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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Sturdy

The Power of Asking for Help

“Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.” -Les Brown

In January 2020, I realized that pursuing my career as an educator (the dream job of my 18

year old self) was no longer fulfilling me. Instead, burnout, anxiety, depression, and warning signs of PTSD had taken over, and I was determined to find a healthier path. I started working with my doctor and therapist to find tools to improve my physical and mental health.

The following school year, with the help of a career transition coach, I realized that that school year needed to be my last. I sought support from the head of my teachers’ union to explore my options and learn about other teachers in similar situations. In my efforts to ensure that systemic issues that affected my health were not ignored, she helped me to give feedback to my administrators from a place of calm and confidence. I also sought out the help of a local CoActive Coach because of my interest in this holistic model of coaching. She helped me build a vision for my future. We worked a lot on my mindset, moving from “I can only teach children” to “I am an awesome human with many transferable skills…I can be a business owner and help adults!” June 18th, 2021 was my last day in the classroom, and I have no regrets.

Leaving teaching, of course, did not automatically lead to sunshine and rainbows. After a panic attack last fall, I found a therapist trained in PTSD, cried the tears, and did a lot of work. I still have hard days, but the self-awareness and tools I gained have continued to help me this spring.

I am also forever grateful for the hiring team at EdConnective. While I was in the process of leaving teaching last spring, I applied (twice) and they took a chance and hired me! This fall I began working as a virtual instructional coach - I get to coach teachers on improving their teaching practice. I love getting to take my teaching experience and use it to pour energy, love, tools, and resources into some amazing educators!

I am currently working to become a certified Co-Active Coach and have learned so much from my colleagues and course leaders. I love the Co-Active cornerstone: we are all (coaches and clients) creative, resourceful and whole. I’m learning to ask powerful questions, listen, and empower to elicit the skills and creativity a client already possesses, rather than instruct or advise. Through my first Co-Active course, I met Michelle, and then Jame, and loads of other inspiring Work Pirates, who have been instrumental in helping me tap into my strengths and play big with my dreams AND actions.

As a new coach and business owner, I’m constantly learning new things (even when I wish I

didn’t have to). A lesson I seem to learn and relearn daily is to just make the call and ask for help- whether that is from a connection, a mentor, the bank, or another service provider. Sometimes it’s hard to get over my pride and insecurities and to accept that I’m going to need help, but it’s worth it. Because asking for help has been foundational to establishing Sturdy Coaching AS. I love getting to empower and encourage each client I work with! My business aligns with my values, taps into my strengths, and challenges me to keep learning and growing. The possibilities feel endless - which both excites and terrifies me.

When writing and rewriting this post, key themes appeared: self-awareness, belief in my own potential, and a willingness to ask for and find the help I needed. Sometimes that means venting to a colleague or friend. Often it meant seeking out an expert. For me this meant calling my doctor, talking to my union representatives, finding a new therapist and the right coach. At other times it meant participating in a course or opportunity that helped me open new doors.

Are you good at seeking help? Is there any area of your life that could be improved if you reached out for help? It’s not easy. But I promise it’s worth it!

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Ashley Brown
Ashley Brown
Apr 13, 2022

Girrrrrl, I just want to say I resonate soooo much with what you have been through and worked on. I currently am in the midst of transitioning away from nursing for an unknown period of time as I am also dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and depression after 7 years in the nursing field, 3 of which were in the ICU, 2 years during the pandemic. Stepping away has left me feeling like the ground has been removed from my feet as nursing was what I always wanted to do. Anyways...kudos to you for doing the work. You inspire me that maybe I too am making the right choice. Anyways, hope you are doing well! -Ashley Brown

Apr 18, 2022
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Thank you for sharing your story☺️! Stepping away from a job that is negatively impacting your mental health takes so much courage and self-work. I think the biggest piece of work for me was seeing how the teaching, people, and leadership skills I picked up in a school setting are quite useful outside of a school building. You have such a big heart and so many amazing skills- I'm cheering you on as you explore what you need now and what you might like to do in the future! 🎉

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