As a few of you will know, in October last year, I broke my leg in a fall. It was one of those things that seemed to gather momentum in the amount of disruption it was going to cause. Very quickly, I went from thinking it was a painful fall to understanding that I had a ‘nasty break’ and was likely to be dealing with the effects for 12 months.
In a split second, so much changed for me. From independence to dependence. From taking so many ordinary things for granted (walking down stairs!) to having a new appreciation for how complex life can be. From being incredibly busy to taking care with my busy-ness so it is more effective. For over nine months, that one moment has caused me to do a lot of reflection to make the best of a challenging situation and to come out the other end having learned something about myself and about the way I do things. I hope that one or two of the things I learned along the way may get you thinking too!
Leg Learning One – Ask for help and be specific
I hold my hand up – I am an independent soul, always have been and probably always will be. I am delighted to offer help to others but I have never been great at asking for it for myself. If I can find a way to fix something myself, I will! Sometimes I have done it when it has not been the most sensible option! Breaking my leg put a stop to that as I had no option, I had to ask for help and regularly from so many people. Just the idea made me want to hyperventilate…
There were a couple of things I learned in this exploration of this new world of asking for and accepting help. The first is that people genuinely do want to do something to help and are often relieved when you ask. I found the people I was surrounded by from friends and family through to taxi drivers, hotel staff etc. have been absolutely wonderful, going the extra mile and being happy to be helpful. It has made me feel truly blessed to know and have come across the people I have and balances out the news of people with negative intentions in the world. It is a wonderful thing to be reminded how intrinsically lovely people are and never to take that for granted.
The second thing that I learned was to be specific when you ask for help. So many people offered their assistance with things like offering a chair or doing a supermarket shop. As a novice at accepting help, I started taking up the offers that were made but soon realised that, as I was in for a longer haul than expected, this was not really working. So my big learning was to be specific and ask for what I actually needed rather than taking what was offered. I started becoming much more specific about which table in a restaurant I would like, what chair was going to work and taking my bins out. Suddenly, by being specific in my requests and truly grateful for everything, life became so much easier. It seems a shame that I had to break my leg to see all the benefits of receiving help but it is a learning I am going to embrace and embed.
To each and every one of you who read this who have been part of my helping posse, thank you!