11 Chapters
Medium 9781576754511

Chapter 3: Why We Should Ask

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


A friend is someone who will help you move.
A real friend is someone who will help you move a body.

No wonder we don’t ask for help! We lack instruction, models, awareness, and even permission to ask. Our fears conspire to distract and confuse us, sometimes keeping us from fulfilling even basic needs. These same obstructions also keep us blind to forgotten rewards, benefits, and blessings that come when we ignore the fear and embrace help. The moment we decide to make a mayday call, we set into motion a creative energy that brings us into the realm of possibilities. Something new is brought into reality.

Sending out a mayday call, often the last step you want to take, is just as often the very first one you should consider. Nowhere is it written that you have to solve all of your problems by yourself. Do not buy into the lies told by the riptide fears of surrender, separation, and shame. The truth is that you are truly worthy of your requests for aid. You are cared for, you are not alone, and you are blessed. These are wonderful gifts in and of themselves. When we ask for help, even more wonderful things can happen. What follows are seven priceless gifts of love, flow, and simplicity that can be yours—if you only ask.

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Step 4: Ask!

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Know how to ask. There is nothing more difficult
for some people, nor for others, easier.
Baltasar Gracian

The applied virtues of self-compassion and faith are powerful emotional states that turn asking for help into a declaration of self-love and self-care. For some of you, this may be enough to get you out there asking for what you need. Others, however, might require a review of the basics, or the nuts and bolts, of transmitting effective mayday signals. This chapter presents the who, when, where, and how of making requests for help.

There is no way around it, asking for help demands that we actually ask for help. This time, making the ask, as salespeople often say, is going to be much easier. Self-compassion encourages you to ask for the help you deserve. Faith supports you as you make your mayday calls. Together, they relax and ground you physically and mentally. Your words and body reflect the belief that all will work out and that you are not alone. The suggestions that follow serve to create a supportive environment for your requests.

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Step 7: Say Thanks

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.
The Hausa of Nigeria

Congratulations! You’ve reached the final step in the Mayday! process! Look at all you’ve learned. You now understand the temporary power that fear has over you and the lies that it tells. You realize the importance of getting clear on what you need, and at the same time, you know it is equally important to be open to other suggestions. The magic embedded in the applied virtues of self-compassion, faith, and gratitude have seen you through. These “emotions on steroids” have changed your physical presence and your words, so your mayday calls become strong, with dignity and self-respect. Along the way, you picked up some practical tips on who, when, and how to ask. Listening differently, you have heard the hidden emotional messages underlying your helpmate’s response. The final step, of course, is to say thank-you.


Just as you learned to be clear in your requests for assistance, it’s equally important to be obvious in your gratitude. Say thank-you openly and loud enough so your partner can hear.

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Chapter 1: Why We Don't Ask

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same
level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Albert Einstein

Asking for help is a universally dreaded endeavor. We often choose instead to continue on alone, struggling valiantly and often unnecessarily with day-to-day burdens or even with crises, convinced that asking for help would exact an emotional price too high to bear. Nonetheless, in a world where people are living longer than ever before and may need ever more support over time, reliance on others has become increasingly necessary. It is time that the universal signal of mayday is sent.

No one is immune from need—not CEOs, not the cleaning staff, not store owners nor the store clerks. Grandparents, parents, and children all require a boost at some point. Team leaders and teammates, coaches and players, teachers and students, presidents and citizens all must, at some time, ask for aid.

Yet so many of us resist. One can’t help but wonder, if we all experience need, why it is so hard to ask for another’s help in satisfying that need. What parents wouldn’t want their child to come to them with a problem needing resolution? What loving spouse wouldn’t want to be called upon to support her partner? What leader would prefer to be kept in the dark if a team member needed help? There comes a time in everyone’s life where we can’t move forward unless we rely on others. The people who know and love us want us to ask. Yet we ignore our need. We pretend that we’ll get through on our own, and in the process, deny the frail reality of our humanity.

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Step 1: Name the Need

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


A man travels the world over
in search of what he needs
and returns home to find it.
George Moore

In 2005, disaster struck New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and battered the Crescent City until there was practically nothing left. Flooding forced people to their roofs where they signaled to passing helicopters. Day after day, thousands of people cried out: Help!

Months before Katrina, a tsunami hit Indonesia killing thousands. Entire communities were destroyed. More than 212,000 people were swept away or killed by debris. Homes gone, infrastructure gone, and thousands of families torn apart.

Clearly, the victims of these catastrophes experienced grave fear, fear for their lives and for the lives of their loved ones. It’s not difficult to guess the immediate needs of the residents of New Orleans and Indonesia. None of us even needed to see the horrendous scenes on television, we knew instinctively what was required to help those poor souls: water, food, safety, and housing.


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