My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Ask for Help

Uncategorized May 08, 2019

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. - Barack Obama

Walking along the Camino was sometimes glorious, sometimes, challenging, and sometimes it was absolutely terrifying for me.

Though they say that you can’t get lost on this road, I don’t know--I definitely felt lost. My group was way ahead of me, people were passing me, and I couldn’t catch up. I didn’t have any water. The trees grew together over the road like a thick canopy that didn’t let in much light. I seriously feared that something might jump out at me while I was walking alone under the huge shroud of leaves and branches.

We stopped every six miles on the road to rendezvous as a group. I figured I had only gone about two miles since our last stop, so I decided to run (and I do mean run!) back to the last rendezvous. My thinking was that it would be easier to run two miles back than to go forward alone for four more miles with my mind screaming fearful thoughts at me. I broke out in a full sprint toward where I had been earlier that day.

Then I stopped.

What about my last lesson of challenging myself? What about pushing through the fear?

I pulled myself together and caught my breath and looked around. There were still people walking. I may not have been able to keep up with them, but I could ask for help.

I stopped three men to ask where I was and if they knew how much further I had to go to get to the next stop. It turned out that I was only ten minutes from the next rendezvous! Hallelujah!

In my fear and self-doubt, I had invented and suffered a hardship in my mind. I’m too slow. I’ll never get there. I’m not brave enough to walk this alone. Four miles is too far for me!

I have heard many of my clients talk this way about going back to school. College is too hard. I don’t have enough time. I just can’t do it.

Asking for help is simple but not always easy. Sometimes we fear that needing help makes us look weak, needy or incompetent in front of strangers, our peers, or superiors.

Most of us tend to judge ourselves harshly and often think that situations are much worse than they actually are. This makes us miss out on all kinds of potential knowledge and help. There is an emotional intelligence in asking for help. We need to work to see past all that self-imposed negativity!

Be brave. Ask for help when you need it.


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