One of the hardest things for an independent, loner-type giver is to reach out and ask for help.
I have been a gregarious people-helper my entire life.
In fact, my mother often attests to the fact that I have talked easily with strangers from the age of two (when apparently I could already articulate complete sentences and carry on a coherent conversation with adults).
Many people who know me would not easily guess that I’m the most comfortable when I can retreat to my ‘room’ alone and re-group after being with people.
This may raise an eyebrow or two because by outward appearance I’m often the life of the party and a social connector when I get myself into ‘the zone.’ (after some emotional preparation time).
It gives me great pleasure to share a story or joke that will open up someone’s somber face in laughter, or give them food for thought, or inspire or help them in whatever way I can, with whatever resources I have available.
I love people.
However, I do need and enjoy long hours of solitude; my recent career decision to work as a solopreneur suits me well.
Boredom is a rare visitor to my home. I’m someone who has many interests and preoccupations that take up a lot of real estate in my busy brain and I often feel there aren’t enough hours in a day.
Spinning, synthesizing, assimilating – turning over all the possibilities like a person manically trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube in 1 minute or less.
I’ve usually chosen occupations throughout my work life where I could carry out my duties independently with minimum collaborative time in a team venture.
Call me the perpetual vocational nomad if you will.
The downside to this kind of experience is that I missed out on years of office water cooler conversations or building lasting friendships with colleagues. That said, I still wasn’t immune to experiencing some ‘wear and tear’ of office politics or in working on projects by committee over the years!
As I start to make these tentative, but concrete, steps forward in my creative solo business, I’m realizing that I have to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to other professionals – for help, for companionship, for creative inspiration, affirmation and collaboration. For sanity! This really goes against my nature as I don’t want to impose on anyone. Really.
No creative solopreneur is an island!
If you are sitting at home and struggling trying to do it all – hesitant or awkward about contacting others – please take my sincerest advice and be kinder to yourself. Stop this pattern.
Give yourself permission to reach out to others and take a risk at being vulnerable.
You’ve already given so much to so many and I’m sure you won’t quit that tendency anytime soon.
Maybe some will ignore you or evade your request, assuming that you might be one of those leeches they’re so tired of dealing with.
But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a handful of like-minded creative individuals who are generous of spirit and eager to lend a hand and welcome you ‘into the fold’.
Maybe you’ll experience a positive growth in your business, in your personal life, discover how many tangible ways you can help them in the bargain.
These opportunities will never be self-evident unless you reach out.
One thing leads to another; each relationship opens up doors of possibility we can’t imagine or access if we don’t engage, commit the time and effort. Spectacular, amazing projects and opportunities can arise when creative people pool their talents and resources together.
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
On and on and on on and on…
How are you stretching yourself creatively by reaching out to others in 2011?
Written by Carole Jane Treggett