HomeIdeas40 in 40: Lesson #4

40 in 40: Lesson #4

Route 40

40 in 40: #4

Most people who know me know that I am an independent person.

I was going to add a modifier to that phrase like “fairly” or “somewhat” or “sort of” but that would make that phrase a damn lie.

I am VERY independent.

Last weekend my parents were telling my kids that when I was 3 I took a bike from our garage and decided I was going to learn to ride a bike. Then I got on that bike and rode down a big hill we had in our yard. No dad running along side and encouraging, no easing into it, no training wheels. Just get on and ride.

The same story would be true in other areas of my life:

  • Learning how to ski (I lasted about an hour in ski school before my dad pulled me out because I was losing my mind).
  • Leaving home (I left before I finished high school and had my own apartment).
  • Going to college (I worked full time while going to school and starting a family).
  • Starting my own businesses (I worked for Erickson Retirement Communities for 4 years at the beginning of my career and have owned my own companies since then).

My independence is an asset. As a consultant and brand strategist you need to be able to think independently. It’s crucial.

But there’s a price.

Lesson #4

Ask for help when you need it.

This probably seems obvious to most of you. Somewhere in your brain there’s an “I need help” button that you push and then you look for who can help you with what you need.

My brain didn’t come with that button.

The button in my brain says, “You have to do it all by yourself.”

The problem with not asking for help is that you can’t navigate life alone. The richness in life comes from relationships where we are helping each other. For many years I deprived myself of that richness because I couldn’t ask for help.

For the last few years I’ve been able to ask for help and see the results.

  • In friendships this has meant new depth.
  • In business it has meant I’m able to have a partner to rely on.
  • In my marriage it has meant new intimacy with Elise that wouldn’t have happened without asking for help.

Are you able to ask for help when you need it?

Keep moving forward,


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

2 Responses to “40 in 40: Lesson #4”

By Daniel - 6 September 2011

I’m the same way. I always “forget” to ask for help. Especially as a business owner, it’s often hard because you think you’re supposed to have all the answers…that’s why you started the business in the first place, right?

Wrong! It’s essential not only to find mentors, but also remember to turn to them.

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