None of us can do it alone
…Or can we?
Before joining Circles, my previous job was as an HR Director for a growing company. My roles morphed over time, and eventually it was largely focused on HR, a field I had no experience in, or training for. In my efforts to try to be indispensable, I found opportunities to try and be a hero in a high-exposure area where I had no subject matter expertise. The company had opened a new office. 3,000 miles away. An expert in California Labor Law I was not. Flexible work arrangements. Severance matters. Compliance.
I know the feeling. The warning signs were there, and after mutual flares sent up that an expert was needed, I left the company. The assistance I accepted, and learnt from, was in helping me take off my mask, be vulnerable, and stop pretending.
This was an old story for me. In my 20s and 30s, arrogance and recklessness found me taking on much of the world, namely New York City, mostly alone, filled with bravado and ignorance in equal measure. What I know now, is that my mentors were giving me a pass – allowing me to get cut and bruised, as they had done, as their mentors had allowed them to. Even their counsel (not advice), and blessings as I set out were cohorts on my journey. The trail through the woods was crowded as I slashed and burned through my younger years.
I love the work of Joseph Campbell. His groundbreaking collation of ancestral wisdom traditions into the Hero’s Journey was a revelation, just like the Star Wars series that it inspired.
At first, it can be a banner to solo explorers that, see, it IS about my individual quest! I CAN do it by myself! But then you see that Peers and mentors, ancestors and teachers, even nature itself, keeps iconic travelers like Luke Skywalker on the path.
Luke’s greatest strength was in his ability to let go, stop fighting, and “use the force”, to accept assistance. In my 20s, and again as an HR director, I felt like Luke at that crossroads.
How many walls must we bang our heads into before we ask someone if they have the key?
At Circles, we share a deep commitment to the concept that none of us can do it alone. Often it’s the space peers give to allow for vulnerable sharing, and therefore resonant learning, that marks this agreement to be helped.
For me, when I refuse to accept help, I am resisting the “force” others can be for me to enjoy the journey, and maybe come out a bit wiser on the other side.
This can come in the form of a new hire who wants what I want for this work and the team. Or the counsel of our stunning group of Guides whose eyes often see what I can’t. The fresh eyes of new colleague. A retired neighbor who knows a gasket from a washer. An assistant who’s willing to take on more.
Help comes in many ways, if only we’re paying attention.