By Kikkan Randall, OLY
There is an undeniable part of human nature that makes us feel like we must tackle big challenges by ourselves. Why are we often hesitant to reach out for help when we are struggling the most? Through my Olympic ski career and my battle with cancer, I felt this tendency many times. Handling things myself seemed like the easiest and less risky thing to do. Yet, instinctively I knew going it alone would never get me as far as reaching out to others for help along the way.
A year into a pandemic, we’ve faced challenge after challenge while social distancing guidelines keep us away from the people we are used to relying on. But that doesn’t mean the support is not there! Now more than ever, it’s important to recognize when we need help. Talking through our feelings and challenges can help us find our inner strength and keep our sense of hope strong.
When I was an athlete my coach was always a great resource. I tried not to be too shy, or too proud, and found the best parts of our working relationship occurred when I was open, honest and vulnerable. A challenge I had built up in my mind seemed to lose its grip when I was able to talk about it in the open. My coach didn’t judge me any less for admitting struggle or weakness. Instead, I was often considered stronger for knowing when I needed help.
Alaska is an amazing place where everyone is connected, and we are genuinely invested in each other. There are incredible resources in our community if we are just open to seeking out a conversation and being able to say, “I need a little help here!”
And don’t always wait for things to hit rock bottom before you reach out. I have found catching a nagging sore muscle before it becomes a full-blown injury saves a lot of time and prevents a lot of pain.
Spring is all about growth. As we head into the brighter days, let’s build up ourselves by working together. Find the help and support you need and you will be on your way to your best year yet! We can do this!
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