Doing Things Your Own Way

I get very fed up when I think that it’s obvious that I need help to move on in what I’ve chosen to do yet find that that help is not as forthcoming as I expect it to be. After all, don’t I help whoever I can in any way that I can? So why don’t I get the help that I think I need in the way that I think I need it? Well, over the past few weeks, I think I’ve found the answer to that, at least for me.

The first of these is that I find actually asking for help to be extremely difficult. It’s a sign of vulnerability and, as anyone who really knows me will be aware, I don’t do vulnerability. I know why but, in this case, the knowing why has still made it hard to move on from those circumstances. Another reason is that I enjoy the challenge of change and need to both celebrate and be in charge of the process. Thus, I enjoy learning new things and doing it for myself. So, when I published my first two books, that’s what I did; organising it all and paying someone to set the manuscripts up in the appropriate software.

Yet, it is good to know that there are precedents for what you’re doing. Indeed, I remember, over 35 years ago, working on one of the early city farms and discussing just that with a good friend of mine, the inestimable Mike Primarolo. I remember saying that it would be good to see a template for what we were doing. His reply was that, not only were we walking the road, but that we were building it at the same time. I now realise that those are circumstances under which I thrive. Indeed they were central to my career in the voluntary sector. Either there wasn’t much in the way of a template or, what there was, had been discarded for some reason. That sort of challenge makes me determined to do something to make it work and, quickly, determine just how this should be done. In fact, I enjoy doing things my way.

Yet when I am in, what I feel to be a more commercial arena, asking becomes even more difficult. Until recently, that is, when someone said to me, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no”. That statement brought me up short and made me realise the problem. People, after all, aren’t mind readers. Yours truly included. So, if you put on a big front, people will often respond to that by accepting it. Fortunately for me, some were available and they persisted.

That persistence helped me to see things differently and what I thought that I didn’t want to do, I did. The result has been that some of those doors that I felt were closed to me (they were, I closed them) have opened (they always were) and I am on the right road. It’s one where I can see others doing similar things, albeit maybe, in different ways. It’s early days and I’m still reluctant to “count my chickens”, however, if this carries on, I do feel that I will look back on the past few months as that period when I realised that the road ahead had already been built. I just needed my own route map.


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