Don’t Go It Alone

UPDATED: December 21, 2009
PUBLISHED: December 21, 2009

Someone, and I’m not going to name names here, left the lights on in the car. I, of course, didn’t find
this out until I was alone in the parking lot.

We had been watching my daughter Sawyer play an early evening soccer match—an away game. After a trip to the porta-potty,
we piled into the car. I got everyone settled and buckled Oakley into his car seat. It was starting to get dark. “Yes,
we can hit Subway for dinner on the way home,” I said, and then I went to start the car. The sound of silence is never
a sound you expect to hear. My littlest is 4 years old. Even he got it.

“Uh oh.” That was an understatement.

I wasn’t prepared. We were an hour from home. I called my husband Chris; he didn’t answer. So I did what anyone
would do in my situation: I leaned my head on the top of the steering wheel and told my kids to be quiet while I contemplated
how bad this was.

Wait, I thought, I’m not unprepared at all! I have jumper cables! I jumped out of the car, out into the dark
parking lot and opened the trunk. There they were. I was all set. I had jumper cables.

I looked around the parking lot. A few cars, but no people.

I chucked the cables back inside the trunk and slammed it closed. Jumper cables aren’t any good without someone to
do the jumping.

I learned something very valuable in that moment. You can’t give yourself a jump-start.

I went door to door that evening with my kids in tow asking perfect strangers if they wouldn’t mind coming out to
help me. As Ed pulled his pickup in front of my car, I realized even if I had AAA, I still wouldn’t have been able to
help myself. I’d have to ask for help.

A jump-start sounds like something you do yourself, like “Jump-start your career.” But how do you jump-start
your career anyway? You ask for help.

Ouch. Ask for help? Huh? I know you hate the advice. Guess what? Suck it up, and do it.

If you are contemplating making a resolution this year, resolve to ask for help jump-starting your career or business.
To accomplish anything, you need to ask for help. You may have all kinds of tools, big plans and great ideas at your disposal,
but you still need someone to help you. You can’t do it alone.

There is no shame in reaching out. A jump-start is asking for a hand-up not a handout.

Think about and ask yourself: Who could help you jump-start your business in 2010?

Or what about those favors you’ve been waiting to cash in on? They have a shelf life, you know, just like a battery.
Use them now. Line up people who can give you a jumpstart before your battery dies.

Can’t think of anything to ask for help with? I can:
Ask your current clients for referrals to new ones.
• Ask someone you admire to mentor you in 2010.
• Ask a respected business leader to meet and talk strategy with you.
• Ask for feedback on your elevator pitch or sales presentation.
• Ask your best friend to help you give your retail store a new paint job.

That’s how you jump-start your new year; you take the tools and the ideas you have and then you ask for help using
them. It’s time to speak up. Happy New Year.

Mel Robbins is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, owner of Advice for Living, Inc., CNBC contributor, spokesperson
for Microsoft and serial entrepreneur.


Mel Robbins is a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine, best-selling author, CNN commentator, creator of the “5 Second Rule” and the busiest female motivational speaker in the world. To find out more, visit her website: To follow her on Twitter: