The Myth of Self-sufficiency.

On Sunday, I was cresting the top of Dublin Canyon on my bike when something just didn't feel right.  The road felt bumpier than usual, and I looked down and saw that I had a flat on my front tire.  I was alone, and left my podcast running to keep me calm and from going into full-on freak-out mode.  Calmly, I removed the tire, ran my fingers along the tire to find any sharp object, replaced the tube, slipped the tire back on, and went to fill up the tube with my CO2 cartridge.  Everything was fine until I felt the CO2 escape from the side of the canister into the air- and not into my tire.  It reminded me of Chrissie Wellington's famous flat in Kona 2008, except that I didn't have cameras recording my break-down, and well, the World Championships wasn't on the line (fast-forward to the 2-minute mark).

Three cyclists passed me.  I kid you not.  I ended up flagging down another guy who was nice enough to pull over with a handpump and get my tire inflated enough for me to get home.  I was eternally grateful.

Once I was home, I decided to switch out my old tires for brand new tires.  It was fine, but as everyone knows, brand new tires are super difficult to get on since they lack the malleability of older tires.  I was successful with one, and the second tire I had major difficulty with.  I took a break, came back to it, and still was unable to get the final part into the rim.  To add fuel to the fire, the whole time I was paranoid that I was going to ruin my new acrylic gel manicure (priorities, people!).  My fingers were raw from the tire, I had tried using a towel to pad my hands, and I was literally at my wit's end.  It's these moments when it's easy to spiral down the rabbit hole of wishing I had the luxury of shouting, "Babe, do you mind helping me with this?"  Since I didn't have an extra pair of hands nearby, it was a frustrating situation for me.

But I was desperate.  I ended up asking a friend to come over to help me.  And he did, and was so gracious and we added some dishwashing soap to the rim to help slide the tire in.  It worked like a charm, and he was on his way. 

The whole experience made me realize how difficult it is for me to ask for help sometimes.  Single women, in particular, are constantly encouraged to be independent and self-sufficient.  We are told to go on solo vacations, travel around the world, take classes, and buy our own houses.  It is drilled into our heads that we shouldn't need a man to complete us.  I get it.  But if we focus all of our attention on being "whole," that doesn't leave a "whole" lot of room for anyone else.

I recently heard of Adam Newhouse's idea of the reciprocity circle.  His model was to take a group of 30 people- all successful artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, world leaders and world-shakers- and sit them together in a circle.  But rather than handing out their business cards, talking about about their websites or LinkedIn profile, instead, they were each required to step out and share what they specifically needed help with.  It could be anything- from "I'm looking for marketing support," to more specific requests- "I want to learn how to perform this specific dance style." By centering the intention around the notion of asking for help, this provided a space where people were allowed to be vulnerable and more human, and participants in the circle later said it was the most transformative experience.  Uncanny, synchronistic and amazing things occurred.  Across the board, every single 'ask' was met with an answer from someone within the circle that could offer specific assistance.

For me, it took putting on brand new tires to gain a brand new perspective.  Sometimes when we're stuck or stranded, we need to ask for help, and that's ok.  I've found that people are more than happy to show up and offer assistance.  Sometimes it just takes some help from a complete stranger to pump us up (figuratively, or in my case, literally), in order to get us rolling and on our way again. 

It is a beautiful truth after all- Ask and you shall receive.