If you know me, you know I'm all about planning. Be it as simple as a party or as elaborate as a European vacation, you better believe I've done my homework and mapped out a beginning, middle, and end--and everything in between those--in order to guarantee a (near) perfect outcome. As a Virgo, I'm certainly not one who likes to "fly by the seat of my pants." In fact, on a trip to Barcelona once with a friend, I had read up on the city and studied its layout so well that by the time I put down my bags, I was sashaying down streets and hoping on and off its transit system as if I'd been living there my entire life. (It's also the reason that when it comes to travel, most family and friends are just fine letting me handle all the details. But I digress). And the less questions I have to ask anyone, the better. Not because I'm above being assisted but because I never like to feel I'm a burden to anyone. But on a recent business trip, going against my habits turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Clerk: Wait. You said Deloitte?
Me: Yes. You think I should just jump in a cab or take the sky walk? I have to be there at 10.
Clerk: Actually, ma'am, I think the location you're looking for...is practically right next door.
Me: *blank stare*
Well, the location was not right next door but only a half a block down. In fact, I was so focused on MY plan, I had passed the location during a leisurely walk the day before and I didn't even know it. I was both relieved and ticklishly embarrassed. But, most importantly, I was reminded of two simple facts: 1) most people are more than happy to help others; to feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing they made a small difference in someone's day; and 2) the person in our own way most of the times is our own selves.
Often times, help is available, but we don't take it. Answers are waiting, but we don't ask. Opportunities arise, yet we don't grab hold of them. Whether driven by fear, shame, or "independent" pride, often times we miss our moments and thus our blessings, and create stumbling blocks toward our own success. Just as those objects in a mirror may be closer than they appear, so may our proximity to the things and people that can help take us to that next level. All we have to do is make the first step and ask. As Nobel Prize winning surgeon Alexis Carrel once said, "All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people." I was more than grateful for that reminder that day followed by what was a very successful meeting. And I also learned Google maps is definitely not drawn to scale. Go figure.