I have often heard people describe someone as being “too proud to get help” or they say “He (or she) has a lot of pride.” The story continues about how this person came to believe they could do things on their own but then eventually found themselves running out of options. They feel stuck and the people who love them are equally feeling the pressure. Believing there is weakness in enlisting the assistance of others, this person travels in a circle hoping the scenery will change. The information that is needed so desperately requires them to reach out to someone with the expertise to make things a little easier but taking that step is difficult.
Pride in its truest definition would not remotely conjure up images of sadness, low self esteem or holding back on decisions. Instead, it is described as relating to self with high importance, self respect, true to position or character, pleasure and satisfaction. With that in mind, it is doesn’t matter which way you want to say it, having pride or being proud is not what is getting in the way of obtaining help or success. It is that human emotion called FEAR. I have spoke often about that emotion in the context of my work and in my personal life as I see how much it impacts us all. However, just as I speak to the issues of fear and low self esteem, I equally have to set the record straight surrounding the use of pride in the equation.
Unemployment, for example, is one of those equations. Pride should not be the excuse that we give when our inability to get what we need is based on too little information and debilitating fear. Fear takes over and then any advice or information given will most likely fall on deaf ears. As family members or friends we can find ourselves in an enabling position, trying to break through, fill in the gaps, offering suggestions, sharing websites and talking about what Susan or Brad did to get out of their rut. Still the fear persists. Being unemployed, underemployed or just plain sick of the current job is not likely to change unless we are willing to get out of the way of ourselves and get to the root of the problem(s).
Everyone needs something or someone to help prop up the spirit, provide clarity, inject experience or perspective, to be a resource. There is no weakness in accessing that support or information; it is how the world operates. We are interdependent on each other for goods, services and companionship. We are never in a position to be the experts on everything and therefore need to build a team. We can still work individually on most life and career matters but we pull in what is necessary when the situation calls for it.
So, my advice is that we call it like it is and say it loud:
It is not pride that is holding me back it is fear! I’m scared that this is all there is. I’m scared about having to talk to people I don’t know. I’m scared about trying to write a resume and cover letter. I’m scared about the prospect of doing an interview. I’m scared about all the things I don’t know. I’m scared about repeating the same mistakes and getting into a job I will hate. I’m scared that I’m too old and nobody will want to hire me. I’m scared I have no value after all this time away from work. I’m scared of going back to school. I’m scared…. and…. I’m tired.
Now, my friend, it is time to ask for help because you have nothing to lose by doing so. There are plenty of people out there with the expertise and know how to get you beyond all of this and back on track. Yes, you have to be selective. There a lot of people calling themselves career coaches who are missing very key areas of expertise; just because I have experienced career transitioning does not make me a career practitioner. (In a later blog I will be explaining just what you want to ask coaches before beginning that partnership) Yes, you may have to make a few calls or emails to get to the right person but in the end it is a hell of a lot better to bounce things off of someone in the day time hours than to be spending another sleepless night trapped inside your own head.
Contact a Certified Career Development Practitioner and be willing to do the work necessary to get from where you are now, to the other side… fulfilling your potential and reflecting with pride on what you have accomplished.
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