You probably think this is a pretty crazy statement coming from a person who makes her living as a personal development coach, but please hear me out!
First, allow me to define the term “Self Help.”
According to Wikipedia, Self Help or Self Improvement is a self-guided improvement, whether emotionally, mentally or intellectually, often with a substantial psychological basis.
Now, allow me to tell you a story…
“My mother was an exceptionally creative talented person; she could knit, sew, crochet, embroider, needlepoint, weave, (you name it – she mastered it.) She mastered the most beautiful and intricate patterns and designs, and if you looked at the back, it was just as perfect as the front. It was a matter of pride for her.
She was also very generous with her work, knitting tiny hats to the babies at the NICU, sweaters to anybody who asked, always keeping her hands busy all this while also working a full-time job. My sisters and I were lucky enough to grow up in a place and time when this was just what you did; getting together and working your craft.
You would think I felt fortunate to have such a talented person to teach me, but that couldn’t be further from my perceived reality. I would try my best to master each craft and failed plenty of times; often yelling at my mother to take over but all she would do, was look at it, make a suggestion or two and then walk away. I, of course, took this as a total disregard for my struggles – I was trying really, really hard and she didn’t care. But in the end, when I calmed down and thought about her suggestions, I would eventually move forward.
Now that I’m all grown up (sort of) and think back to those days by the sewing machine or knitting needles, I feel incredibly grateful to her.”
My perspective and lesson learned
When you read through the definition of self-help above, and read the story of my childhood experience, I was trying my very best to master each craft and failed repeatedly. But you will also realize, what ultimately helped me move forward was implementing my mother’s suggestions. Today, I am very grateful to her as she taught me that the challenges we face are all a part of the learning and growing process. Through that experience, I have learned that when you are in honesty trying your best, yet getting nowhere fast – asking a trusted individual for a perspective and guidance could be the key to move forward.
Why I feel the term self-help books are overrated.
When we struggle to move past an issue, and nothing seems to help, it ends up exactly as the term goes “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” It is at this point, we recognize the need to find a different path and that we cannot move forward by self-help. We need a completely different and neutral way of assessing the situation and possible ways to get ourselves unstuck.
Limitations of books
Hence, my reason for believing self-help books are overrated and not always advisable. When you feel stuck and try to search for the answers in a book, you are typically not able to switch off your own apprehension, assumptions, or past experiences. After you tried several options, I think it’s time to look out the window, search for a new path and a fresh idea.
With a little help from my friends!
Few individuals can merely pick up a book and find exactly that nugget of truth that moves the needle in the right direction. Most of us find more clarity when we talk it through with another human because the path forward often presents itself as we are verbalizing our struggles.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself banging your head against the wall, I advise practicing the following:
- Practice self-care – Take a bath, go for a walk, buy some flowers, schedule a massage, extend the deadline, or what “being good to yourself” means to you.
- Be patient with yourself – Know that creating new habits, learning a new skill, etc. doesn’t happen overnight and you are doing your best.
- Reach out – call a trusted friend or your certified coach, talk through your stumbling blocks, so you genuinely find the solutions that intuitively move you forward. Caution, you need to be sure, whoever you seek your guidance from is indisputably neutral and non-judgmental, so you are free to discover what is the perfect solution for you.
I hope you found these few suggestions helpful and would love to hear how you apply them or share additional methods that you find valuable and straightforward to implement.
Make today awesome!
PS: These suggestions are not limited to your personal life, they can easily adapt to your job or business.