A surprising reminder of why it’s good to ask for help.

If I told you that someone who’s about to repair something has said they won’t be able to do it for a few days as they have to wait for a part to come in, you might imagine I was talking about a washing machine or a car.

Probably not a surgeon.

However this is precisely the situation my Mum finds herself in.


She fell over last Friday, badly breaking her elbow, and the experts have agreed that rather than trying to fix the complicated fracture, they’ll fit her with a replacement joint.

And since apparently elbows aren’t the kind of thing you keep sitting around on a shelf, they’ve ordered one which will arrive at the end of the week.

Now she’s in surprisingly good spirits back in the UK, which is good to know since my brother Geoff and I are both in California.

Geoff’s here to help me through the final stages of putting together the new “Nudge Your Way to Happiness” book (which is coming on really well given the large amount of other things going on at the same time).

When I spoke to Mum yesterday – and thank goodness for mobile phones which allowed me to chat to her in hospital from my park bench on the Stanford campus – I of course said I was sorry that Geoff and I couldn’t be with her.

What was interesting, though – and it’s a thought I hope might turn this from my personal story into something of wider value to you – is that the absence of her two sons has actually ‘created space’ for other people to step up.

Neighbours have been to visit her.

Friends have offered to help, as have other family members.

And the thing is, people love to help.

We often talk here about the kinds of positive feelings you and I may experience when we lend a hand to someone in need.

But perhaps we don’t recognise quite so often that it can be good to create the opportunities for others to step in and help us.

Asking for help can be surprisingly hard, but it can also be surprisingly rewarding.

As a child you were probably told you had to stand on your own two feet, that if something needed doing it was up to you to do it.

But I’m here to remind us both today that you can’t always do everything yourself and that when you ask for help, others very often see your request as a gift you’re giving THEM.

Even if they don’t say as much, many are grateful for the opportunity to lend a hand.

So if you find yourself struggling with some kind of load today, whether it’s physical or emotional, why not do someone else a favour by asking them to help?

7 thoughts on “A surprising reminder of why it’s good to ask for help.

  1. Hey Jon,
    Sorry about your mom being hurt and off her feet. I am glad about the reframing perspective on the situation. It does feel good to help others so in turn you must allow others the same reward. I have difficulty doing it too but it definitely builds or strengthens friendships as we all want our friends to be as vulnerable as we try not to appear. If they weren’t vulnerable, we couldn’t help. As I get older I am learning more.
    Best wishes to your mom,

  2. HI Jon,
    One thing I have particularly enjoyed in communicating with yourself in California is how sometimes you make me feel that we are walking alongside each other on a mutual journey learning things together as we wonder along.
    You often point things out but it is refreshing to see that you too learn from your experiences such as enabling friends and neighbours of your mother to have the time to visit her without you monopolising all her visiting time.
    This gives a real personal feel to your regular comments which I truly enjoy.
    Thank you for this positive imagery and keep on with your masterpiece and good luck with completing it! I bet having your brother to help you is a great relief!

  3. An interesting view.
    For me when things like this happen it puts life into perspective I realise what is most important and what can wait. Life is too short, material things are of no importance when people are suffering . Ok other people can step up to help but it’s not the same as having family around just when you need them most.
    Get on a plane go to her in her hour of need, tell her you love her and hold her hand.

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