Friend of the blog, Kim Werker, wrote up a great blog post “Taking the DIY Out of Business”. This made me sit up and take note:
As businesspeople, we cannot be successful without help. We just can’t. None of us is ace at all the tasks we need to accomplish to run our businesses. None of us, so stop planning the angry email you’re composing to me in your mind in which you’ll tell me you’re a skilled accountant, graphic designer, publicist, marketer, product designer, manufacturer, writer, editor and salesperson. If you think that, you’re full of shit.
She has a great point that in our lives, there are somethings we are just not good at. It made me think back to chemotherapy and how I nearly sent myself to the hospital from exhaustion. I simply couldn’t go to my volunteer job in New York City, come home to clean the house, make dinner and find a full-time job while squeezing in oncology appointments and dealing with medication side effects.
I tried that and you know what happened? I collapsed in the middle of the street trying to get back home from the bus stop. Thankfully, I was still on the sidewalk and two passersby helped me back up. I managed to walk the three blocks back to my apartment but I was down for the count for the rest of the day. The dishes stayed in the sink, dinner was not made and I took a five hour nap.
I learned a very valuable lesson: I can’t do it all and I can’t do it alone. We had a family meeting and my sister who lived next door, offered to clean my apartment for me. The SGT and I would have dinner at my mom’s place downstairs. And we made peace that we would probably be eating a lot of pizza and crappy hospital food for the foreseeable future.
I outsourced the things I just simply couldn’t do. And when my friends asked, ‘What can I do for you?’ I gave them ideas. Like, “I would love some company. Can you come over so my mom can go home for a bit?” Or “Paul needs some food. Can you drop off some Wendy’s and surprise him? I’ll pay you back.” People were delighted to have something to do to help out. They encouraged me to ‘outsource’ difficult chores to them.
So if you’re managing illness or going through grief, reach out to the folks who have asked if they can help. Let them know where and how they can help you. Go on and outsource those chores you simply can no longer do. You’ll return the favor some day and the bonds of community and friendship will strengthen between you.