Learn how embracing help from others can change your life (and theirs!)
I can’t figure out why my teenagers would rather watch some stranger play a video game on YouTube than hang out with me.
I get beyond annoyed with a distracted driver texting at a red light—or worse, while they zoom down the highway!
And when it comes to the vitriol and rude comments posted so often on an online news story? Forget about it!
In a world where we seem to disagree on so much, we can all agree technology has the ability to bring out the worst in us.
And yet, my friends, despite the dissension technology may cause and the distraction it so often becomes, it can also be the source of profound beauty, wonderful connection and unyielding hope. I was reminded of this truth over the holidays as I spent time with my friend, Greg.
Always bright, energetic, and determined, Greg received his private pilot’s license at age 18. With clarity on what he wanted to do and an uncommon drive to get it done, he was on his way to living his life’s dream of becoming a commercial pilot.
His promising future, however, suffered a devastating setback as the result of a head-on collision with a distracted driver. Although Greg miraculously survived the accident, he lost his ability to see. More than just robbing Greg of his eyesight, though, it also stole his vision for his future, his sense of purpose and the ability to do the very thing he was most passionate about.
No surprise to his parents, however, Greg applied the same tireless gumption he’d shown his entire life to impressively adapt to a new life as a person who is blind. That includes adapting to his new circumstances, continuing to show up fully in life and even grocery shopping and cooking for himself.
My friends, as a person able to see, I struggle getting the right ingredients at a store. (If you ask Beth, I struggle even with where things are in my own kitchen!) In asking Greg how he managed all of this by himself, he shared he doesn’t always have to. Sometimes he’ll ask for help from others in the store, but typically he just utilizes a free, crowd-sourced app for the visually impaired called Be My Eyes.
The service connects sighted volunteers with blind and low-vision people at a moment’s notice via a video call on their smart phones. Any time, day or night, someone who is unable to see can use the app’s video connection to ping a volunteer and obtain help with tasks big and small. Which of these spices in my cabinet is basil? Is this milk expired? Is the men’s room door on the left or the right? How many more bus stops are left on my route? Does this tie go with this shirt?
The interactions are fleeting, but the overall impact lasts far beyond the call. It not only allows users like Greg to enjoy meaningful and active lives, it allows the volunteers to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
My friends, we live in a highly independent world where individuality and personal accomplishment seem prized above all else.
We are taught to believe that we can do anything on our own if we work hard enough.
We learn that asking questions or seeking help suggests weakness.
But in reality, we do so very little on our own, are made to be in community with others and ultimately to be of service to one another.
And so much of what we accomplish as leaders in life is directly because of the help we received, not in spite of it.
As we begin this new year, let us embrace the no-strings-attached asking and receiving of help that users of Be My Eyes have. Let us resolve to let others know that they matter, that they are seen and that they are an important part of our journey.
And let us remember, like my friend Greg reminds me, that in spite of our various personal challenges, that life is a sacred gift, our challenges don’t have to negatively define us and our best is yet to come.
Today is your day. Live Inspired.
My friends, I truly believe that learning to accept help from others can change our lives and the lives of the individuals helping us. Yet so many of us have a hard time embracing assistance. Please know, however, that if you ever need some encouragement- or know someone else who could- the Live Inspired Together community is here for you. Just reach out!