(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day: the 17th of every month, and reminds me to be grateful for my joy-filled life. In December, I get to celebrate both my birth and death days on the same day. Joyce Wycoff)
"No matter what your condition in life,
you can always be grateful."
-- David Meltzer, Co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing
The podcast with David Meltzer on Erik Huberman’s “HawkeTalk” was a happenstance. I had miles to go and had run out of my favorite podcast episodes. Meltzer was a sports guy, a rich sports guy, not my normal fount of wisdom, but there I was. Plus, one of my repeating life lessons is that you never know where wisdom and inspiration will show up. Once again it happened; listening to David Meltzer changed my trajectory.
Perhaps I was intrigued by his stated mission: empower OVER 1 billion people to be happy. And also by his focus on gratitude and his primary advice: ask for help. Everyone needs help and, if we believe we live in abundant Universe, there are people in the world who can help us. All we have to do is ask.
Like a lot of us, I grew up in a world that believed that asking for help was a sign of weakness, in schools where asking for help was often called “cheating,” in jobs where asking for help could be seen as not being competent.
Several years ago, I got to see the other side. I lived with my favorite aunt for two years. She was the person who took in kids who had no place else to go; the one who baked cookies and always had another place at the table for anyone who was hungry. In our final time together though, she had become frail and needed care. Family and friends came from all around to help, to show their love and repay in some way all that she had given them. But, she had a difficult time accepting our help. She needed to be the giver and never realized what a gift she was giving us to be able to take care of her in small repayment of all of her kindness.
It's easy to understand that asking for help is a gift, since it is an implication of trust and respect. However, it takes courage to risk the possibility that the answer might be “no” or that we would be seen as weak or needy.
Jeffrey Davis from Tracking Wonder states, “Social psychology shows people are eager to help—if you know how to ask.”
Davis goes on to explain our reluctance to ask for help, “The mere thought of asking for help can eat away at our ego, undermine our confidence, make us question our abilities, and even paralyze us with anxiety. Yet in modern life—at a time when we are more digitally connected and emotionally detached than ever—the stark reality is that no one can go it alone.”
When David Meltzer encouraged his audience to start asking for help, I felt like he was speaking directly to me, pointing out a weakness of mine that needed work.
So, I made a commitment to practice asking … 365 times!
At first, I thought I would find a way to ask for something every day and then realized that was a bit whacko. But, I liked the number and set forth to figure out how to ask for what I wanted in a way that might elicit an occasional “yes.” Surely, if I asked enough, someone would say, "yes."
Jeffrey Davis had some great tips … until I got to #3 Make it personal. Don’t ask for help over email or text. I almost abandoned the project right there. Getting a “no” or a no response by email is relatively painless. To actually call someone would put a whole lot more skin in the game. Plus, I don’t really know some of the people I want to ask for help.
By this time, I was on #31 of my goal to ask 365 times. While I had received two substantially positive responses, I realized I was approaching this project with an expectation of failure. I was playing safe when this deserved so much more. If I wasn't willing to risk more, why should I expect someone to support me?
This is where I am today and I’m making a commitment to learn more, risk more, be more personal, find a way to be clear in what I’m asking for and know how to craft win-win asks that have a better chance to succeed.
One of the reasons I'm willing to keep going on this project which is definitely outside my comfort zone is my passion for the project I want help with: Gratitude Mojo ... your transformation journey for a better life. For the past 13 months, Lynne Snead and I have been creating a journal/workbook focused on gratitude, self-awareness, and self-appreciation based on ancient wisdom and current neuroscience. We have seen major shifts in our own lives and in the lives of a few friends who have been on the journey with us.
The deeper we go, the more we find that GRATITUDE is the foundation of everything ... happiness, health, success, relationships ... even huge things like peace, and climate change. What we are grateful for, we protect.
The journal/workbook is in final edit, the website will be done in days, and there is now a newsletter to support people on their journey into gratitude practice, which we believe is as necessary as brushing your teeth ... and almost as easy. However, current neuroscience has revealed that it's not as simple as what is commonly claimed. Noting 2-3 things a day you're grateful for is a lovely start, but there is more and doing the right things for a few minutes a day can make a major difference in the results you see.
So here's my ask #31: Please subscribe to the Gratitude Mojo Newsletter. It's free and will help you deepen your understanding and practice of gratitude. Eventually, you may want to buy the journal/workbook ... subscribing now will provide you with inspiration, research and notices of the upcoming release of the journal/workbook and webinars.
More next month.
7 Keys To Asking For What You Really Want (So You Get It!) by Dr Margie Warrell, Forbes, April 24, 2013