On Not Being a Lonely Island


I’ve mentioned today’s topic on more than one occasion, but it is so important, it bears repeating. So here it goes…

It is super tough to grow your business past a certain point without help from another human being. Period. When you are on an island of one, it can be difficult to step back and make some of the decisions you need to because you are too close to your work.

And then, of course, there are the things that you literally just cannot complete on your own. Maybe the project is too large for one person to possibly complete solo or maybe the timeframe is too tight or maybe…well, you get the point. The worst part of all this is that it can be hard to recognize that you need help with something when you are so used to always working by yourself.Of course I can do this, it will just take me a long time. No problem.” You think to yourself. And then eventually you become a scrunched up stressball and you realize that you might just be headed down the wrong path.

That’s what recently happened to me. Here’s the story…

Right after Christmas break ended and everyone was back to work, I had a moment that involved  a little crying. Okay, a lot of crying. I couldn’t believe the amount of work that had to be done (by little old me) in such a short time period. And somehow, it had all caught up to me in this one moment, sitting on the couch, watching a movie. I cried it out and the next day, I reached out to a couple of my friends to ask if they could help me with one of the big things on my to do list (which may or may not be that secret thing I’ve been working on for Altitude Summit). They agreed and I immediately felt a huge weight off my shoulders.  They came over about a week later to help me tackle said project and as we were measuring a very large piece of fabric for what seemed like the 100th time, a million things went through my mind. These were the three main thoughts…

  1. I totally couldn’t have completed this without their help and smiling faces. I would have gone crazy.
  2. I really should have reached out to them sooner.
  3. Why don’t I do this more often?

The “Why didn’t I think of this before / Why don’t I reach out more often” part was a light bulb moment for me.

I cannot do everything on my own. Most things? Yes. All things? No!

Chances are, the exact same thing is true for you. So this is your reminder. You do not have to be on that island alone. Invite people you respect and admire to collaborate with you. Support you. Be your sounding board. Whatever you need.

Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. And often.

21 comments | Click here to reply

🙂 i’m going to make you a poster:
“freaking out?
call j + c, NOW. ”

funny, i just did a post about our “panic” condo too!
Jordan Brantley recently posted..panic is part of my process

Jordan Brantley | January 15th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

RT @papernstitch: The Art of Asking for Help: I’ve mentioned today’s topic on more than one occasion, but it is… http://t.co/cwdFeunZ

(@jordanbrantley) (@jordanbrantley) | January 15th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

convo* hah

Jordan Brantley | January 15th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Haha. You’re right. I should. And heading over now to check out that panic post.

papernstitch | January 15th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I second Jordan’s idea! And so glad you are using this lesson to encourage others to do the same. It was a ton of fun and next time don’t wait for the “big cry” to reach out!

Caroline Winegeart | January 15th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Enjoyed this Read ♥ http://t.co/j4VQzuyz

Linda Mendible (@LindaMendible) | January 15th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Definitely won’t wait next time Caroline. Thanks again for all your help. See you next week.

papernstitch | January 15th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

This is so true! Besides, having help on big projects can be fun. Sharing and laughing over something that would have otherwise been a huge stress on one person is a fantastic trade off.
Anna Simmonds recently posted..Today, in photos

Anna Simmonds | January 15th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Yes, yes, yes times A MILLION!!

I’m just starting to learn this too – even just having someone who so getsit to email and ask, “So, am I crazy or…?”

And collaborating *with the right people* is also key.

SO GLAD to have you in my circle 😉 and I cannot wait to hug you at ALT!
tiffany han recently posted..I’ve been wanting to tell you…

tiffany han | January 15th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

great reminder B!
Pamela Bates/Bates Mercantile Co. recently posted..Premade Logo Design for Etsy Shop or Business, Logo Design, Nautical Vintage Logo, Seafaring Shops by BatesMercantileCo

Pamela Bates/Bates Mercantile Co. | January 16th, 2013 at 12:02 am

Yes! Collaborating with the right people is key, Tiffany! P.S. Feel free to send those “Am I crazy” emails my way anytime. 🙂

papernstitch | January 16th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Oh, B. Be careful what you wish for… 😉
tiffany han recently posted..Why quitting your day job is NOT the answer.

tiffany han | January 16th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT? I know you are right. I have been reminded of this a lot lately, actually. Yet, it always seems to slip my mind about 30 seconds after I am reminded. Why are we SO set on doing everything ourselves? I think I am going to write this on a sticky note and stick it to my door so I see it when I leave the house every morning…

Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Cynthia | January 16th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

On Not Being a Lonely Island http://t.co/EoKevBou via @sharethis

Leslie Kill (@AuntMatildas) | January 16th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for sharing this story, it’s a good reminder!
Leslie recently posted..Gears and Cogs necklace Steampunk Dragonfly antique silver by AuntMatildasJewelry

Leslie | January 16th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Thanks so much for sharing that. It’s something I need to remember often! Something I have especially been learning right now, as I’m trying to learn about blogging and having a business, so I can start out on the right foot in a few months!

Elora | January 17th, 2013 at 10:47 am

Excellent post from @papernstitch on not being afraid to ask for help (something I’ve been thinking a lot about) http://t.co/BvpyvRTR

Michael Nobbs (@michaelnobbs) | January 17th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Are you working on the art of asking for help? http://t.co/SehDpgzP

(@IndieMade) (@IndieMade) | January 18th, 2013 at 7:35 pm

hahaha, k. This is funny as I read this now. The night before I left for Alt, I still had 70 garlands to make. I was crying. I was a mess. At 8:30 that night, my doorbell rang and my friend Kathryn was on my porch with her sewing machine. She stayed and sewed and stuffed pillow boxes until 3am!!!

Why don’t we reach out to people?! I need to get my butt in gear.
Lexy | The Proper Pinwheel recently posted..The Ins & Outs of The Hello Social

Lexy | The Proper Pinwheel | February 5th, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Sounds like you have a good friend there Lexy. The garlands turned out amazing!

papernstitch | February 6th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

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