Accepting help

5 November 2013

Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard for most of us to accept help. By the time I’m called into a client’s home, she (or, sometimes, he) typically has contemplated hiring me for weeks, months, or years. And typically that time is filled with guilt, self-recrimination and stress.

The reluctance to accept help isn’t limited to hiring someone, though. I’ve observed that it can be difficult to ask for help from friends or family members or even accept help when it’s offered.

Accepting help is a big part of how I try to let my life be easy. There are many things I’m not good at that my friends are. For example, my friend, Sally picks out all my wall paint colors. I’m absolutely inept at that. I’m a bit color-challenged, I’m easily overwhelmed by too many choices and I lack confidence in my design abilities. Sally is great at it and loves doing it. Hooray!

My friend Geralin helps me with sticky wardrobe choices. If I’m going on TV, I call Geralin for advice on what to wear and how to accessorize. If I want to knit myself something, I’ll check with her to make sure she thinks the sweater would be flattering on me. (One time she replied with a succinct “Not on my watch!”) Geralin is great at this and it seems as natural to her as breathing. Why wouldn’t I ask her help?

I have a wonderful housecleaner who comes every week. He does a much better job than I ever would and he relieves me of a dreaded task. Same goes with the guy who mows our lawn.

I no longer have a problem accepting help, whether hired or gifted. I know I love helping people, so I believe my friends when they say they want to help me. I have no trouble charging my clients for my help, so I have no difficulty paying others for theirs.

Is there anything in your life you’d benefit from getting help on? Ask for it!

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Very well written! I hope this new asking-for-help culture will gain more and more ground.

Milla Havanka 11/06/2013 12:33 AM

What a wonderful, honest post, Janine. It’s true that so often we can and our clients can feel guilty or ashamed of asking for help. But the reality is that we aren’t experts at everything, and even if we were, there are still so many reasons to reach out. We don’t have to do everything ourselves.

I’ve also realized lately how many people are on my team for all kinds of things from cleaning to house maintenance to finances to my emotional well-being and more. They come in the form of friends, family, colleagues, and vendors. I’m so grateful for the community of help.

Thank you for the great reminder that we all can benefit by reaching out.

Linda Samuels 11/06/2013 07:58 AM

Milla, thank you for the compliment! I do hope that more people will ask for, and accept, help.

Janine Adams 11/06/2013 10:30 AM

Linda, yes! We all need a team and we don’t have to do everything ourselves. I have a friend who calls it “assisted living.” Thanks for your kind words.

Janine Adams 11/06/2013 10:32 AM


You forgot to mention how you help so many of us with editing and word-smithing. I can always count on you for striking just the right words + tone.

I’m happy to help you with your wardrobe options.

Geralin @ Metropolitan Organizing 11/07/2013 06:49 PM

Thanks, Geralin. You’re so kind. You know I’m always glad to help you with words when you need it!

Janine Adams 11/07/2013 06:52 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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