I have given this guidance so many times this weekend to so many folks I thought it was worth a repost. Enjoy!
You can’t operate on your own back.
Even if you are a leading surgeon in your field.
I mean, I’m not trying to hold you back (damn those unintentional puns – it’s a gift and a curse), but there are limitations, and I think it’s fair to say that your health and well-being would be better served in this instance by involving a buddy, probably one with a degree like yours and some assorted back-operating-on credentials.
I said this once to my PHD psychologist client who came to me for relationship help.
“But Erin I should know this. I get paid to help people with relationship problems. I feel ashamed”. Yes, you do – get paid to help. BUT, needing help doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified to help, it doesn’t nullify the help you have given, and knowing how to help someone else doesn’t mean that you can have that insight for yourself. Or that you can’t benefit from another’s knowledge and skill set.
Even those of you who are KILLING IT, CRUSHING IT, one-woman one-man one-gender-fluid armies of world sock-knocking-off, star-shining self sufficiency, can kill and crush harder, better, faster, or in a more meaningful soul-satisfying way should you want that, with some actual real live support.
Yet, many of us tend to do this funny thing when it comes to getting ourselves help. We push it to the absolute bottom of the list. I, for one, have to talk myself out of, talking myself into, NOT buying bandaids for myself, or Advil, or freaking running shoes when I am running 12k per day and have burned through my sneakers and am making actual toe to pavement contact. It is part of my “savvy” training. I will wait a little longer. I will find a way around it. But I don’t. Because I can’t. Running shoes cost money. They don’t grow in the garden, or the snow. AND THAT IS OKAY! It is okay that things cost money. We are not getting any brownie points for overcoming money and resisting expenditure. Having major problems with your feet, legs, and IT bands costs way more in terms of time, health, joy, and emotional grief than spending $150 on the main pair of footwear you will be wearing for the most demanding part of the day for the next six months.
We are inundated with this notion that if we are smart and savvy enough we will find a way to figure it out ourselves. BEWARE OF THAT VOICE, because it usually does NOT have your back (I swear it’s not conscious). It tends to add to your proverbial plate the solving of something that, if were actually reasonable to solve solo, would have already been solved. That, is not a solution. And it’s not economically or emotionally smart.
Buying the generic instead of the brand name? Well sure that can be savvy. Unless maybe you have a good reason to need name brand – like symbolically it represents worth to you, or making it, or not growing up on the poor side of town. Then for you, name brand might be the way you empower yourself; your declaration of worth. That is up to you to decide. But what is NOT savvy? Deprivation and frustration are not. I have a confession to make. I CAN AFFORD BANDAIDS. Shhhh. Tell no one. Least of all my thrifty shopping self. Band aids cover up my blisters and help me run more effectively. So what in hell goes on during the fifth trip to the drug store where I convince myself that they, oh I dunno, can wait until next time.
You don’t REALLY need those Erin. The spending stops here. You must have one lying around somewhere in an old purse. Remember all of those famines and wars you lived through in your past lives! You can make your own band aids, out of string and eyelash glue. You’ve got this!
Do I feel more in control if I buy everything everyone else needs, and then just tough it out for myself one more day? Well, yes, friend I do. Is this behaviour actually giving me more control? No, friend, it’s not. It’s wasting time and energy and health.
Now, if this goes on with teeny tiny drugstore items, what about the larger scale needs? Programs, training, trips. Those things that have the potential to make a BIG JUICY difference for us? What happens when we need more than just a band aid solution?
Well I am going to tell you yet another embarrassing story. And then I’m going to have to ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement because you know much too much (It’s like there is no length I will not go to to make you feel better in a relatable way. Whose idea was this blog, really?!!)
Here it goes. Two years ago I had a string of clients who left my care declaring that they were going to change the world with what I was teaching them, so blown away were they by the lack of availability of this kind of help and the pervasive need out there among their kind. I had been thinking the same for years. I saw it. I thought, yep I am gonna do that, after all it is kinda my baby. But then my actual babies were a handful, and by the end of a long day, well pizza, laundry, occasional sleep. Then as it usually does in my stories, some shit went down, and I decided to MAKE IT HAPPEN. I needed a website. I needed social media. I needed other unnameable things I did not know I needed. So I called up my sister for some pro tips on Instagram, and FIVE hours later I had my first, shitty, unreadable postcard style Instagram post.
“Oh Mommy,” the children said, with sorrowful, pitying but also baffled looks on their faces, like I was a small wounded bunny rabbit they weren’t quite sure how to help. “Five hours?”
There was a year of that. A year of effortful wheel-reinventing, wheel-spinning, band aid avoiding drive. I produced one very shitty website and a handful of posts. Sigh. And then, well, divine intervention happened. I went on a trip, I met a friend, the friend told me how everyone in her family fell into this mistaken idea that she liked owls and she never spoke up, and she had a houseful of owl art because of it, and then I was in a bookstore waiting for my girls and I picked up a book flipped it open and it told the same story, about the owls, like it actually happened to the author’s friend too, and I was like “What, freaky!” And then I decided to buy the book because of that, although I did debate whether I should be spending the $15, which makes me L.O.L. because the book was all about the $85 grand this woman dropped on coaching to get her business to fly, and I was like, oh, I see. Good one Almighty, Goddessy, Oneness, Higher Love, Higher Self Thingy! I am picking up what you are putting down. YOU CAN’T OPERATE ON YOUR OWN BACK.
So, I spent my version of $85 grand (band aids being our reference point here for splurge spending). I paid $500/per hour to get an expert to help me build a platform to bring this life altering process to the people, so that my clients don’t have to try to do it for me (as if they have that kinda time). It was a BIG DEAL for me. It felt like ripping off my arm and offering it in exchange for services “I’d like some business help, please,” my voice at the pitch of one of Alvin’s chipmunks squeaking through an awkward forced smile while blood poured freely from my empty arm socket. Sorry for being gross.
BUT, here is what happened after I sold my arm:
Every time I didn’t have to make a confusing decision alone I did a happy dance.
Every time I Iearned something it would have taken me eons to learn alone I did a happy dance.
I was able to do 1789 SUPER SCARY THINGS, without being super scared, and with someone really cool, smart and nice holding my actual hand, which it turned out, like my arm, GREW BACK. Which translated into oh so much more efficiency and progress, and happiness.
I was and am super happy with my results.
My results keep coming.
I now want a coach for everything. JK. But I do find myself open to where I can streamline like my whole life by getting some actual help with things that other people are really good at.
Here is the shocking news. Money. We use it to pay for things. Really cool things are going on all around us that cost it. For many of us it is a revolutionary act to spend money on ourselves. But I have discovered that it feels really freaking good to invest in yourself and your smarts and your happy. And happy is productive. IT’S SAVVY EVEN!
Turns out struggle is not. It doesn’t squeeze the juice out of your happy fruit.
Maybe it’s ME you take the plunge with, and you and I get to be the explosion of goodness my coach and I were together. Or maybe it’s something or someone else. Maybe you’ll take that Masters program after all. Or take up synchronized swimming with your favourite pet. Maybe you’ll just buy yourself some Hello Kitty band aids.
Be smart about your resourceful tendencies. Like pair the Old Navy sweats with the runners that save your joints. Or whatever works for you.
But if I can save you that thousand hour, bunny-soul-crushing learning curve that wins nothing for no one???
Well my work is done here folks.
Now, I’m gonna band aid up. It’s time for my run.
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.