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It’s OK To Ask For Help Sometimes

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It’s so funny how we can get into routines and we get used to doing things “our own way”.

My husband and I are both a bit stubborn when it comes to our ideas of “the best way” to do something.

When I was building my pond, I had it all mapped out in my mind how I was going to do it and what it looked like. But then I hit an area that was hard as rock and my little shovel was only shaving off the dirt.

It was going to take me forever just to dig out this one large section. I had already dug out the outline on top and had dug about a foot down. And I had dug out the other side down about three feet, but there was this huge bolder like bulge in between.

I was so tired, hot and sweaty, so I finally gave in and asked my husband for help. I explained in detail what I needed him to do. I just wanted him to dig out the area I couldn’t because I just wasn’t strong enough to get it done.

I also explained not to go any further than the outline I had already dug at the top as it would weaken the sides of the pond. I had it all mathematically and systematically figured out so it would be a strong and solid foundation for what I was trying to create.

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Well, my husband had his own idea on what he thought I “really” needed and what he felt was “the best way” to do it. Which obviously was not what I asked for, nor was it what I had pictured in my head.

He got out a pickaxe and started hacking away fast and heavy at the big boulder of hard dirt. So much for what I had pictured in my head. He got a huge chunk of it demolished but because he was just out to destroy, he didn’t pay any attention to what I had explained I needed.

He pickaxed the side of the pond as well and it started to cave in. That’s when I had to stop him and just say thank you for what he was able to break down. He wanted to continue as he was really enjoying the destruction, but he was now damaging the pond more than helping me.

After he left I had to take stock of what had just happened. I was upset at first because I now had to revise my plan and redo the one wall. It’s not like I could put the dirt back, so I just had to make the pond wider and work with what I was left with.

But then I realized that in my husband’s mind, he had helped me in his own way. He saw the problem as one dimensional – big hard rocky area needs to be removed. And he removed it the best way he saw fit.

I was looking at it as three dimensional – remove large obstruction, keep the side at a specific grade to maintain support, etc.. So when he jumped in and did it completely different than how I saw it being done, I freaked out a little. Then I just let it go because he was trying to help and I had asked him to help.

It wasn’t that I physically couldn’t do it. I could have kept digging away, but it would have taken me hours of my time and my muscles would have probably been screaming long before I got it accomplished.

So it was more of me taking advantage of the time and opportunity rather than me pushing along and doing it all by myself. It was a weekend and my husband was available to help. Plus he was a big strong man that could get it done faster.

Yes, I could have done it. Yes, it would have taken me longer and been more physically challenging. But there was really nothing stopping me from doing it myself. However, I knew I could use the help.

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It’s very hard for me to ask for help.

Somewhere in my childhood it must have been drilled into my belief system around the concept of hard work and personal growth. I’m not sure where the idea of doing it myself without asking for help came from, but that is a belief I have been trying to change recently.

I may have thought I was “wonder woman” when I was younger and could do all sorts of things by myself, but now that I’m not so young and athletic, I want to work smarter not harder.

I see this with a lot of horse owners too. They get a horse, read some books, listen to friends for tidbits here and there, but don’t really get any professional help with their horse issues because they want to do it themselves. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I get it. I totally get that. But why take years trying to figure something out with your horse when you can get a little help that will only take a few weeks or months to resolve the issue. With professional help a small issue may take a week or two to fix. A large issue may take a few months to a year.

I’ve learned that I’d rather ask for help with a problem or an issue from an expert who can help me resolve it in a short time so I can then take the remainder of that time and enjoy myself. Even if I know I can do it myself, I’ve learned that I’d rather ask for help and save myself the time and frustration.

Even though I am a true handy woman around the house and can fix almost everything, I am the first person to pick up the phone and call an electrician or a plumber before trying to fix major issues myself. Little ones, sure. Big one, nope.

Time is precious to me. And spending quality time with my husband, family, and especially my horse is also precious to me. So if I have to call in some reinforcements to help, which gives me more quality time to spend with loved ones, I’m all over it.

I bet you think that since I’m a horse trainer and I’ve owned and worked with horses for the last 50 years (wow) that I never ask for help when it comes to my horses.

Nope! Again, it’s a matter of time, opportunity, and what’s best for my horse.

Here’s another example:

My father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer recently and my husband and I have been spending a lot of time with him and his family. Our priorities have change for obvious reasons. Which has meant I’ve spent less time with my horse Merlin.

Then my father-in-law went downhill fast and home hospice was called in. He passed away about two weeks after the first call to hospice. This all seemed to happen very quickly. Now there is so much more to do to help his wife and the family.

The last month of his life everyone was in panic mode. We’ve all been living day to day trying to deal with all the stuff that happens at a family members end of life. But now the franticness is over and we are dealing with all the procedures, paperwork, and depression that goes along with losing a loved one.

That being said, I know it will be another month of supporting my husband and his family with all the “things” that have to be done and with learning a new way of moving forward without his father. And I know that means less time with my horse for the next month.

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So I asked for help.

I asked the barn manager, who knows Merlin, interacts with him daily, and who Merlin likes, to give him some special attention for the next month while I’m away. She is a young trainer and she really loves horses. That’s what matters the most, her heart.

So for the next month she will be working with Merlin on stuff he already knows from our training. Plus I’ve asked her to work on something we started but couldn’t finish – trailer loading.

You saw in an earlier blog that I had started working with Merlin on getting him used to walking around and being close to a few trailers. However, I don’t personally own a trailer nor a truck to pull a trailer.

Therefore, I would have to lease a truck and trailer from someone in order to finish training Merlin on loading, unloading, and hauling in a trailer. His breeder sold him to me saying that he had been trailered before and had no issues. Fingers crossed that he remembers and has good memories of these experiences.

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As with my husband’s story above, It’s not that I can’t do it, but the opportunity and timing is good to ask for help from the barn manager for Merlin’s sake. I want him to have the extra attention since I can’t be there. I don’t want him to feel abandoned or alone and missing my attention. Plus, she owns a trailer and truck and can easily work with Merlin on this one specific issue.

I’m taking advantage of the opportunity and timing. It is a good situation for me, Merlin, and the barn manager. I trust her not to harm Merlin because I know she has a good heart and at the end of the day, she really loves horses.

I’ll let you know in a month, how it worked out. I’m sure it will all be good.

So, next time you get stuck on a problem or an issue, you’re not sure how to proceed, or it’s taking you too long to fix, I would suggest that you call in a professional to help you. Even if it is just one little issue.

Wouldn’t you rather be spending that next year relaxing and enjoying your time with your horse instead of spending it trying to fix an issue? I would.

I will be spending this month helping family deal with the loss of a loved one and Merlin will spend it enjoying this month with a friend learning something new.

Until next week, Happy Horses!

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