Take the donut

I’ve recently been reading “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer. It’s been on my bookshelf for a loooong time and somehow I never picked it up until only last week. As I’ve posted before, every book has it’s time and this felt like a good time for this book 🙂

The Art of Asking

In the book, Amanda writes “Thoreau wrote in painstaking detail about how he chose to remove himself from society to live by his own means in a little ten-by-fifteen foot hand-hewn cabin on the side of a pond. What he left out of Walden, though, was the fact that the land he built on was borrowed from his wealthy neighbor, that his pal Ralph Waldo Emerson had him over for dinner all the time, and that every Sunday, Thoreau’s mother and sister brought him a basket freshly baked goods for him, including donuts.”

The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer

And a little later

“So, a plea. To the artists, creators, scientists, nonprofit-runners, librarians, strange thinkers, start-uppers, and inventors, to all people everywhere who are afraid to accept the help, in whatever form it’s appearing: Please, take the donuts.

To the guy in my opening band who was too ashamed to go out into the crowd and accept money for his band: take the donuts.

Everybody please. Just take the donuts.”

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

I found this to be a powerful message. I’ve long had the tendency to “go it alone”, to figure things out for myself, that I have to somehow do everything on my own.

But, there are very few people who are successful entirely on their own. A look behind the curtain suggests a network of supporters, mentors and helpers, almost always. In a post on LinkedIn, Deborah Liu, former VP at Facebook and now CEO of Ancestry, writes – “I will let you in on a secret. It’s an unspoken truth about success, whether people want to admit it or not. I have had an incredible support system for the past 15 years of parenthood. The support of others is what has allowed me to accomplish what I have so far, including the upcoming publication of my first book. Many successful women (and men) do not talk about the help they’ve had in getting to where they are. This shouldn’t be taboo. I am not ashamed to say that I have had an incredible amount of support.

So I guess – don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be ok to be vulnerable. Use whatever advantage you have at your disposal to go after your dreams. There’s no shame in “not going it alone”.

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