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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Green Help For You | Top 5 Enlisting Help Quotes »

Ask the Expert: Cameron Gott

Our popular “Ask the Expert” interview series connects you with dynamic thought leaders. This year we’ve spoken with Dr. Thomas Armstrong about motivation, Harold Taylor about time management, Erin Rooney Doland about clutter, Francine Jay about letting go, Todd Henry about next steps, Dr. Debbie Grove about change, and Joshua Becker about fresh starts. For August, I’m thrilled to have with us coach and trainer, Cameron Gott to share his insights about enlisting help.

My wonderful friend and mentor, Denslow Brown introduced me to Cam many years ago. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of not only hearing Cam speak about coaching and ADHD, but also trained with him directly through Coach Approach for Organizers. I love our conversations whether they are in person, over the phone, or through our social media channels. He’s insightful, interesting, and always offers a unique perspective. Before we begin the interview, here’s more about him.

Cameron Gott is a champion of Global Creatives who helps smart people with ADHD get the stuff done that really matters. He also trains and mentors coaches, and blogs about thriving as a Global Creative. With Denslow Brown and Andrea Sharb, Cam develops and delivers high quality coach training and certification uniquely tailored for professional organizers through Coach Approach for Organizers. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blog or website.


Linda SamuelsYour life’s work is about coaching others to take action on what really matters. What prompts your clients to reach out for help?

Cameron Gott:  Clients seek coaching support when they see a real need for change - That what was working no longer works. For my clients it is a desire to have a different daily work experience than just addressing the most urgent matters on their lists.


Linda:  What are some of the challenges we might encounter when we enlist help?

Cam:  Ourselves, namely a fixed mindset powered by dusty old beliefs that no longer serve us like, “To be successful I have to do this by myself!” or “I’m too messed up to be helped!” or “I shouldn’t need help!” These old, fixed beliefs can convince us that enlisting help equals giving up, which in turn equals failure. We don’t want to be perceived as weak so we don’t ask for help. It’s a vicious cycle. False beliefs about ‘going it alone’ can become even more amplified when we think about our biggest dreams.


Linda:  What is the “Lone Ranger” approach and how does it sabotage success?

Cam:  Americans can have a romantic idea about how success looks. It’s based on the image of the lone cowboy, independent and self reliant who rides in to save the day.  Success stories in business magnify this storyline of grit, determination and self-reliance.  These are not bad qualities but don’t be fooled. In this day and age of  connectivity and specialty, success comes through these qualities but also collaboration, communication, strategic support and what Stephen Covey refers to as valueing differences. When we embrace the ‘go it alone/Lone Ranger’ mindset and focus only on the our pre-conceived notion of success, we shut ourselves off from incredible resources and offers of help along the journey.


Linda:  What has been your biggest personal enlisting help challenge?

Cam:  Learning about and living with my own unique brain wiring. Diagnosed with ADD at age 28, I had to overcome a lot of shame to reach out for help. I also had to get clear on what I actually needed help with! I am still learning at age 49 about my strengths, sensitivities and challenges. What’s shifted is how I view enlisting help. Before I viewed it from a ‘helpless’ perspective. Now I view enlisting help from a curious/learning perspective, which is very different, very empowering. This approach to enlisting help is a central theme when working with my ADHD clients.


Linda:  What is your most surprising discovery about enlisting help?

Cam:  When we open ourselves to help amazing people come forward and amazing things happen.  Some of my richest connections first started out as a request for help.


Linda:  Is there anything you’d like to add about enlisting help?

Cam:  Enlisting help is good boundaries practice and management. Be aware, stay engaged and pay attention to your limits. Be open and vulnerable but also be specific with ‘the ask.’ Don’t hand it off completely. Stay informed and stay present. Research your help needs before you ask for help. Help doesn’t mean giving up responsibility or ultimate control. Create mutual agreements with help partners defining roles and expectations with clear end points. When it comes to enlisting coaching help interview more than one coach and be curious about whose agenda they will champion, theirs or yours.


Thank you, Cam for being here with us. Where to begin? There are so many gems that resonate with me like “dusty old beliefs that no longer serve us.” How often do we get in our own way by holding on to ideas that aren’t productive? Guilty as charged! Your “Lone Ranger” idea also strikes a chord with me. How often do we shut ourselves off from potential resources and help because we think we have to do it all alone? Did you write that for me? I’ve learned over time how to reach out for help, collaborate, and let go of the “going it alone” idea. Then there’s your idea about getting clear with what help you really need and the growth and learning that follows. While I could go on and on, I’ll stop here because I’d love to hear from others.

Join Cam and me as we continue the conversation. What are some enlisting help challenges or successes have you experienced? What are your thoughts?

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Reader Comments (19)

What a great piece!
Thank you both for provoking so many thoughts!
Ah, the Lone Ranger. I knew that story once!
As a single mom, and business owner, I had to ask for help. Specifically with the care of my small child. Boy was that hard, awkward, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. Relinquishing that "control". The thought even scared me. I really had to swallow my "pride". Fast forward, we now have the best nanny ever, and she and I are a team. Enlisting help saved my life!

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Seavey

I declare myself, guilty as charged too!!!
Misunderstood pride, decadent ideas and a distorted sense of self-sufficiency led me in several occasions to do or try to do hard things without asking for help. Life is wise and every single time, showed me my weakness and taught me that looking for help is a necessity because we can do a lot of things but we can't do everything.
Now I try to stay humble and ask for a hand when mines aren't strong enough. It was not easy but it's the right thing to do.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I agree with Rachel - this is a very thought provoking interview. I can also relate to the Lone Ranger attitude and the idea that asking for help is an admission of failure or defeat. Thank you for this interview, Linda.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Linda, Great to read about my friend and colleague here! Cam, I really appreciate you reminding us about how we get in our own way of asking for help when we carry around a "fixed mindset powered by dusty old beliefs that no longer serve us." Mindset is so important to creating lasting change and is a great starting point when we consider approaching something from a new perspective, like when we choose to ask for help. I asked a client just yesterday, "What mindset will be most supportive to you in this situation?" I can see that question being just as important when enlisting help.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

I greatly identify with Cam's comment about people believing that "enlisting help equals giving up." I run into this all the time. It is such a shame, because we really thrive when we share our strengths. I am delighted to have an expert in my life, especially in one the areas of my life where I just lack natural giftedness. I think gathering a group of experts into my life takes me miles beyond where I could go alone.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Wow...I too can totally relate...especially as a "solo-entrepreneur!"

I remember back in 1994 when I started my organizing business, I was told by business educators/mentors things like: beware of the competition; don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing; arm yourself with everything you need to know about running your business so you can be self-reliant, etc. It was exhausting! I quickly learned that those beliefs (rules) were self-limiting, especially for a business in today’s global technological world – it can be scary and downright impossible to succeed.

Welcome to the 21st Century!! I have finally realized that it’s OKAY to not “know it all” (or to not WANT to know it all)! I’m learning to ask “what do I need to know” questions about the things I don’t, and then seek those who can get it done for me. In the words of another great business mentor, Dan Sullivan: “Delegate everything except your genius!” Thank you, Linda and Cameron, for this wonderful refreshing reminder and validation.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheila Delson, CPO-CD

What a great conversation. Thank you Cameron and Linda!

There's so much I identify with. "To be successful I have to do it by myself" is the most obvious. Allowing my "old, dusty beliefs" guide me from behind the scenes is something I have to be vigilant about.

"Learning about and living with our own unique wiring" is great advice for all of us - not just people with ADD. Learning to work with who we are and what we have, being willing to include others in our journey, ask for help and allow for surprises make for a rich experience. Who wouldn't want that?

I've found that when I open up and solicit help from the right people, I grow in leaps and bounds; not to mention how much fun it can be. Struggling up a mountain alone and getting lost along the way isn't how I choose to live. Never too old to learn:-)


August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Wow! What an awesome group! Thank you for adding your wisdom to this conversation. You made the community so special.

@Rachel- Thank you for sharing your personal story. You make such a compelling case for the necessity of getting the support we need. You said it all…"Enlisting help saved my life!"

@Nacho- How I relate to what you've said. Sometimes it's hard to identify that being self-sufficient is great up to a point. There are times when seeking help IS the way to go. And particularly for those of us that think we can do it all ourselves, it's sometimes challenging to identify when we've come to that juncture.

@Diane- Isn't it great how Cam turns the "Lone Ranger" idea on it's side, viewing it from this more helpful perspective?

@Andrea- And we DO get in our own way around enlisting help…at least sometimes. I love the question you offered up in the context of enlisting help. Were you thinking…."What mindset will be most important to you for enlisting help?"

@Seana- Thank you for highlighting the idea of enlisting help from others so they can share their strengths in areas where we are less gifted. Frankly, there are times to enlist help in areas that we ARE strong, because we can't do everything ourselves or because we can do them even better with the right support.

@Sheila- Wow! Just love the Sullivan quote…."Delegate everything except your genius!" If that's not a call for reaching out for help in all areas, I don't know what is! I love the distinction you make between not knowing or wanting to know it all, figuring out what you need to know, and seeking support where needed. The evolution of a solo-preneur…a beautiful thing!

@Yota- You've always got "the words." How eloquently said…"…when I open up and solicit help from the right people, I grow in leaps and bounds…" and "Struggling up a mountain alone and getting lost along the way isn't how I choose to live." Words to savor. Thank you.

August 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Guilty as charged too! The Lone Ranger piece really resonated with me and for my clients. So many of our clients feel they should "know how" to organize or to time manage. Why? Time management and organization is a learned behavior like most. Cam's guidance and words really gave me wonderful descriptives to use with my clients to try to turn their mindsets around.

many thanks Linda and Cam!

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

This piece really spoke to me. I am working with a client right now who is stuck. She is having trouble letting go of doing things the same way, hoping that things will change. I am now in the "coaching" stage of the de cluttering, because it will definitely go back to the way it was before if she doesn't change her mindset.
I always find this aspect the most rewarding for me, when they finally have that AHA moment. You are right about the "Lone Ranger" mentality, I always tell my clients not to be ashamed they have reached out to me, because we can't do it all.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

I fell into the trap of believing that “To be successful I have to do this by myself!” in the early days of running my own business, and it definitely held me back. Fortunately, I've since learned to ask for help whenever I need the answer to a simple question, a partner for a particular project, an expert to take on a task that is beyond my expertise and/or level of interest, or someone to assist me so I can reach a client's deadline, and it has made a world of difference!

That same way of thinking keeps many prospective clients from taking advantage of my services, so I'd like to thank you for focusing on this particular topic.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Wonderful to read this interview! Thanks to both of you for bringing it to us.

Cam might have been my smartest reach for help ever as our training partnership has been strong for seven years. And Linda has offered me loving emotional support when I needed it most -- so you two are high on my list.

What has surprised me is that as my dreams grow to fruition, the need to reach out for support grows, too. Seems obvious in retrospect, but I seem to have to keep learning that one over and over...

And then there's that nugget about "enlisting help from a curiosity/learning perspective" which is really important. Growth brings change and, for me anyway, the mix of support/'help needs to be re-evaluated periodically. I needed that reminder today. Great post! Thanks so very much.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenslow Brown

Yep - guilty as charged also!!!! Thanks Linda and Cam for the fabulous perspective switch. Asking for help doesn't equal week - but an opportunity for learning! I've often said, "It takes a village to raise me and I appreciate you all doing your part". Adding the levity often takes the pressure off as I reach out.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Mallis

Really enjoying Linda's thought provoking questions and all of these amazing comments full of wisdom and compassion. Writing these responses inspired me to write a companion 'how to' blog post over at my site.
A great mindset resource is Carol Dweck's book Mindset where she distinguishes fixed and growth mindsets.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

How wonderful to "hear" more great thoughts about enlisting help! Thank you for adding to the party!

@Cam- I just love your "companion" post that developed from this interview. I encourage everyone to go over to Cam's blog and read it. Thanks for the new resource too: "Mindset" by Carol Dweck.

@Lisa- Joining the "guilty as charged" group. As you can see, you're not alone. Looks like a bunch of us will be working on making some perspective shifts.

@Denslow- Thrilled that I made your "list." The support is a two-way street as you've been there many times for me. That's part of the reciprocal aspect of enlisting help that Cam talks about. Also an interesting observation that perhaps the more we reach out for help, the more help we need. Perhaps it's the recognition of its value.

@Janet- Oh, the learning! Thank goodness that we can, right?

@Jill- You mentioned the shame that clients often feel because they think "should" be able to organize on their own. That can prevent them from reaching out, or create a lot of guilt during when they're organizing with us. Helping them to normalize that we all need help and work on some perspective shifts can make a huge difference.

@Leslie- Also in the "guilty as charged" club! Am with you on that one. The "shoulds" can do a number on us can't they?

August 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I may be a little late to the conversation, but after having a chance to read the interview today, I want to also thank Linda and Cam for a great exchange about asking for help. Maybe my learning is that I need to ask for help in areas that prevent me from being more timely with reading posts!! Actually, I frequently practice asking for assistance, and because it can still be hard for me that practice at times is for very small requests. I am amazed at how much people want to help. My perspective shift over time is that sometimes when we ask for help, we’re giving a gift by allowing someone the chance to share their gifts. I know that happens for me when I’m asked.

September 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Bougher

Barbara- No one is ever late to the conversation…in fact, you're welcome to join any conversation at any time. Thanks so much for being here.

I love your acknowledgment that it's hard sometimes to ask for help, so you "practice" asking with "very small requests." It sounds like you're experiencing positive outcomes too in that you get the help needed and also see that others LIKE to help and share their gifts. Just beautiful. It's all about the perspective shifts, isn't it?

September 8, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Giving up old ways of doing things--even when those ways don't work very well--can be rather scary at times. I consider it a delightful victory when a client trusts me enough to try a new suggestion. And their smile when saying, "I never would have thought of that!" makes me smile too!

October 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOlive Wagar

@Olive- Habits. They can be so hard to break, even if they no longer serve us well. How awesome that you build trust with your clients to help them consider and test other options. Way to go, Olive!

October 22, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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