It’s OK to ask for help, it takes courage to do so

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Most of us are familiar with action movies where the main character overcomes impossible odds to reach the unreachable, attain the improbable or save the day from certain ruin.  That character is sometimes portrayed as a pillar, unbreakable, unyielding…needing no one.  The reality, of course, is we are human and fallible, often building on lessons learned from prior generations in order to survive and thrive.  Though in your reality, you are both the author and lead character adapting and learning as you write the script, but never going it alone as the story progresses.

Think back on your story. You had to learn almost everything from someone else, from birth until now in order to exist.  Sometimes you figured it out on your own, sometimes not.  We can get bogged down by what we don’t know and not realize it.  Every one of us, no matter the level of success, rank or stature, have been there.  The trick is gaining awareness of your predicament, problem or puzzle and asking for help.  Even if you don’t know the question to ask or where to turn, asking someone, anyone, is a start, and better than struggling alone, spinning your wheels. 

It’s OK to ask for help as it takes courage to do so.  No matter the dilemma, issue or concern, from the seemingly simple to the most profound, no one knows all things, but together we’ve seen almost everything. 

Sure, you say, easier said than done.  You don’t know my problem, and I can figure it out on my own.  If you can, great, but if trying is getting you nowhere, take the first step and ask a family member, friend, co-worker, supervisor, first sergeant or other resources to get started.  You may feel vulnerable in doing so and that is why it’s the hardest part.  All of us have failed, been lost or had to learn something completely new at some point.  All of us required a teacher, mentor or guide to show us the way.  As adults, we may forget those experiences at times because we have learned so much up to this point in life that survival feels instinctive.

I felt life was progressing according to plan a couple years ago when I was surprised by the depth of issues surrounding one of my parents.  At first, it was family contacting me concerning past-due financial obligations.  Unfortunately, upon further investigation, it was only the top of an immense iceberg of growing issues with deep roots that it was overwhelming where to start.  From health and diet, to financial mismanagement and debt, to sub-par living conditions, it was beyond any common sense approach and required urgent priorities, plans and action to take place.  With no experience, I needed guidance on which issues to address first and what agencies could assist.  I turned to the Airman and Family Readiness Center and they helped lay out those priorities and resources to get plans rolling and address my parent’s needs. 

Remember this. Your life is an ever-evolving script and the choices you make affect you and others in your story.  When lost, confused or you just don’t know something, find the courage to reach out.  From that wisdom, you are then able to help others when they are stuck because you chose to not write your story alone.