Aphei – it is kind to ask for help

Through Toke Møller,one of many teachers (although an unofficial one), I was reminded of Aphei, an ancient practice that means:  It is kind to ask for help.

 A person who

cannot

ask for help

cannot

be trusted

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see how people flourish through the helping process. During a 3-day event, we collaborated, shared laughs and information and worked together. Finally, we closed the event with a session of co-creation: a group of people presented projects, and  the rest of the attendees formed small groups and supported one of this project with our expertise, questions and suggestions.  For some hours, we became their consultants and our clients shared their needs and information about their projects. 

ask for help 2013

It’s amazing to see how this simple practice of asking for help and being open to receive it can change a person and a situation so much. The process of helping also enriches the helper, and although there are some rules that need to be considered in order to be helpful, when we help from a place of respect and appreciation for the other person, both grow.  We usually think that asking for help will make us vulnerable, but the reality is that if we don’t ask for help when we need it, the things that we fear most (losing control and being vulnerable) will probably happen.  Remember, all the problems start small.

LET’S WORK!

Think of a topic where you need some help: either input, questions or help in the execution of something. Be careful with requesting advice, as the responsibility should always rely on you and not on the other person, remember also that an advice that is not followed usually has an impact on relationships.

Be clear on the type of help you may need and find who is the best person to provide it. Ask the person if they would be willing to help you with your process, allow them the opportunity to decline, and explain briefly the topic. If they decline, say thanks, too. It takes courage to do it.

If they accept, proceed to give a more detailed explanation: what happened, what did you do, who else is involved, what do you think the problem may be, and clarify what would you like to achieve. Be open to answer questions and be challenged on your assumptions. Ask for clarification if it’s needed and be open to co-create new results. Finally, always remember to be grateful!

Feel free to contact me if you need some help : ) or leave a comment!

Handling stress in a positive way

Some days ago I had the chance to attend an event that made me reflect on the importance of dealing with stress in a positive way: one of the organizers was really affected by stress, to the point where she fell sick. The other organizer, a friend of mine, was very concerned when the person who was sick didn’t show up on time. When I noticed that my friend was becoming more agitated I offered my help. We devised a plan in case her partner didn’t show up and that really helped my friend to ease her feelings and get back on track. Just by having a plan, and the reassurance that things can be fixed, we feel relieved.

We have all heard that there are two types of stress, and while both have an impact in our mind and body, only one of them actually helps us. It’s known as Eustress, and it appears when we’re in demanding and challenging situation which we are capable of handling. It’s the sense of thrill and excitement we have when working on new projects, or competing.  It can motivate us to achieve something and it brings enthusiasm.

The negative stress, Distress, is the one we identify more often. In general it causes emotions and feelings such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, unhappiness, and eventually illnesses.

stress

My advice is really simple:  If there is something you can do to fix the situation, do it. If there is nothing that can be done, just relax. Plan for the worse and hope for the best, and then just let things happen, but more importantly, take action as soon as you can.

Remember that all problems start small, and that as Corrie ten Boom says “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” When we’re stressed, we don’t enjoy the moment, the beauty of the present. 

 And if you see someone struggling with a stressful situation, step forward, show up, offer your help.  This person will be grateful and that will improve the situation enormously. Sometimes, just by acknowledging a difficult situation, we help other people relax. 

LET’S TAKE ACTION

1. Identify the situations that are currently causing you Distress.

2. Identify three possible actions you can take right now to work through the situation. They don’t have to be major actions, but rather simple steps that you can take immediately.

3. Identify one or two friends/relatives/colleagues that can support any of your actions, if needed.

4. Contact them and ask for help, if it applies. It will give them the opportunity to be closer with you and it will give you the chance to finally solve what is affecting you.