Asking for help—it’s easier than you think!

I’m going to go a little into left field for my blog this week. I’m moving out of the firefighter fitness, nutrition and mental health space into a more general area: asking for help. There are all varieties of asking for help, but specifically I’d like to focus in on asking for PROFESSIONAL assistance.

I’m talking about the top-notch professional assistance that you pay for. <cue collective gasp> I know, I know…paying for services is sometimes difficult. “I can’t afford it” or “I can do it myself” are common objections.

I understand that train of thought. We are capable adults. We should be able to do our own taxes. We should be able to prepare all our own meals. We should be able to plan and execute our own fitness training programs. We should be able to maintain and manage our own websites. We should be able to patch our own drywall. That’s a lot of “shoulds” and not a lot of expertise to back it up.

I’ve done it. When I was younger, I did my own taxes every year. I did just fine until the year I owed the IRS $12,000. Surely there must have been a misplaced decimal point, right? Nope. I re-figured it and came up with owing $12,000.

I didn’t have that kind of money and I also didn’t have the kind of money you needed to pay an accountant to figure things out. But I swallowed my pride (and ate soup for a month) and took my pile-o-paperwork to a lovely woman who sorted things out for me. I still owed money, but I had made a few common errors and she got my bill down to about $3000.

I stayed with that woman for 16 years and my taxes were flawless and painless that entire time. I got better at organizing things and she got better at knowing my various businesses and endeavors. It was a wonderful symbiotic relationship. The only reason that I’m not with her anymore is that I incorporated, and my financial advisor had a corporate accountant that he recommended highly.

Speaking of incorporation, did you know that you can incorporate all by yourself? You don’t require the assistance of an attorney; all you must do is fill out some paperwork from the state and pay the fee. But instead of doing that, I utilized the services of an attorney. He painlessly executed the transaction with minimal participation from me. I was doing things that I wanted and needed to be doing while he conducted my business almost effortlessly.

Nowadays, I utilize not only my new corporate accountant, attorney and financial advisor, but I have a professional designer who manages my website for me. I have a professional housekeeper that comes once per month and takes care of my home. I’ve consulted with a business coach and a training coach in the past.

I can certainly write my own training programs, but at what point does outsourcing it make more sense? Like any other trainee, I tend to fixate on things I do well and enjoy at the expense of those things that I really need work on. My previous training coach made sure that didn’t happen. I don’t use that coach all the time, but she’s always there if I decide I need a break from writing programs for myself.

What’s the point AZ? The point is this: you “CAN” do many things. But unless you actually do them and do them correctly, and do them WELL, you may have wasted time, money and even put yourself in a potential trick bag due to a mistake. You don’t know what you don’t know. So why not hire someone whose job it is to know? If you enjoy cooking, like I do, and you have the time to do it, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone else to do it. But if you’re trying to remodel your bathroom and either your skills aren’t great OR you don’t have the time to do it, it makes a lot of sense to hire a professional.

You don’t know what you don’t know. So why not hire someone whose job it is to know?

Finally, I wanted to give an official shout-out to my girl Lex Lancaster. Lex is the brains and brawn behind my logo and my website. She is an amazing human and works her magic to keep my website up and running smoothly. She is a consummate professional. Could I manage my own website? Yes, probably. I manage another website and it causes me occasional great angst. It is worth it to me to contract with Lex for peace of mind.

Where could YOU use a professional in your life? If you are a firefighter or other first responder and you need help with your fitness and nutrition, send me an e-mail inquiry. I look forward to seeing if I might be the right professional to assist you.