I was brought up to be fiercely independent – not needing to rely on anyone or anything. I think many people can relate to this because it is part of our culture of independence in America.
Around 2010, JP Thompson – a student of mine, showed me how wrong my thinking had been and that it is ok to ask for assistance and to be interdependent. That paradigm shift was life changing for me. Without it, I would not be celebrating the fifth anniversary of BONSAI this month.

There are so many people on this journey who have helped transform hundreds of lives, and I am grateful to all of you – my mentors, clients, friends, and most of all, Patrick. You all gave me support, encouragement, advice, opportunity, wisdom, tough feedback when I needed it, and love. Most of all, I am thankful to my heavenly Father for creating me with these gifts and talents and providing wisdom, knowledge and direction when I asked.

Here are some diagnostic questions to see if you suffer from what I did with being too self-reliant:

  • Who or what do you first attribute your successes to – hard work, luck or others?
  • How often have you asked for help in the last 30 days in your work environment?
  • In one minute, how many people can you list who have helped you in your career/business?
  • When you struggle, what is your first inclination – to reach within or go to others?

As I reflected over the last five years, I asked myself what would have happened if certain people weren’t part of the BONSAI story? It really gave me a sense of their impact. I am so thankful for their contributions!

Building a business absolutely takes hard work. But in most cases, it takes much more than that.

One way to look at the dynamic is to look at how you feel when someone asks for your help and then to look at how you feel when you give it to him or her. When we feel like we have to do it all ourselves, we deny others the joy of having a part in both the work and results.

If you are like I was – with that fierce independence, I encourage you to take some easy steps:

  • Ask: “Who do I know with the information I lack and that could help me with this?” Once you have identified this person, seek their input.
  • Ask: “Who do I know that could do this better than me or has more time than I do? Then ask for their assistance.
  • Each day, write down the name of one person who assisted you in some way.
  • Look for ways to assist others and offer your help – it will reinforce the concept of the joy of giving.
  • Ask our Lord specifically for what you need to get the job done (knowledge, insight, doors opened, etc.).

I am so thankful I learned this lesson, because as I embark on a new significant project, I am realizing quickly the help I will need to plow new ground, and I am finding people who are more than willing to assist. Thankfully, I can look back on the history of BONSAI as a powerful reminder of what a wonderful journey it can be when you let God lead and bring others into the fold to help.

Your challenge: This week, find one person to help, one to ask for help, and one to thank.