Fortunately I live on the same side of the street as the school so I have no need to use that bridge. I did attempt to cross it one day a few years back just to say that I had done it and I made it to the second landing before I turned around and said, "There is absolutely no reason for me to cross this bridge.” I never considered crossing it again.
Last year, when my now five-year-old daughter was in Head Start, she would ask me if we could cross the bridge someday and I always told her no. This year, now that she is in kindergarten and we walk to and from school every day together, she has been more adamant. Many of her friends live on the other side of that bridge and she watches them cross every day.
I did try to cross that bridge the second week of school. Because the elementary is a year-round school and the middle school is not, one of my daughter's classmates was picked up by his 12-year-old sister for the first few weeks after school. One afternoon she walked beside me and I made it clear up to the fifth landing before I panicked and had to turn around. I was proud of myself for making it past the second landing.
Recently I was coming home from a dentist appointment and I missed the connection to the bus that takes me the last two miles home. It was, of course, early release day at school and I had less than 20 minutes to get to the school. Fortunately, I use a power wheelchair and although there are not sidewalks from that bus stop to the school, there is a very wide shoulder.
I rolled down the street toward the school and after a little more than a mile there is that giant bridge. I can choose to either cross the bridge and get to the school on time or I can continue another three-quarters mile down the road to the next street that turns into the school neighborhood and come back another three-quarters mile to the school and be late.
The things we do for our children. From the ground I could see two moms just starting on the fourth ramp. So I zigzagged up and down the ramps and landings at top speed yelling the entire way, “Please wait for me. Please wait for me.” I caught those two moms at the very top just before they crossed the bridge. I asked them to please walk with me and keep me talking so that maybe I could cross that bridge.
With the help of those two moms I was able to cross that bridge and I made it to school on time. The next day my daughter and I were going to the bank after school. I told her that we could cross the bridge together and wait at the bus stop by the bridge instead of running the three-quarters mile to the stop that did not require crossing the bridge. I enlisted the help of her classmate’s mom to talk with me while I crossed the bridge. I did very well and was proud of myself for doing it two days in a row.
Fast forward a week and once again we are crossing the bridge to catch the bus. This time I did not think to ask that other mom ahead of time to walk with us. I did not wait for another mom that I also know crosses the bridge because I thought with all of those people crossing after school I would be okay.
First, you have to know that my five-year-old daughter ran way ahead of me so by the time I made it to the final landing to cross the bridge she was probably already down the other side waiting for me at the bottom. I did not have anyone close to me to talk to. I did cross that bridge without someone else talking to me. I was in a state of complete panic the entire way. It was all I could do to not stop and cry. I could not breathe and my heart was racing. But I did do it.
Am I going to cross that bridge again without somebody else talking to me? Not anytime soon. The difference in the way I felt when I had help and when I did it (mostly) alone was enough to convince me. I am not strong enough to cross the bridge on my own. I am okay with that. The next time we cross the bridge I will ask for help. The best part is… someone will be happy to help me.
A scene from Miss Congeniality just popped into my head. After Gracie is left by the FBI and her pageant coach she goes back to the dressing room and tells the girls she does not even know how to put on makeup. The other contestants immediately jump in to help her even if they do think that she might be competition. Now you may be thinking, "Susanne, that was a movie. My competition is not going to help me in real life."
That is simply not true. I belong to a networking group with two other social media professionals. None of us do exactly the same tasks although I am sure to anyone who has not used our services we are interchangeable. Earlier this year one of the other social media professionals developed a program with business owners of a couple of other related services. I thought their idea was brilliant and when I mentioned it to the social media professional she advised me to model it with a couple of other related services. I did not even ask for help and she offered.
If you need help, whether it be in your business life or your personal life, ask for it. I can not read your mind and you can not read mine. I may not be able to help you when you ask. I may be too busy; I may not have the skill set… I may simply not like you. Whatever the reason, I am likely to connect you to someone else who will be able to help you if I know them.
I know it is hard to ask for help. I have been considering hiring help for two years. I finally did it last month. The workload in my business finally got too much for me to bear alone. Please do not wait until you start coming apart at the seams to ask for help. I should have hired someone in January. My insane July would have been a whole lot more manageable with help.
Pretty soon it will be too cold and snowy for me to walk my daughter back and forth to school. I have discovered a mother who lives on the street next to me that has a child in my daughter's class. I am going to ask her this week if she would consider driving my daughter to and from school starting in November. The worst she can do is say no and if she does say no I can ask someone else. Because I am not waiting until the last minute, I have the time to get a plan in place.
Please, let me know if I can help you. Really!
Until next time…
Have a great day,
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