Last month I told you about how I have dubbed 2018 - The Year of Help. To refresh your memory, it’s basically a year of asking for help when I need it, and offering help when I am able. Here we are half way through February and I thought it was time for a check-in.
The biggest shift I’ve noticed is that deciding that 2018 was The Year of Help has completely shifted my mindset about asking for help. I use to struggle with asking for help or get stuck in a situation and just go, “Oh, well, I don’t know. I just give up.” Now, instead of resigning myself, I actively seek solutions where I once would have just said, “Eh, I guess that’s just how it is.”
This is sounding vague and possibly confusing. Let me give you some examples. I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get footage from a web series I shot in 2016. I was about to give up completely, and then I emailed a reel editing company that mentioned being able to use iTunes footage in the actor reels they produced. Now, I didn’t need them to edit me a whole reel. I just needed my iTunes episode somehow magically made into an editable file. I emailed and asked how much that would cost. To make a long story short, I had my footage by the end of the night, all because I said, “Hey, can you help me with this?”.
Likewise, I’ve been submitting SchloerBITS to film festivals and sometimes it can be a little confusing to know how the festival wants you to submit a web series. Do they want a screener with one episode, multiple episodes, or a separate link to all episodes? Well, instead of anxiously fretting my decision and blindly guessing, I emailed the festivals and asked their preference (duh.). This example of asking for help worked great on two fronts. First of all, I submitted properly (yay!). Secondly, it gave me an added opportunity to connect with the festival producers (double yay!).
Now, what about helping others? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure how well I’ve been doing with that, but just like with the asking part, my mindset has shifted and I’m actively looking for ways to help people I encounter. I’ve offered referrals, I’ve commented on people’s headshots to help them pick new ones, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I try to connect people to a resource that does have the answer. I’m not always able to help, but I’m always looking for ways support people in their endeavors.
Even strangers. The other day I was at Starbucks and the guy in front of me had left his wallet in the car which was parked far away because he’d been playing with his young son in the park. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but without even thinking I found myself saying, “Oh, here, why don’t you put that on my order.” The man very politely refused and ended up making some arrangement with the barista (perhaps he’s a regular, I don’t know), but I’m at least glad that my helping instinct was ready even if I couldn’t actually help in the end.
So, really, it’s all little stuff, but I feel that sometimes just a little effort from me can really help someone else out. I know the opposite is true and I am so grateful for all the help I’ve gotten so far in 2018.
Remember: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
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