I love tomatoes. My favorite food in the summer is a salad made with avocados, black olives and tomatoes. I love picking tomatoes off the vine and eating them like an apple for a snack. I also make a killer cucumber and tomato salad.
For these reasons, I need fresh tomatoes. Yes, it is a need. Not want, need.
Sounds simple enough.
I looked outside at what used to be my garden and see two of my dogs chewing on the grass that has taken over. I also catch them fertilizing the weeds that have invaded.
Not an ideal tomato patch. It needs a lot of cleaning up.
But before I can clean it up, I need to cordon it off. The two big dogs have a way of trampling, fertilizing and marking things; but the little one, well, she was trained by my old pack leader how to pick tomatoes off the vine and eat them.
So before I can plant, I need to clean it up; but before I can clean it up, I need to create a crazy-dog proof fencing.
I say crazy because one dog scales six foot privacy fences and the other can pretty much open any latch man has made.
So I have to build something. I decide a fence with added features on the corners will cure the scaling dog and a couple contraptions on the latch will slow down the other. I need to build a six foot fence and gate that match the existing fencing and gates.
Which means I have to prepare before I build, before I clear, weed, prepare and plant.
Post holes need to be dug, things have to be measured off, materials have to be purchased without the risk of returning because they are the wrong things.
All I wanted was tomatoes.
One simple thing that has turned into a huge to-do list, an overwhelming to do list. The first thing is dig the holes for the posts.
After a couple of weeks, and only being able to dig down 12 inches and they kinda looked in line; I finally gave in and asked for help. I had no choice. If I was going to get my tomatoes this year, then I had to admit I was out of my element here.
I called for backup. I called one of my best friends. I even made the request more urgent by telling him that our 21-year-old son was going to help me build the fence. Yes, my son’s father is one of my best friends.
He is also an expert at cars, building and well, sometimes everything – but that is another story.
He built the deck on the back of the house and many moons ago used to build desks and privacy fences. The man can build.
Yesterday the rest of the post holes were completed then two eight foot and two ten foot posts were set in concrete. I helped, I just want to say. I carried lumber, poured concrete mix, held things straight, strung twine and masterfully added water to the concrete.
I was so excited at how much progress was made in a couple hours with help that when my little buddy (my two year old neighbor) popped his head up and asked, “Whatcha doing?” I had to tell him about the fence, gate and garden. Hey, I was excited and he asked!
Then he asked why, I think a natural response from two year olds, so I told him to keep the doggies out of my tomatoes. I completely lost him then because I said the magic word “doggie” (he loves my dogs) and he was off trying to see them between the fencing.
Today, the bracing goes up and probably the fencing. This means that soon after the gate, clearing, tilling and preparation can be done for planting this weekend!
Now, had I not asked for help, this project could have stretched out indefinitely, which means no fresh tomatoes for me this year.
I am not a person to ask for help easily. I am stubborn. I could justify this not asking by saying other things like I am independent, my dad and ex taught me how to use tools, blah, blah, blah. But let me just cut to the chase – I am stubborn. I want to be able to do things on my own.
It burns me when I cannot.
I put my big girl shoes on and asked for help because I needed it. Sure, I could have done it all myself. It would have taken me a crazy long time to complete and honestly, may not have been as solid as what it is now. I would have wasted a lot of time, money and energy only to have to have it all fall down after I did it on my own.
I’m still breathing after I asked for help.
That’s the other thing – it didn’t kill me to ask for help. No price to pay, no begging, crying, pleading, humiliating sucking up; I just simply had to ask. It was so easy. Why do we set it up to be so difficult? Why do we force this “I can do it all on my own” attitude on ourselves and then when we realize we are out of our league we have to compound the problem by “having” to ask for help?
I didn’t have to – I wanted to. We work well together, he does awesome work and I always, always learn something. I also let him know how much I appreciate his help and expertise. He felt good about being able to help. It was a good thing all the way around.
We are not made to do all things ourselves. We need help. People like to help. We just need to get over it and simply ask. Then those that need the help are connected with those that like to help and guess what – it is a win-win situation!
Where are you stalled? What is some hurdle that you cannot get over to move on with a goal? What is it that you are lacking in order to accomplish this goal? For me it was two things: knowledge and brawn. Look, there is no way I was heaving four 50 pound bags of cement to the back yard. Just wasn’t going to happen.
Figure out where you need the help, get over yourself then ask for help. I know part of it was ego, luckily being only five foot tall there isn’t a lot of ego to get over, but I had to; and once I did, I can see the vision coming together.
I think I might have to put this into practice more often. It feels awesome to know that not only will I be able to plant tomatoes soon, but the gate and fence are going to be solid, well build and look great. What else can I accomplish if I just ask for a little help? What can you?
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer