130. “I need help.”

I used to wait to ask for help when I was a weepy, blubbering mess. I felt like asking for help meant I was weak. I’d wait until I was in the super struggle stage when I could have made things easier for myself.  The truth is, if we are thinking we’re weak for reaching out for help, we spend so much time needlessly suffering.

The purpose of this podcast is to show you that asking for help is really a power move.

I share some personal stories about how I waited too long and what I’ve learned and what I’ve currently asked for help doing and, most importantly, how it’s all made the world of difference.

Like I said: Power. Move.

I’ll see you inside! xo, J

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[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, hello my friends. Welcome back. I am super excited to be with you today. I am all cozied up here in my office. I’ve got the heater on Jackson and I are enjoying just being inside today, even though it’s foggy and kind of yucky outside. , I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of gross out there, but.

[00:00:21] I’m happy to be with you today talking specifically about needing help. These few words "I need help" are powerful words, and I’m going to hopefully get you to see that today on this episode of the podcast. So a friend posted this picture on her social media feed that I loved. So I know you can’t see this picture, I’m gonna describe it to you, but I want you to hold onto this visual for the rest of this podcast.

[00:00:47] I am going to be referring to the yellow battery quite a bit, and I want you to visualize what that looks like. So this picture, it was a graphic, it wasn’t actually a photograph, it was a graphic of six different [00:01:00] batteries and they were all different colors. So the one on the far left the first battery was a green battery and it had five bars of energy.

[00:01:08] It was fully charged five bars of energy, green battery. The second battery was a light green battery. It had four bars of energy. The third battery was a yellow battery, and this one had three bars of energy. The next battery was an orange battery. It had two bars of energy, and then we had a red bar battery with one bar of energy, and then a gray battery on the far right that had no bars of energy.

[00:01:35] And on the graphic it said, ask for help here pointing to the yellow battery, the one that had three bars of energy. Now I have to say this graphic really hit home because I’m like, amen and amen, . Cause I have learned this lesson the hard way. I’d wait to ask for help [00:02:00] when I was the gray battery, when I had zero bars of energy, it was my rock bottom moment.

[00:02:05] Then I’m like, Hey, little help over here, . When I was a weepy, Blubbering, despairing mass. I was at the super struggle stage, and I would keep it all to myself. I felt like asking for help was a sign of weakness. It was where we would admit defeat, which is so funny because I think about that. I mean, that’s literally what I thought.

[00:02:30] Like you’re admitting defeat. Like defeat from what? from your life. I mean, come on. Okay. But the purpose of this episode today is to show you that asking for help is really a power move. It can be a graceful and seamless process to ask for help when you are at the yellow battery stage. Now let me just tell you from the experience, if you wait, I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well.

[00:02:56] If you’ve pushed yourself too far, you’ve hit your rock bottom moment. It isn’t [00:03:00] pretty. It isn’t pretty and unfortunately we often wait and spend time needlessly suffer. So I have a few stories today, actually. Yeah, a few. Not just a couple , but a few stories that I’m gonna be sharing with you today on the podcast.

[00:03:15] And I feel like stories are powerful. Not as powerful, of course, as your own experiences, but I’m hoping that as I share these experiences with you today, that you’ll be able to learn from my experiences, to help you to remember to ask for help when you are a yellow battery. I’m a wiser version of myself than I was 15 to 20 years ago, and back then there was definitely some pride involved in asking for help.

[00:03:43] I thought by not asking for help, that was something that made me amazing. But this is not true. if this is something that you believe about yourself, you’re amazing. You really are. Whether you ask for help or not, it doesn’t make you a better human [00:04:00] to hold back

[00:04:01] and not ask for help. You’re not doing life better than someone else if you don’t need to ask for help. We all need help from time to time. That’s the truth. But I know for a while I thought I didn’t wanna be a burden on someone else. I didn’t want someone else to take time out of their day to come and rescue me

[00:04:21] But what I’ve learned is it never hurts to ask and it often hurts far less when we do ask. I learned this life lesson the very first time when I was 27 years old, right after my daughter Lucy was born.

[00:04:34] She’s my second baby. She was born 22 months after Thomas. Merrill was in dental school, and she was born a week and a half before his first board exam. So he’s two years into dental school. It’s the summer. She was born and he wasn’t around a lot. He had to study really hard for that test. And during her delivery I had an epidural and I was part of the small population that had a spinal headache as a side effect [00:05:00] to that epidural and.

[00:05:02] I was in so much pain and the spinal headache actually didn’t come on for several days after I got home from the hospital and I remember being in the car driving somewhere and I had Merrill pull the car over cuz I was gonna vomit all over the place.

[00:05:15] I mean, fortunately. , he got parked and I did. I just opened the car door and just vomited everywhere because I was in so much pain. That’s what my body does when I’m experiencing pain and I feel out of control with that pain . And this spinal headache lasted a while. It lasted a couple days, and so I think the next day, Merrill had to leave to go to school and it was all I could do to take care of my babies.

[00:05:40] I’m sure Thomas was just running around in a diaper and Lucy was still new enough that she slept most of the day. But I was on the couch and I remember just opening my eyes and seeing Cheerios all over the floor. Like I said, I don’t really know what Thomas was doing, but at that point I called my friend to help me.

[00:05:58] I felt so [00:06:00] bad for asking her to come over, she actually brought her baby over. It was about the same age as Thomas. She brought over Bennett. She was pregnant with Luke, but she vacuumed up my carpet. She probably got me some food. She probably took care of Thomas for a little bit, but it made all the difference in, in my life for that day, and I was really grateful that I asked for that help.

[00:06:22] But a several days later, a friend of mine from church reached out and said, Hey, there’s a group of ladies that is really interested in bringing you dinner. and I accepted a few meals, but I turned others away. . I know, I know. Some of you’re like, you did what . I remember on the phone saying, I’m fine. I’ve totally got this.

[00:06:45] And I totally regretted it later. I totally regretted it. I remember making dinner or trying to get dinner done one night and just being like, why? Why did you do that? . I remember that was an aha moment for me and I’m, and I remember telling myself, Janeen, you are [00:07:00] never going to turn down a homemade meal for the rest of your life.

[00:07:04] I don’t care what they cook for you, but you’re not gonna turn it down. You are going to welcome that food for sure. And it was just kind of a moment in my life where I’m like, you know what? It pays to ask for sure. It pays to ask. I love to serve other people. And at some point, I need to be the recipient of someone else’s love and someone else’s service.

[00:07:25] This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I come from a very long line of independent, capable women, independent capable people. The thing is, is as a child, I don’t really remember my mom ever getting help, except for one time. My mom got the flu one year I was probably six or seven years old and my mom stayed in bed all week.

[00:07:44] I remember opening her bedroom door and seeing her body on her bed, and just feeling like, what’s going on? You know? She had hired a babysitter to take care of us cuz she couldn’t get out of bed. And I’m not saying that she should have asked for more help. I think only[00:08:00] she is the one to make that call.

[00:08:02] We are the ones to make that call for ourselves, but sometimes I know I’ve caught myself feeling like I shouldn’t have asked for help because I don’t remember my mom getting very much help. I know that these are memories that I have that may or may not even be accurate, but that is what I’ve based my life choices on many times.

[00:08:24] Not asking for help because that was the example that was set for me. And this is all of course, subconscious, and I’m not blaming anybody here, but I want you to question, what are some of the things that you think when it comes to asking for help, and where do these ideas come? why do we have these ideas?

[00:08:44] Do you like your ideas or not? I didn’t learn to ask for help until later on in my life. Another story that I have with this is after Merrill came home from his first deployment from Afghanistan. If you guys have listened to episode 1 0 6, [00:09:00] That’s titled Why I Do the Things I Do.

[00:09:01] This story is gonna be familiar, I’m sure, and I’m just gonna gloss over this. If you wanna hear more of the story, you can go listen to that episode. But I was stressed, I was overwhelmed, I was like a pressure pot. Every little thing was totally setting me off and I realized after totally being out of control emotionally and yelling, like scary yelling, at one of my kids, my son Thomas, that I realized I needed help.

[00:09:28] and I felt so much shame with what I was struggling with. I felt like you shouldn’t be struggling with this. You should be able to keep your stuff together. But I also knew that I needed help.

[00:09:40] And the interesting thing is, is I knew I couldn’t help me , but I was kind of questioning. , whether anyone else could fix this, like I felt like I needed to be fixed, which is not true. We sometimes we need encouragement, sometimes we need guidance, sometimes we need education, but we don’t need to be fixed.

[00:09:58] I don’t like thinking about myself that [00:10:00] way, but I did. I felt broken. I felt beat. I felt super weak and like I said, I knew I couldn’t help me. I knew if I tried to keep on keeping on my kids were gonna end up most likely not wanting to be with me. I would alienate myself from the people that I loved most.

[00:10:16] So reaching out for help for me, it was kind of, again, one of those bottom of the barrel moments, it was definitely a gray battery , maybe a black battery , but I reached out to one of the marriage and family life consultants on the base. Her name was Sam. I was 32 years old at the time. . And after one session with her, I felt so much better.

[00:10:39] I felt understood. I felt heard. I didn’t feel broken anymore. And I remember one of the questions that she asked me was, what are you doing for yourself? And I’m like, wait, wait, what? Like , she kind of was the one who gave me permission to look at myself. and my role as [00:11:00] a mother in a different way, like I could actually give myself permission to do something just for me that would help me to feel better, that would help me fill my bucket just a little bit, so that I had something to give to my family.

[00:11:15] And I felt. , like there was hope that I could learn how to decrease my stress and enjoy my life and enjoy my family. That was probably the biggest gift that she gave me and I remember thinking to myself, why have I waited so long for this?

[00:11:30] Why did I suffer by myself for so long? And I started telling everybody about Sam. I’m like, you need to go see Sam. I don’t care what it is that you’ve got going on, you need to see Sam . And so many of my friends booked appointments with her and she helped out so much.

[00:11:47] I think one of the things that does us a huge disservice is when we see ourselves as capable or healthy people or feeling like we should be capable and healthy people, we often [00:12:00] draw an inaccurate conclusion that going to therapy or seeing a counselor or signing up for a life coach is for other people.

[00:12:08] It’s for people who are crazy. . Okay? Lemme just tell you. We all got a little bit of crazy. It’s totally fine. It’s a hundred percent. A hundred percent. Okay. For you to ask for help. So if you’re waiting for permission, here it is. Here’s your permission to ask for help. I know later on when we moved to Germany, I had some other struggles.

[00:12:28] That’s where we started homeschooling our kids. This was back in 2011, and I’ve told this story before, but just briefly, I really had no idea what I was doing. And I became really stressed and anxious and depressed. And there was a lot of, there was a lot of things that I think attributed to this. The weather being one, being isolated was another thing.

[00:12:47] And then having my kids around and not knowing how to manage my mind around it. So I was just constantly beating myself up every day. And when I tell people, it really took me about 18 months before I was only crying [00:13:00] once a week. I think that is pretty accurate. But at that point I realized, okay, I’m beat, again.

[00:13:07] I reached out for help. Again, 33 years old, I’m reaching out for help and I reached out to a homeschool mentor. I felt like I have all the problems that I have this is the one that I feel like if I could just quote unquote fix this again, I will be feeling so much better. And it’s interesting because I actually, I actually have done a podcast episode about this homeschool mentor.

[00:13:28] Her name is Angie, Angie Baker. This was back… I think the summer of 2019, I did an episode about her, and again, her very first question to me was, what are you doing for yourself? And again, I’m like, wait, what? Like I thought I was calling you to get help with our homeschool, and you’re making this about me, like I just was so flabbergasted by that. I was a little confused until I started following along and doing my weekly assignments from [00:14:00] her, not only feeling so much better.

[00:14:03] But that helped me to be so much more present with my family. It helped me to be creative with them in our school environment, and that was exactly what it was that I needed. I needed to spend a little time during my week focusing in on me. Sometimes the help that we receive from other people is different than what we think it should be. This is why asking for help is so important. The way that you’re currently looking at your life, the way that you’re talking to yourself, the way that you’re trying to do things sometimes isn’t very effective. You’re looking at your life from your perspective, from your frame of reference and so often we think we have the answers.

[00:14:43] We think it should be one way, and that, my friend, is what’s causing so much pain.

[00:14:51] I had always thought up until this point that doing something for myself was selfish, and I have learned to see it, again, as a power move,[00:15:00] helping yourself, learning to ask for help so that you can help yourself and filling your own bucket, I think is so powerful. This is a power move my friend. Now let me just tell you, you can get clarity, you can gain a new perspective even when you don’t ask for help, but I’m telling you, it comes a whole heck of a lot faster when you do. It comes a whole heck of a lot faster when you reach out for help. Sam increased my learning curve by like a thousand times. She changed me because she changed the way I viewed myself and the way that I viewed my life and what it was that I was capable of.

[00:15:38] She stopped those thought patterns that I had in my brain that was creating this rage. Sometimes asking for help comes from a therapist or a counselor or a coach. Sometimes when we ask for help, it’s being able to admit that you need to pass off work to someone else, whether that’s [00:16:00] cleaning your house or chauffeuring your kids around or cooking dinner, and sometimes that help just comes from booking self-care appointments, like getting massage or manicure or pedicure or something. Whatever that help is that you need in your life, it’s going to be unique to you and the phase of life that you’re in, and according to your likes and your dislikes and what it is that you love to do in your house and in your home and in your life, and things that you don’t like to do, those are all going to be unique to you.

[00:16:30] So I hired my very first employee last summer to help me with social media and she works for me for about 15 hours a month right now. Let me just tell you, it’s so nice to have that work removed off of my plate. It frees up some time for me during my week, and it’s also super fun for me to collaborate with someone else because social media, frankly, is not a strength of mine.

[00:16:51] I’m actually more of a private person, and so sharing my life or sharing things that I feel like are regular for me in my life on social media is not something that comes [00:17:00] really naturally to me. And then last month, or was it in November? It was in November.

[00:17:05] I hired my second employee who was a marketing expert. And the thing is, is after I hired her, I had this thought that I should have done this years ago in my business. . I got some advice when I first started my business

[00:17:22] I don’t wanna say it’s bad advice, but it’s maybe advice that I mistook or misunderstood at the time. But the advice was in business, anytime you hire someone to work for you, you need to know not just what you want them to do for you, but you also need to know how to do their job. And you need to know it well enough to know whether or not they’re doing a good job working for you. Now , you do not need to be an expert in something to be able to hire someone to take that job over for you.

[00:17:54] As a mom and as an entrepreneur, I’m wearing a lot of different hats just like you are in your own life. [00:18:00] But just in my business, I’m a coach and I love this. I love coaching. I love working with people. This is the part of my business that I absolutely love. But I also know about marketing and sales and doing webinars.

[00:18:11] I know about graphic design. i know about course creation and customer service and community management, like there’s so many things, but one of the things that I learned last year that got me to take that step forward to ask for help in my business was some advice that I got instead of that first piece of advice that I shared with you just a second ago.

[00:18:31] It says, in business you hire someone to give you more time so that you can do more of the things that you love in your business, or you hire someone to help you make more money. And I want you to do the same thing for you in your life. You want to look at asking for help as an investment in yourself, no matter what kind of help that is. Like I said earlier, there’s several different ways, whether it’s helping you do the mundane tasks around your house that you don’t like, or [00:19:00] whether it’s a self-care thing, like a massage or whatever it.

[00:19:03] After Emma was born and Merrill deployed to Afghanistan, I hired a 10 year old girl in my neighborhood that lived next to me to come and watch Emma and Isaac while I cooked dinner, and I was able to get the house cleaned or whatever it was that I needed to do in the house. So I was home. I just had her be present with my kids so that they weren’t choking on toys or sticking things in outlets or whatever.

[00:19:25] And let me just be super clear, you do not have to spend a lot of money on this or even any money to get help. Sometimes we think it’s going to be expensive, and so we don’t ask. There are lots of ways that you can get really creative and get what you want or what you need.

[00:19:38] So how do you do this? So the first thing is you have to change the way that you think when it comes to asking for help. If you’re currently thinking about asking for help as admitting defeat like I did before, you’re going to be very reluctant and it’s going to be a very shameful experience to ask for help.

[00:19:58] You might need to swallow your pride. That might [00:20:00] be something that you need to do, and I want you to just chant with me. Asking for help is a power move. I want you to say that over and over and over to yourself. Asking for help is a power move,

[00:20:11] especially when you’re just a yellow battery . Okay. I want you to hear me say that asking for help is a power move, especially when you’re a yellow battery. Okay?

[00:20:22] So the second part is once you have changed your thoughts around asking for help and understanding that it’s a power move , you need to actually ask. This is the thing you need to reach out to someone. It doesn’t matter who really, you just need to reach out and start opening yourself up to getting the help that you need.

[00:20:42] And you can only do that by clarifying what’s going on for you. I was super good at hiding my stress and hiding my anxiety and hiding my overwhelm by trying to take it all on by myself. I was really good at hiding that until I wasn’t, and that’s where things blew up and [00:21:00] exploded. I remember after we moved to Germany, we were about three or four months into this move.

[00:21:05] It was the wintertime, and I was experiencing seasonal depression for the very first time. I didn’t even know what was going on. I had never been depressed like that before, and I felt so isolated. It was a different country. We lived in a way different time zone than any of my family or my, or my friends.

[00:21:22] I had no friends in Germany and I was with my kids all day, which was really exhausting. And I reached out on email to one of my best friends and all I said was, I’m struggling. Do you have time to talk? And it took so much effort for me to write that email. I remember at that point, like I mentioned earlier, I was a weepy, blubbering mess at this time,

[00:21:43] I was finally getting myself to quote unquote admit defeat and send this email. But after that, I just felt so much relief. She hadn’t even contacted me yet, but we set up a phone call and we talked and it helped out so much just to be able to open up to someone [00:22:00] and start to express how overwhelmed and how sad I was.

[00:22:05] But you have to ask. This is the thing, if you don’t, your burnout will continue to manifest itself in ways that are unhealthy and not sustainable. okay, we don’t like it when our burnout erupts. . It’s like I said, it’s super messy.

[00:22:25] So ask anyone. You can ask a spouse. You can ask a partner. You can ask a friend. You can ask your parents. I have a really good friend of mine in Colorado who had a baby just a little over a year ago, and her mother-in-law offered to pay for a year’s worth, of housekeeping for her. Just once or twice a month for an entire year, and. . I know that was a really generous gift, but in my opinion, I’m like, that’s the best gift ever.

[00:22:51] So if you have ideas like that, those are things that you can suggest. I’m like, Hey, if you’re looking for an amazing gift for me, here’s some things that I need help with right [00:23:00] now. And you can offer that to other people who regularly give you gifts, whether it’s parents or spouse or siblings, or whatever.

[00:23:08] Okay, so the third thing that I have here is get clear on what you need help with. And sometimes this becomes clear as you take steps to communicate that you need help. So how do you do this? I want you to take a look at all of the current tasks that you are doing in your week or in your month.

[00:23:27] I actually did this exercise at the beginning of last year, so I told you I hired two employees this year and this was the, the work that I did in order to identify what I needed help with. The woman who was teaching this class was expert at delegating and setting up automations in businesses. She was really good at telling business owners how to take things off their plates. Just like moms, we need this sometimes, right? We need to have people come in and teach us how to offload stuff, whether we eliminate it or whether we simplify things or whether we [00:24:00] hire this out.

[00:24:01] So the the same principle applies to life. I want you to take a look at everything that you have going on, and I want you to think about, okay, what are the tasks that are currently draining my energy. You know, it could even just be like taking your kids to the store. Okay. What would you love help with right now?

[00:24:17] Maybe it’s organizing, maybe it’s coaching, whether it’s health coaching or weight loss, or coaching in relationships. Or maybe you’re just really stressed. You just wanna feel more relaxed and you just need to book a massage. Okay. What would you love help with? And then also I want you identifying what are some of the things that you love to do that you don’t hire out?

[00:24:39] Now, I know some of you’re just like, what are you talking about? I have no extra cash to hire out . So let me give you some really, really creative ways to do this in your life to get the help that you need without it blowing up your budget. Okay? So that leads me into the fourth step. You need to make a deal. You need to learn how to get the help that you need. So again, [00:25:00] there are several ways to do this. Obviously you can spend money, you can throw money at the problem for sure, , and this can work for any budget.

[00:25:06] Sometimes you need to get creative, but you can totally do this. And I have done this. on very tight budgets, so I know that this is possible. One story that I heard about how to do this, I thought was so creative. I, I’ve actually taught this several times to my own students, but this story has stayed with me since I heard it.

[00:25:25] So this story is not mine. It’s a story that Brendan Bruchard shared with one of the classes that I was in. So when he was in grad school, and if you don’t know who Brendan Bruchard is, he’s a coach , but when he was in grad school, he was studying and he was working really hard and he wanted to eat healthy, but he didn’t feel like he had any time to cook any meals.

[00:25:45] At the time, he lived down the street from a culinary art school. And so he put up a flyer at the school that said personal chef wanted. Here’s the deal: you cook me Dinner is in exchange for feedback on your cooking, [00:26:00] experience being a personal chef so that you can put it on your resume someday. As soon as you graduate from culinary art school. You can say, I’ve been a personal chef for Brendan Bruchard , I thought that was the most incredible story.

[00:26:14] It was super creative because it was a win-win for both parties. He only had to pay for groceries. He didn’t actually have to pay a personal chef fee, but he got someone who wanted the experience to cook for him. And I just thought that was a perfect example, a perfect blend of value exchange for both parties.

[00:26:34] You can even get paid yourself to recharge your batteries. So let me tell you how I’ve done this. When we were students, this is when Merrill was in dental school. I wanted to exercise. I had two little kids. I was a stay-at-home mom, so I also needed time out of the house just a couple times a week to just be by myself.

[00:26:54] That was something that I needed , and so I got certified as a group fitness [00:27:00] instructor. Which kind of killed two birds with one stone. So I started teaching spin classes. I taught at a gym right down the street from our apartment. I got the exercise in, I got a little break from being a mom for a little bit, and I got paid a little bit to do it.

[00:27:13] So that is another way that you can recharge your batteries and get paid to do it. Okay. Now, of course, the last way to get help is to create a swap. So I’ve swapped for so many different things. I’ve actually swapped personal training for massage. I’ve of course swapped childcare. I’ve swapped time at the gym. If you’re good at something, you can do something that is of value to someone else. You can work out a trade of services or you can just swap childcare time. . Really, truly, the sky is the limit. You can get really creative.

[00:27:46] You can make it work. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So if you are desperate for help, I want you to think about ways that you can get the help that you need by creating a win-win situation for another person who would [00:28:00] like your services or the value that you offer, or whether it’s an equal swap of time or whatever it is that you come up with, there’s so many different ways that you can do this.

[00:28:09] So, I hope that this episode was helpful to you. This was something, like I said, I wish I had known so long ago. If this is something that you found valuable today, I would love it if you shared it with a friend or you left me a rating and a review on whatever podcast platform that you’re listening to right now. So that would be super amazing. And that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I hope you guys have a wonderful rest of your day. We’ll talk to you soon. See ya. Bye.