I was just thinking the other day about what is the one thing that really helps in getting goals accomplished. I mean, besides the act of taking concrete steps forward towards a goal that you’ve set. Sometimes just taking action or moving forward isn’t enough.
Usually, to get something big accomplished, we have to move beyond ourselves. We have to grow into a bigger, better person who is capable of accomplishing that goal that we have set. How do you take that step? How do you “become” more than what you “are” at this point?
Easy. You ask for help.
Help? Am I crazy? You want to accomplish your goal on your own. You want to be a self-made person, right?
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is admit that you don’t have all the answers. And the second most important thing is to go looking for those answers.
The way to go looking for answers is by asking for help.
Remember, though, asking for help is not asking someone to do it for you. Most writers have heard the following comment: “I have this great idea. Why don’t I tell it to you and you write it and we’ll split the profits?” That’s not asking for help. That’s asking someone to do your job. (Writers usually have a backlog of ideas and don’t need yours….)
When you are asking for help, you are asking for directions. Sometimes you will be given a blueprint to follow. Sometimes, you will be coached and directed step by step. And sometimes, help is just in the form of someone pointing “go that way”.
The important thing is to ask for the help. Put it out there. Ask your friends. Post it on your social media.
People actually like helping other people.
When you get an answer, be gracious. Even if it isn’t the answer you are looking for. Remember, everyone else is busy and probably has their own questions that they are looking to be answered.
Over a year ago, I was looking to see if I could sit on another playwright’s workshop. It wasn’t a specific playwright — I wanted to see any playwright’s workshop. I had decided that I needed to see the workshop process to understand it and move to the next level in my writing.
It took me weeks of building up the nerve to ask a former teacher if he knew any playwrights that would be willing to let me sit in on a workshop of one of their plays. He didn’t know anyone but suggested that I contact Erin Brubacher at Tarragon Theatre. I thanked him and then did nothing. It had taken all my emotional energy to reach out to him and I wasn’t ready to do it again. Sometimes being an introvert sucks!
A few months later, I was at workshop and got to talking to the person beside me who mentioned that Tarragon does occasionally do workshops and invites the public to it. When I followed up with him, he didn’t have details, but he suggested that I talk to… Erin Brubacher. Apparently, I do need to be told things twice!
I immediately contacted Erin and she told me about an Open Workspace event where I could sit in and watch Sean Dixon’s play A God In Need of Help being workshopped. I saw the workshop last year and I am looking forward to seeing the show performed on the Tarragon Mainstage in a few weeks.
The main thing was that I got to see a workshop and have the process demystified for me. And that made me more prepared for when I had my first workshop experience earlier this year.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Or ask and it shall be given.