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Ghostbusters Patch

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends…

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: JD Hancock
Who ya gonna call?

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.

— Margaret Mead

Hopefully GhostBusters isn’t the only resource you can count on during a crisis.  But do you know who will show up in a pinch?  Or are you simply hoping there’ll be someone there when you need them? If you’re feeling a little distracted by my questions then here are a couple of resources that will help you focus:

  1. provides a quick and easy questionnaire: Can You Count on Your Friends Quiz.
  2. Or, perhaps it takes an emergency to get you focused?  If that’s the case, publishes a Facilitator Guide that’s sure to laser-hone your thinking with these two questions: “Who can you count on?” And, “Who counts on you?”

I’m betting that those two resources will ready you to make a mental list of folks you can count on… as well as a list of the people who count on you.

Stuck with a Short List?

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve drawn the “worst case scenario card,” then you know how others feel when nobody’s got their back.  It happens… we get busy doing, meeting the next emergency, coping and doing, coping and doing.  And suddenly our world shrinks small – and we feel all alone… What then?

… nobody’s got your back,
you’ve got to do this on your own
you know what you lack
now find out what you don’t

One Way Ticket Lyrics

Well, I for one, think those lyrics point us in the right direction – start by figuring out your assets, your “don’t lacks”.  A good way to do that is by keeping a gratitude journal.  YES, I did just suggest that you give thanks – even if, no, make that especially if you’re feeling all alone…

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude, it only takes moments. … [make] it a regular practice (daily, weekly, monthly, anytime) to bring your awareness to the joy and beauty that is abundant … every thanks you give ripples out like a pebble sends waves across the water.

Once you’ve begun to replenish your sense of abundance, you’ll find yourself better positioned to ask for help.  I know asking for help is a tough duty.  Even though most of us like to think that we can do it ALL, there comes a time when we can’t.  Don’t wait for that moment.  Ask for help NOW.

Feeling awkward, embarrassed, or uncertain about how to go about asking for help? If you’d like some coaching, some “how to” help, then try these suggestions from

  • Know to ask for help before frustration and anger take over. This is the first and most important step. If you’re an “overdoer” and want to handle things by yourself, it may not be as easy to identify what exactly you’ll need help with. Take a few minutes to ponder this.
  • Talk to someone who you’re close to–like a friend or family member–if you’re feeling a bit intimidated asking for help from someone else. Maybe they can point you in the right direction. Think about what will happen if the situation is not dealt with and all the weight is on your shoulders.
  • State clearly what it is that would be helpful and be specific. People generally want to help they just need to know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Abstain from whining when you’re doing too much; it will turn people away. Be positive and you’ll have the support of people around who will often pitch in on their own if they feel you’re deserving of help because of the kind of person you are.

Gratitude – Your Life Line to Flourishing

Much like a gratitude journal, tallying up the people who’ve got your back can remind you that:

Much goodness happens to us independent of our own actions. What if we said, “Why me?” when good things happen to us?

— Kathryn Britton

Better still, what if we started including Britton’s Gratitude Exercise #3 in our daily practices?

Gratitude Exercise #3: Thank Everyone for Everything Practice

Establish an ongoing practice of expressing gratitude. Actively watch for things that others do that are helpful, kind, and considerate. Thank them overtly. It can help to send a card or an e-mail. The idea is not to get something back. The act of saying thanks is service to others and is its own reward. Accept thanks from others gracefully. For colleagues and others seen every day, picture yourself building up a “Bank Account of Good Will.”

— Michael Frisch,
Quality of Life Therapy, 2005,
as interpreted by Kathryn Britton,
Positive Psychology Reflections

Just as research supports the idea that “Life satisfaction has a large correlation with gratitude,” I think it’s also true that knowing somebody’s got your back makes us stronger and more resilient and therefore more intrepid in facing up to life’s challenges.

A Multitude of Talents

But there’s a caveat to tallying up who’s got your back:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

— Albert Einstein

As you tally the list of people you can count on, you’ll probably realize that for different folks you have different expectations – that all of us have talents and none of us are good at everything – which is a good thing to keep in mind before judging anyone including yourself.

Some folks can be counted on to rally and take you to the finish line; some listen well; some are your go-to idea-people; others are there for you in an emergency; and a few always show up just in time with just the right assist.

And then there are the folks who pull you though when you’re down in the dumps…

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

— Albert Schweitzer

If, right at this moment you find your inner fire waning (or even if you’re feeling fired up) let Elaine Stritch be there for you – enjoy her rendition of Sondheim’s “Still Here!”.

And, if after all that, you’re still here and still looking for help, then select a few tips from the 13 offered in An Elephant Sat on It.  And, when the day is done and you’re all alone, know for sure that you’re going to be OK.  You’ve got your back…

P.S. With a wave to Terry Hershey’s Facebook Fan Page, let Christopher Robin remind you: “You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think!”

Now, tell me again – Who ya gonna call?

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