Tag Archives: help

asking for help

No, I’m not asking you for help. Not now. I don’t think.

I realized today (again) that there is a big gap in my behavior between having the great creative idea and making it happen, between creativity and creation.


Let me tell you what happened.

Our pastor is doing a series of messages about marriage. In particular, he’s talking about ways to shatterproof your marriage.As we talked about images to illustrate a couple, we looked at lots of pictures and decided to use the generic man and woman that show up everywhere. It’s a great, simple, flexible concept.

The next piece of thinking was to decide to put 8-foot versions of the people on the wall in the gymnasium we use. Because the first message is about communication, we decided to have the couple each talking on a cell phone.

It’s a simple process: use an overhead projector, trace the figures on bulletin board paper, cut them out, fasten them to black plastic, hang them on the wall.

It’s simple but I got stuck.

For two days I’ve had the pieces and the supplies and the item on my list, but I just couldn’t get moving. Until today when Kim volunteered to help.

I almost told her no. Then I realized that I could describe what I needed and she could work on it. She traced and cut and we pinned and I hung them on the wall. We were done by the middle of the afternoon, each of us doing bits of the project.

As I was 20 feet in the air using a lift, I realized that I was stuck at the point of making the imagined tangible. There was something huge about taking the small step of tracing a figure on a paper. And I realized that I often get stuck there, stuck because I can’t ask for help.

In the interest of doing it myself, of not imposing, of being the creative one, I keep people who know how to do stuff from doing stuff. I waste energy on procrastination, on list making, on telling myself I had to get busy. Meanwhile, Kim had the time, the ability, the creativity, the helpfulness. If I had asked, she would have helped a day ago.

But then I wouldn’t have been able to write about my inability to ask for help. And you wouldn’t have been saved the lesson.


Serving the Best

I “had” to get coffee on the way to a full day of meetings. None of my usual spots were on the route. I wasn’t sure about the coffee at the venue. What to do.

I remembered that one food place had added new coffee to their menu. I turned in, drove through, and moved on, coffee in hand.

As I sat in the first session, I began to read the coffee cup. It’s a habit formed at the breakfast table long ago, when cereal boxes gave my eyes something to do. (The habit of reading everything may explain how I can move through my feed-reader so quickly, and why reflective reading is so hard for me these days).

As I stared at the sleeve, I realized it was talking to me, or about me at least.

“Serving the Best.”

I felt pretty good. Here was a coffee company, protecting my hand from being burned AND evaluating me and deciding I was among the Best. I’m not sure what the criteria were. I’m not sure I care. I’m just grateful that they wanted to encourage me.

I’m working on that kind of encouragement myself these days. Not the indiscriminate kind like Seattle’s Best does. I’m trying to figure out how to specifically encourage people. What is good about what they do? How in particular do they excel? What was it about their presentation that rocked, exactly?

Those specifics can help people improve. The details allow for additional polishing. The insights into how the ideas or presentation or conversation worked its way into your head or heart or soul can make the person ever more effective in the future.

I felt better this morning as I was able to twist the advertising into a compliment. I’ll feel even better tomorrow morning as I help at least one person figure out what exactly they are doing right.

Make sense?

write for your life

There are times that it feels like everything in a week is rushing straight at you. The view through your screen, you think, is more than you can bear.

Often, at these times, my response is to withdraw, to stop talking. My wife, my parents, my siblings, my cousins, my friends, my coworkers can all attest to my tendency to go inside when faced with onrushing traffic.

I might not be right.

It’s entirely possible that the thing to do when in this situation is to actually talk to others. It may be wise to ask for help, to acknowledge fallibility, to accept the possibility that everyone else already knows that you are human. And is okay with that fact.

Then, maybe, they can help you understand that you aren’t really in the middle of traffic. You are a story (and 15 feet) above it .

Write Right?