Summer shares a lesson learned helping yourself first.

Getting help is wonderful. But before you ask for help, exhaust your own resources. There is so much you can do for yourself. You can make a plan for your life, you can decide to stay in school and work hard. You can choose to have a positive attitude. You can create your own opportunities through your hard work. You can rely on your internal resources. So, before you reach out for help, look inward towards the resources you have – they are many.

I’ve been hurt and disappointed by people I thought I didn’t need to ask for help because they ought to know I needed it. That experience taught me to start with myself. Then when I had exhausted what I could do on my own, I could reach out to others for help. Those people having seen what I had done to help myself, they were more willing to help me. There have been countless times in my life when a teacher, professor or even a total stranger has stepped in to help me. But it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t put in the work.

Another important thing to remember before you ask for help, sometimes you will ask but the help doesn’t come. Then what? First, you accept that disappointment comes with the territory. It is an inevitable part of our lives. But, don’t use that disappointment as an excuse not to play your part in improving your life. Seize the opportunity to do something to advance you towards your goals.

The principle of helping myself first before asking for help has served me well throughout my life and career. It didn’t shield me from disappointment. However, it allowed me to lean on my own resources to find solutions to whatever challenge I was facing at the time. 

Which resources do you have at your disposal that you can use to improve your life? Identify and use them before you ask for help.

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