The single most important lesson I’ve learned

Feb 10, 2016

January is inevitably a time for reflection. Reflection about the previous year, the holidays, and how much time I have before bikini season comes around again. :/

This January was especially reflective for me given the events that have taken place in the last 2 years.

Ready…Set…Go…

In 2014 and 2015, I got pregnant, married (yes, in that order), watched my fiancé graduate from Chiropractic School, left my job at The Coca-Cola Company, moved my family to Charleston, and started my own business. #phew #damnright #amInuts #yesIam

This January was especially reflective for me given the scale of events that have taken place in the last 2 years.

To say the last two years have been a tidal wave of learnings would be the understatement of the century. But in 30 years, the most soul-shaking lesson I’ve ever learned, was to ask for help.

Seeing this in writing leaves me feeling underwhelmed, because it’s such a simple concept, but one that has changed my life.

If you asked my family or close friends, 99% of them would tell you I’ve got it together. (There are a couple of you that know every scar and I’m grateful for your confidentiality.) But, overall I’m fiercely independent and self-sufficient (and paying for it dearly with my toddler — you’re welcome mom, dad, and step-dad).

To say the last two years have been a tidal wave of learnings would be the understatement of the century. But, the single most important thing I learned was to ask for help.

Looking back, I can define the 2 events that taught me this most important lesson. And, since then, I have advanced from amateur to novice and I’ll tell you this: I’m not WEAKER, I’m a million times STRONGER. I don’t feel JUDGED, I feel EMPOWERED. Asking for help is not a sign of FAILURE, but of utmost STRENGTH and CONFIDENCE in oneself.

I remember the first time I really asked for help: I was home after work one evening and dealing with what my husband and I called “the witching hour,” a two-hour period where my newborn cried for seemingly no reason. My girlfriend Joyce called me and asked if she could come over and see him. While the usual me would have made an excuse as to why it wasn’t a good time (I’m working late, in the middle of cooking dinner, etc.) I told her yes. She came over and bounced Wyatt all over the house while I took some breaths. After that she came over every week to hold Wyatt during the “witching hour” and talk to me until I felt normal again.

I’m not weaker, I’m a million times stronger. I don’t feel judged, I feel empowered. Being vulnerable reflects utmost strength and confidence in oneself.

A few months later when my wedding day came, since I couldn’t afford a wedding coordinator, my sister, Ginger, carried around a spreadsheet in her bra and kept everyone on schedule. Meanwhile my bridesmaids, Courtney, Joyce, Brittany, and Abby, decorated my venue wearing high heels and a long dress.

At my rehearsal dinner my sister gave a speech to the theme of “anything Melissa puts her mind to she accomplishes.” She talked about my decision to leave a University of Florida legacy to attend the University of Georgia, to land my dream job at The Coca-Cola Company, to marry Lyle, and plans to move to the city of my choice, Charleston, South Carolina. And while everyone nodded and raised their glasses, I was the only one in the room that knew I actually felt like a failure of a mom and as a Pinterest-perfect bride [GASP].

You see, at the time, I wasn’t comfortable with my new skill. It wasn’t until we moved to Charleston and I started my new business that I realized how much these women taught me. That when you ask for help you can exceed even your own expectations.

I was the only one in the room that knew I actually felt like a failure of a mom and as a Pinterest-perfect bride [GASP].

Today, I’m a mom, wife, daughter, friend, business owner, mentor, and part-time fitness instructor. But its not for anything less than the people that I call on daily to support me. And its because I ask. I ask for help daily. It’s the ultimate opposition: humbling and empowering and beautiful.

I owe so much to the women that have held me up over the last 2 years. Not only for the witching hour and wedding help, but for teaching me how to ask for help.

This lesson serves me in every aspect of my life, including my business which is flourishing because of the network of people I have assembled around me

The new year has passed and we’ve all abandoned our resolutions. But this is one resolution that will stick with me forever. But I can’t do it without your help.

I owe everything to these women. Not only for the witching hour and wedding help, but for teaching me how to ask for help.

MEL BAR MAR | Strategy.Creative.Digital | melissa@melbarmar.com