My last breakup felt impossibly hard for me. At its worst, I infrequently felt like myself and struggled to disentangle big changes that had felt like a packaged deal - letting go of a move back to CO and transitioning away from a 5-year career and into running my own business. At its best, I felt a flow in my life that resembled discovering puzzle pieces that I had seemingly been reserving the space to discover because they just fit.
I was assisting a course in late June at the organization where I am actively training as a coach. People who have attended courses at CTI know there is magic in the room. I was inspired in a different way from my time in the rooms as a student - I believed the magic. I was open to letting myself be seen, less to those in the room and more to a community of women that had inspired me throughout different chapters of my life. I emailed the group of hand selected women a call to help support me in breaking a specific pattern in my relationship, which you can read here, if interested. As part of that email, I agreed that I would share what I learned over the allocated 60 days. This post is an attempt to do that, but I fear that my words cannot do the experience justice.
What I learned and what unfolded
There was an overwhelming response. My best friend responded 3 days later telling me my link was broken because the current month was already snatched. No, people love to help, really.
I received an unexpected gift that was a common theme. People provided a mirror for who I was in their eyes at a time I felt like very little because my heart was broken. One by one, these women built me back up which was not a specific ask.
I felt loved and embraced by my community and I did not always act gracefully in unwinding from my ex, but I realized I was my harshest critic in how I approached each day. I gained confidence. The confidence allowed me to reach out to people repeatedly, even on days other than those allocated to a specific person.
I was fearless in asking for help in other areas of my life because this experiment granted me ease and excitement. All of which was critical to formalizing my business. I tapped into a few mentors in the coaching world, all of which said yes. I got more opinions than I probably needed on my legal business structure, but I needed to feel comfortable and knowledgeable on that decision. I tapped into professional contacts to review my new workshop. And those are just a few examples.
I developed what can best be described as a new lens to see others asks for help, even when it was not explicit. I had opportunities to show up for others. Sometimes showing up was just being present because my ask created safety and trust with my women tribe.
Every woman showed up differently and beautifully. I was blessed with video check-ins, photo moments throughout the day, the reenactment of memories together, the sharing of bold steps that women had taken on our day together, poems written for me, reminders on how conversations I shared with women had pushed them in new directions I had not known...the list goes on.
I set a goal of 60 days and emailed 84 women to hit that goal. It was clear that not all women fit into the close friends camp and I am so grateful that I reached far and stretched myself. I was shocked to be supported by some of the women who signed up for a day and was blessed to have them back in my life for a whole day. I felt connected to something bigger than me.
There was no definition of perfect. Almost no one forgot about our day and because the ask was two-sided - you hold me for the day and I will do the same - the benefits still existed. I held myself to the same intention and it was nice to focus on something outside myself when bits of me felt disastrous.
There is a universal need to ask for help that spans personal and professional lives which became increasingly clear. Though my original ask included a challenge that the women identify an area where they needed help and act on it, very few did just that. There is room to educate people on how to ask and why it’s important. I want to be that person.
I am not alone. Every woman has had to pull themselves out of the gutter. Every woman has had a breakup where they gave more than they should have and showed up less than gracefully. More tactical, but worth its weight in gold.
My commitments on how I will carry this forward
I am kicking off a workshop next month called Building Courage Through the Art of Asking for Help. This experiment has proven to me that there is real power in asking for help. I’ve developed a framework and skills to bring that power to the forefront of our lives. I am driven to be the person who initiates a conversation on this topic and eliminates the fear in asking for help. This is critical to people in transitional moments who face depths of uncharted territory.
I have a new 30-day challenge beginning next month. Starting my own business has raised a lot of unforeseen challenges, but the biggest is the isolation in working from home by myself every day. The days I do not have an active coaching session feel especially hard. Part of my journey includes the reality that I do not have a client session every single day. That will take time. And I can tap into my community in the interim to create opportunities for me to coach every single day. When I coach, I vibrate with confidence. I need that.
If you are one of the women who supported me, thank you.