We were excited pulling into our driveway bringing our first child home from the hospital. We were proud parents and ready, or so we thought. We had read many books and magazines, were both comfortable with young children, and my wife had a special gift with babies. Our quiet confidence lasted until the first night when I quickly realized the hospital staff missed an item on the “going home checklist” and forgot to send along the operating manual for our son. We fed him, he slept, and woke up crying. We fed him again, he slept, and woke up crying. It happened over and over almost every hour. Maybe it was just one bad night? No, it turned into two, and then three. We tried everything we could think of (again, where’s the manual?), but it didn’t work. Finally, in desperation I called our pediatrician. He laughed at my story and said, “Try feeding him more. Your wife probably isn’t yet producing enough to meet his needs, so supplement until she is. If it doesn’t work in a couple of days, call me back.” We used a supplemental bottle that night and he slept almost 4 hours, which means we slept. And I never called him back.

Stop laughing, please, because I know many of you have a similar story. To those who aren’t yet parents be aware that yes, things like this can happen. Amid those sleepless nights, we felt alone. As in totally alone. We must be the first parents in the world to deal with a crying baby that couldn’t get it fixed. We were failures.

When facing a new challenge that can’t be easily resolved, it’s natural to feel alone. Then anxiety comes calling, frustration says “hello, and maybe even a little panic sets in. Why, because we’re usually trying to do it all on our own. We resist reaching out for help, our pride won’t let us. And things get worse, making us feel more alone.

If we only realized we were not alone, that we had help all around us, lifelines waiting to be thrown our way. I’m not talking about Google either, I’m talking about people ready to help you.

You may not realize it, but you are like an Aspen tree. When you look at a group of Aspen trees, they appear to be a bunch of individual trees all standing near each other. Yet those individual “trees” are part of a larger organism and it’s all connected underground by the same root system. You can’t see it but it’s there.

You’ve created an amazing root system of support you may not realize exists. It’s made up of every relationship you’ve developed over the years both personally and professionally. It includes everyone you work with because you share a common goal of making the organization successful.

If you don’t want to be alone, just ask for help. I’m confident someone will help you. Notice I didn’t say someone would do it for you. Please don’t ask them to do it for you because you need to learn, it’s your challenge.

In my career, I found whenever I’m willing to humble myself and admit I don’t have answers, there are plenty of people ready to help me. They will help you too, just ask them.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

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