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« Share the Load | Enlisting Help Isn't Cheating »
Sunday
Aug082010

Giving & Receiving Help

Fortunately for us, we have the ability to perform multiple roles. When it comes to “help,” sometimes we are on the giving and other times on the receiving end. In my book, The Other Side of Organized, chapter eight is about enlisting help. Why did I choose to write an entire chapter on this topic? Many individuals are challenged by the organizing piece in their lives. Along with that struggle, they feel uncomfortable asking for help. Through writing, I hope to alleviate some of that conflict by reframing how we think about it.

At first glance, as a parent, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, solopreneur, professional organizer and author, I more often view myself in the giving rather than receiving role when it comes to help. But as I examine this more closely, I realize that every time I am the giver of help, in return I receive help in the form of growth, understanding, satisfaction and more.  When I actively enlist help, I get the benefit of another person’s focus, expertise and compassion to assist me in an area I struggle with. When looked at this way, help becomes a two-way street. In the best cases, both parties benefit from the exchange.

You might be organizationally challenged to the degree that it’s having a negative impact on your daily life, your relationships or your job. You feel frustrated because you’ve tried to get organized on your own many times, but are dissatisfied and unsuccessful with your efforts. Perhaps this has been a long-term challenge of months, years or decades. By reaching out for the right type of help from a professional, family member or friend, you will not only be receiving assistance, but you will most likely be helping the other person in exchange. The helper in return may become more compassionate, creative, motivated and inspired. Who knew that asking for help was actually a gift to the other person?

As the summer is nearing its end, much of my time has shifted to helping our youngest daughter organize and prepare for going off to college. We’ve been going through all of her belongings and memorabilia to decide what stays home, gets released or goes with her to school. I am most definitely helping her to organize. But in the process of going through the 18 years of school work, photos, essays, cards, clothes, games, books and more, Cassie is most definitely helping me to prepare for this next phase of my life. She’s giving me the chance to relive some wonderful memories of her growing up, laugh a lot about things I’d forgotten, shed a few tears, enjoy seeing how much she’s grown and assist her mom through this transition.

So, in helping her, my girl is helping me. It’s a beautiful two-way street.

I’d love to hear about your giving and receiving experiences!

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Reader Comments (9)

How wise! How lovely! What a gift to both mother and daughter!

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoris Simon

I have recently had to move all my belongings into storage, or get rid of them , or move them overseas. It has been an amazing and monumental experience/task. During the process, like you, my family and I shared laughs and tears over memories stretching back some 25 years, or more. It was interesting to discover what had been saved and challenging to consider what should be saved for the next 25 or so years, It was wonderful to have my family help me make those difficult decisions. I think it would have been more overwhelming if I had to do it alone and we helped each other with checks and balance about important mementos.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMM

Thank you for sharing your comments.

Doris- there's nothing like the mother/daughter relationship. I treasure being lucky enough to be in both roles with having two amazing daughters and one awesome mother.

MM-What an incredible time you're in. To go through 25 years worth of life, stuff and memories is monumental. It's wonderful that you found the support and camaraderie with your family to both decide what's meaningful to keep, what's items are to let go and enjoy relishing in the shared memories. Wishing you much joy and success in the next part of your journey!

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

How true! The give and take of life boils down to balance and doesn't the sense of balance help us live a saner, happier life?

Speaking of happy, what a magical time to experience in your family’s life! I congratulate you as well as your daughter; well deserved, and I wish you both continued success in your journey.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacy Lytwyn Maxwell

You said it, Stacy! I know you are very aware of finding balance in the best places. I always enjoy your wonderful blog, Backyard Therapy - http://backyardtherapy.wordpress.com/. You always have interesting & inspiring ideas to share. Keep writing!

Thank you for your good wishes.

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love how you explain the process of preparing for college and how your daughter is helping you through the next transition. I just can't imagine having to throw away all of that history! Best of luck to both of you on this next stage of your exciting journeys!

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaNiC MoMMy

Thanks for your lovely words, Manic Mommy! It is interesting how my daughter and I are helping each prepare for this next stage. Not to worry....all history wasn't thrown away. We kept just enough to have a wonderful record of her life so far.

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm a big fan of reaching out to others for help, even within our own professions. When I was an organizer, I brought in a new organizer to help me organize my files. It gave her some hands-on experience and allowed me to get the job done much more quickly.

Currently, I value my relationships with my colleagues in my local virtual assistants group. We help one another to brainstorm ideas and to deal with the various challenges that we all encounter from time to time.

When I started my business, I thought I had to figure everything out and do it all myself. What a waste of time and energy that was! If I'd only known then what I know now...

June 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- Lessons learned, right? That need for control and having to do everything ourselves isn't so great, is it? I'm still amazed what transpires when I do reach out for help. As you said, it's not just about relieving some of the stress. The benefits are great too like brainstorming ideas or having another pair of hands to make the work go more quickly. And perhaps the biggest ah-ha..doing it all ourselves is a "waste of time and energy." You're so wise. Thank you for sharing.

June 13, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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