Over the past three weeks, I've had to move. It was unexpected and upsetting, and would have been a logistical nightmare as well, had it not been for a lot of help from my friends. Faced with little time and no car, I did an unusual thing: I unabashedly asked for help. All my friends said yes to my requests to drive me places and lug things, graciously and with genuine good humour. One friend let me drag her around Ikea, desperately hunting for the Snurgleblorg bin before closing. Another hauled my futon up 3 flights of stairs then took me grocery shopping. One wrote me a cheat sheet all about internet, cable and cell phones so I could speak reasonably intelligently about the services I needed and not get fleeced. People I don't even know that well let me borrow their cars. At some point, a friend commended me for asking for help, and I realized how rarely we do that.
Maybe we women of the feminist era are loathe to show weakness, or maybe we're all just inculcated with the American dream - you can do it, but on your own. I have always been fiercely independent, but have also learned that asking for what you need can be really beneficial. This absolutely applies to my business as well.
Never one to cower before banks or large corporations, I have always demanded better rates and prices. Much to my children's mortification, I will haggle anywhere (except with artists, of course!). Did you know that all you have to do to lower your merchant credit card rate is phone the bank every six months and demand it? I mark it in my calendar. It's harder to get one's way with behemoths like Bell or Rogers, but not impossible. It's remarkable what happens when you cheerily start a sentence with "I'd like to arrange a better deal on..."
Fortified by the generosity of my friends and my capacity to get things done, yesterday I sacked my lawyer in favour of his much more attentive and competent colleague. I had to practice all the way there on the subway (what is it about doctors and lawyers?), but when I got to his office I looked him in the eye and said, "I am unhappy with the service I've received from you." It felt so empowering!
What do you need help with today/this week/this month? Who can help you? Chances are, all you have to do is ask.