September 14 , 2018 /


I subscribe to several weekly emails from people who usually have something of value to share. Being a deliberate, lifelong learner, I relish the opportunity to pick up information that will help me and others to learn, grow and change.  One of those people is Whitney Johnson who, in this week’s email newsletter, offered up this gem:

  • “Our friends want to help us. And yet we don’t ask? Is it because we don’t want to appear weak?”

My immediate response was that I am one of those “hate to bother other people” persons, especially when I think I am inconveniencing someone.  And yet I don’t mind being asked for help. It’s a little weird and I’m not sure of the origin, and will explore further later. A little sitting with that thought actually revealed yes, it probably is about being afraid to appear weak, that and ego.  It might even be a little bit of a gender thing with boys and men, you know, the macho thing.

Here is my version from this past week.  I have lived with Atrial Fibrillation for several years, a condition that affects some 3-6 million people in the U.S.  For many, it’s not a big deal, as it can be self-correcting and not all that serious for your heart to skip a beat or two and be out of rhythm occasionally. There’s also medication that helps.  Lately, my symptoms took a downturn and one of the telltales is what would be ordinary exertion resulted in a shortness of breath  So, we happen to be on a cross-country trip from CA to ME and stopped in Oklahoma City to visit several family members.  I seemed to be getting a little worse and my wife tells our daughter who is married to an outstanding cardiologist and he, of course, wants to help. I was reluctant to ask. She was not.

I accepted his welcome intervention and he first determined that I was in constant AFib and handed me off to one of his partners for a procedure known as a cardioversion that was completed this past Monday morning. A cardioversion is a procedure where electric shocks are sent to your heart via electrodes on chest and back. You’re sufficiently unconscious not to remember anything. Suffice to say, after three days of recovery, and some additional meds, I am back in rhythm and feeling much better. Our son-in-law went out of his way to be sure I was getting top-notch attention and care, took the time to arrange tests and get the results in a timely fashion. I am grateful beyond words!  Lesson learned?  Ask for what you need from those in a position to help. There’s no future in martyrdom.



Comments (2)

  1. First of all, glad you’re doing well and that your wife asked!

    I have a post in progress that yours reminds me of… A few years ago I did a lot of employee engagement surveys and there were two questions that always stood out to me: I would stop what I’m doing to help my colleague? My colleague would stop what they’re doing to help me? In every single organization I surveyed, question #1 got a dramatically higher score than question #2. Like you said, we’re willing to help but are unsure of how we’ll be received. Will we be seen as weak? I sincerely hope that people start reaching out more. I think we’re in agreement that we are here for others and they, in turn, are here for us.


  2. Thanks. When we are here for others and vice-versa, everything seems to go much more easily. That’s enuf evidence for me.

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