People need help. A better tool, more time, less stress, more money, the right word in the closing paragraph of a thesis…humans from time to time get in a pinch. We ask our spouse, our friends, our parents, our co-workers and the tall person walking down the grocery aisle for help. Sometimes help is readily available, other times it’s scarce, if accessible at all. So how is it that people go about getting help?
We evaluate the situation. What exactly do I need and how much time do I have?
We evaluate our resources. Who’s available, knowledgeable, and trustworthy?
We evaluate the costs. What am I giving up, or going to owe, by reaching out?
Some of us don’t ever evaluate costs in a monetary sense as they relate to acquiring help with “life”. This may be due to a lack of finances, but can also be attributed to a perceived sufficiency of available and free resources. On the other hand, we often don’t mind paying for other services, even services we can accomplish ourselves (e.g. a car wash). We use money to pay waiters to bring us food from the kitchen to the table…something we could do ourselves but “it’s just not the way it works.” We accept these things, most of the time without question. Why is it then, that so many of us question our own need for counseling, therapy and coaching? How is taking care of our emotions, feelings, and mental health different? Let’s look at the aforementioned evaluation process again.
We evaluate the situation. It’s not that serious. It’s nothing I can’t handle. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
We evaluate our resources. I don’t know any therapists, counselors or coaches. Since I don’t know any, how can I possibly assess their knowledge or trustworthiness?
We evaluate the costs. It’s not remotely feasible for me to pay for this kind of help. It has to be expensive.
True enough, if we don’t already have a relationship with a helping professional, it proves difficult to just pick up a phone to get help with a situation, especially immediate help. We already anticipate a long, drawn-out process with a great deal of paperwork and the scheduling of an appointment (which we already believe will occur well past the amelioration of our current conundrum). These understandings generally leave us fending for ourselves and, more times than not, we get by. But many of these times we actually are “worse for the wear.”
If you want to avoid learning hard lessons, missing opportunities and wasting time and resources, it may be prudent to take a closer look at some viable resources you’ve been skipping out on. In reality, counselors, therapists and coaches should be staple, not stigma. The services offered by these types of professionals are similar to any other services you don’t think twice about paying for…they provide something you want or need and some are better than others. The key to finding the right kind of help is to look for it when you don’t need it. Similar to grocery shopping when you’re hungry, what often happens is individuals get into such a bad place before they reach out for these types of services. At that point, there has not been a solid evaluation of potential service providers, which may mean the individual you reach out to is not the best fit. Not to mention, whoever that provider is, they are working an uphill battle, late in the game, with no history of you. These factors lead to a meager success rate and you lacking confidence not only in that person, but oftentimes in the industry as a whole.
So if you’ve ever found yourself in a pinch with “life” and have felt like you haven’t had a person to turn to, take some time to visit a few local helping professionals. Find out what they do. Peruse the internet, evaluate the costs, research the accessibility and answer ALL of the questions you have regarding these professionals. If you do this, you’re most likely going to find that someone for you. That someone who is relevant, available, knowledgeable, trustworthy, affordable…that lifeline.
Ready to get started researching your options? Need help distinguishing the differences between the types of helping professionals? My latest eBook, Discover the Niche: Life Coaching for Leaders, may help.
Jordache Williams is currently based in Rock Hill, SC and is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He is a Certified Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services.