ego! Ego says, “I can figure it out on my own.” Ego says, “no one can do it right but me.” Ego says, “I don’t need any help.” In case you didn’t know it yet, ego driven thought gets you nowhere fast.
Know When You Need Help:
“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”
~Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Do some soul searching, learn where you need help, and admit where your weaknesses are. Evaluate your strengths; know exactly what you are capable of doing, and how much your time is worth. Look for the weaknesses where you may need to hire someone, or maybe you need to go ahead and call it in to get that “magic button” answer. Organize your strengths and weaknesses so you know when it will be of more value to your time and energy to get someone else to take on whatever it is.
Know Who or What Your Tools Are:
“The intentions of a tool are what it does. A hammer intends to strike, a vise intends to hold fast, a lever intends to lift. They are what it is made for. But sometimes a tool may have other uses that you don’t know. Sometimes in doing what you intend, you also do what the knife intends, without knowing.”
~Philip Pullman, Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass
If you know a coach, a counselor, a mentor, a preacher, a gardener, a chef, a personal trainer, or whomever you see as someone who can help you, learn who they are and keep them handy. Google doesn’t have an answer for everything. Also, your need may not come in the form of a person, it might be an actual tool or magic button. As your neighbor, or your cousin, or your sister, I understand I might not be the right coach for you as it might be personal or private. Guess what? I know other professionals. I have a team, a network, and a Rolodex. I have systematically collected these folks in my private toolbox to help you find what you need.
Remember not everyone is an expert on everything, which includes you and the internet.
This may seem ridiculous at this point but you must ask for tools or help. If you never ask then you set yourself up for more stress.
I have always loved this Chinese proverb, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” It speaks volumes about respecting the knowledge and experience of those around you. It requires one thing from you; you must lay down your ego for a moment and ask.
You don’t always have to take the advice, information, or knowledge that has been given to you when you ask for help, but respect the individual that gave it to you. Forms of respect include, gratitude, reciprocation, proper credit, or implementation is always awesome in showing you took to heart what was offered to you. If you need a professional, show your respect by offering prompt payment (if necessary), refer others, and of course come back for more.
These forms of respect let the person who has come to your rescue know they are of value to you and that they hold a place of honor in your toolbox. Paying the $50 fee for the magic button might be the best and easiest solution to your issue, even when you have to admit you just cannot do it. If you consider someone an expert, even if it is your great-aunt June, treat her like an expert.
In closing, recognize your weaknesses and know when to ask for help. Find the right people and ask for that help. Respect the right people and their knowledge. I know that it might feel embarrassing to ask for help but if you are an accountant trying to rewire your house on your own, and you blow up your house trying…that’s worse than just admitting you needed help.