To Help or Not to Help, That Is the Question?

ImageActually it’s not, in life with a disability, as in business whether you have a disability or not, the question is actually “do you know when you need help?”, and then opening yourself and your business to that help.

But before you even get this far you have to clearly understand the need, what is it you want to achieve, what are the outcomes you need to happen if you are going to expend resources (money and time usually) meeting some identified need. I know this seems very clinical but it is just as invasive allowing support into your business as it is allowing support into one’s life. For an entrepreneur it is so difficult to admit you don’t have all the answers, and for a proud father of two daughters, it is hard to admit I cannot cater for all my own needs, so both these trains run on the same track, it has a cutting negative effect on your own esteem, ego and mood if you allow it.

Stereotyping would say ‘men’ generally don’t like to ask for help and I believe I too fall into this category, and even if I was lost I would probably not ask for help, perhaps it is more than a stereotype, perhaps it an observation on the male condition? But this is the same “stubbornness”, as my wife would say, that prevents me for accepting support when I obviously need it, some inner, innate conditioning that I just can’t shake. And yet when I was delivering services through one of my companies I would guide and persuade Users of our services to allow people to help, stating all the advantages of having assistants to meet one’s needs under the Activities of Daily Living, or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, or whatever analysis of need you want to apply to it.

Yes there is some conditioning to contend with but I think it runs much deeper than that simple answer, I think there is the belief that as we mature from child into adult we are finally independent of our parents, and we finally leave the safe harbour and enter the sea of life for the great adventure that is independence. Ironic that we then get married and become co-dependent with a partner but that’s another story. I think that it is this attainment of hard fought independence that is then threatened by conditions that consume the person, not just ravishing one’s health and mental state but also eroding the independence one attained.

In my case I guess the overriding feeling was that my degenerative condition diminished not just my physical functioning but also my ability to self-care, bit by bit I felt I was being returned to a childlike state, inclusive of nappy. It is insidious, putrid reduction of functioning that is matched perfectly with the increased need for others to care for you that is the true nature of my inability to accept help at times, even if it means I fall flat on my face, which does happen from time to time, especially during episodes of pure awkwardness accompanied by bloody-minded-ness on my part. The invasion of my home, my privacy and my body is often too much to bare, acutely embarrassing, and often lacking in any dignity at all, I defy anyone to find dignity in have one’s bottom wiped clean by another, no matter how well trained to maintain dignity, there just isn’t any dignity in some aspects of care.

To have any chance of overcoming this return to pseudo baby-like state, feeling that one is completing a circle of sort back to where one started with increasing negative effect of one’s condition, one has to be very clear on what it is one wants from the support, be specific as this actually minimises the intrusion, the embarrassment, the anxiety and stress that inevitably comes with needed support, it is rarely a relief to have the indignity of ‘personal’ care.

This is paralleled in business, once one identifies the need, one then must be specific about the support that is needed, the outcome that is required, specifically, and the associated cost that will occur, as in personal care, there is always a cost to benefit ratio to weigh. Putting stubbornness and literally falling foul of gravity at times to one side, sometimes the door has to be opened both in business and in one’s life, and only you can do this, and only you can manage the invasiveness and the negatives that will accompany such needed and necessary loss of privacy, damage to one’s ego and impact on one’s dignity in some cases.

Sometimes in business as in life, you only have the choice of two evils, so make absolutely sure you know what it is you want from the support, completely clear on the outcome needed, and then perhaps you can live with the real price you pay. Sometimes you just have to open up that big old door and let someone in, well a little bit, and tied with a bow of conditions, but yes you have to let people in at times.

If I can do it, on both business and personal levels, so can anyone, good luck.