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.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754511

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.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754511

Step 2: Give Yourself a Break

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The Dalai Lama

The Mayday! process has begun. At this point, you see the gap between what you have and what you need. You might even feel this disparity acutely. You have an idea of how the need could be met but have decided to remain open to other options. There is a strong possibility that fear still holds you back from obtaining the gifts of flow and connection that come from asking for help. It’s as though fear jams your personal frequencies, stopping you from making any kind of mayday call. Now is the time to take another deep breath and to move on to Step 2.

It is damn difficult living life in this day and age. We face complexities and challenges that our ancestors couldn’t even begin to imagine. We are inundated with messages about how we should be, what we should buy, which groups we should belong to. Our minds are rarely at peace. We think constantly. We schedule our days, jamming them with more than we could ever possibly accomplish in twenty-four hours. Our bodies work overtime trying to squeeze “it” all in. And, to complicate matters, we have others to consider, too. We work to make sure they are provided with all they need. We involve our loved ones in almost all our major decisions. And through it all, there is very little room for us. When do we get a little “me” time? Who cares for the caregiver? Step 2 is all about breaking away from our relentless focus on everything and everyone else. To send out our mayday signals, we need to believe it is permissible to ask for help. That’s where the applied virtue of compassion comes into play.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754511

Step 6: Listen Differently

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


There was a definite process by which one made
people into friends, and it involved talking to them
and listening to them for hours at a time.
Dame Rebecca West

You’ve prepared, you’ve empowered yourself, and you’ve voiced your mayday call. Supported by self-compassion, faith, and gratitude, all you can do now is listen.

The two anchoring principles of the Mayday! process both deal with emotions. The first is that emotions drive action and language. The second is that powerful emotional states are required to overcome our fear of asking for help. It’s not a surprise then, that listening differently requires us to attend to the hidden emotional messages being conveyed. Step 6 is no longer about you and your needs. This step requires you to focus on your helpmate.


Consider what you do when you direct your mayday call to a specific individual. You ask him to step into your life and give of his talents and skills to make your existence better. If he agrees, your helpmate sacrifices something, even if it is just energy, to meet your need. The very least you can do is to listen to, and not just hear, what he has to say.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754511

Chapter 4: Anchoring Yourself

Klaver, M. Nora Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Great necessities call out great virtues.
Abigail Adams

Amy loved her father dearly. Aron had always been her greatest supporter, cheering her on when she ran for class president and comforting her after her divorce. He had been both mother and father to her ever since Amy’s mother passed away decades before. And now, Amy had the chance to repay him (as if that’s even possible) for all his kindness, generosity, and love. Aron had Alzheimer’s disease and Amy was his caregiver.

At first it had been painful to watch the man she most admired disappear into the illness. She secretly wept when she had to remind him what spackle was and how to use it. “He had practically built the family house with his own two hands and now he couldn’t remember spackle.” She cried. There were also frustrating times when Aron forgot to meet her as planned or became lost along the way. Most difficult of all was watching her father shrink before her eyes. The disease had made him small and frail.

A day nurse was hired to care for him while she was at work, and at night, Amy would return home to fix and feed him dinner. Afterward, she would help him to his chair. Once he was comfortable, she’d put on some music. If Aron was in a quiet mood, she might be able to do a little reading. But if he was talkative, she would listen to him as he relived a memory from his past. Sometimes, he would ask Amy where her mother was. The first few times he did this, she would gently remind him that his wife had passed many years before. It would upset him to hear, all over again, that she was gone. Eventually, Amy learned to just say that her mother had gone out to do some shopping. Aron would be satisfied with this and within a few moments would have forgotten all about his question.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters