Self Sufficiency Syndrome

If there is one thing I know to be true about high-achieving women it’s this.

We CAN do it on our own.

We have already. We’ve proven we can make stuff happen. We are problem solvers. Fighters. Bring it on baby!

But at a certain point the very thing that we are best at – making it happen – can become our biggest burden.

I had an amazing conversation a couple of years back at a mastermind with two of my fav people – Samantha Bennett and Penelope Jane Smith. One of those ‘on a break in the hallway’ conversations, just off the cuff.

We got to talking about what Samantha called Self-Sufficiency Syndrome – where we are SO good at taking care of things on our own, that we don’t think we need help and nor do the people around us!

At the time I was about 2 years post divorce, and had been sharing how the hardest thing about that journey was when people would say to me:

“Tina, I’m so sorry to hear about everything… how are the girls? How is Dan? (my ex)… I know you will be fine.”

And every time they said that a tiny part of me inside would cry out “What about me? Why don’t they ask how I’m doing?”

They didn’t ask because they assumed I would be fine – they were simply responding to the way I had always shown up! That I had it all together and didn’t need help from anyone.

There I was, a newly single mom of 2 young girls with a business to run that is the sole provider of our income. And I was SOOO used to being the one to take care of things on my own that it didn’t even occur to me to ASK for more help. I didn’t know how to RECEIVE help when it was offered. My default response at that time was:

“I’m fine”

Fine – the other 4 letter word.

My divorce showed me that yes – I COULD handle it all on my own. I was. I did. And I’m beyond proud of that.

I did have amazing support in my business during that time. My team helped to keep the engine running and I’m not sure it would have otherwise.

And yet, I still felt like I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. That I had to figure it all out on my own. That it was up to me to keep pushing, or it might just fall apart. I felt the weight of responsibility to both my business and my team, and it became a pretty lonely place.

I remember asking myself one day – what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if I didn’t have to carry the ‘weight of the world’ on my own?

How different would my life be then? And is it even possible? Hmmm

I’ve spent the past couple of years fumbling around in this space.

Learning how to ask for help when I need it – especially in those moments when I’m feeling confused and stuck. Sometimes it’s help I pay for (great coaching has been my lifeline this past year) and sometimes it’s just me reaching out to a friend for a conversation.

Learning how to say yes when help is offered. And feeling bloody uncomfortable every step of the way! Also realizing that yes, I’m great at receiving paid help (ie: via my team) but horrible at receiving help without payment (there’s a whole other conversation for another time…)

I have by no means mastered this – my default is always self-sufficiency mode and I need a loving smack upside the head at times to shift this… but I have to tell you, something started to shift this past year.

I started having REAL conversations. I started facing the things I had been avoiding. I started to get real with myself – and others – about stuff I had been tolerating. I made changes in my business and life as a result of this.

It was also through these conversations that I started to see more clearly the work that I’m meant to do. And that there is no way in hell I can do it alone. Nor do I want to.

The truth is – great missions require a great deal of support.

I’ve already proven that I can do this on my own – now it’s time to prove what we can do together.

THIS is my growth edge – I’m curious if this is something that you can relate to?

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