This is the fourth article in our series about The Wiser Way – a methodology to manage all of the “What ifs” that go along with aging.
A Fable: The Empowered Mouse
In a forest, there lived a small mouse who was constantly worried. She would cower at the slightest rustle in the bushes, convinced that a predator was lurking nearby.
One day, the mouse realized that living with constant anxiety was no way to live at all. She decided to take matters into her own hands and empower herself.
The mouse started to learn all that she could about her environment, studying the forest’s geography and the behavior of the animals around her. She practiced her physical skills, honing her speed and agility. She set up a network of critters to help her navigate the frightening forest. And she discovered tools that could help her out with her own tasks and asked her forest friends for permission to get them set up and running properly.
Over time, the mouse grew in confidence and courage. She no longer cowered in fear, but instead stood tall and proud. She had become an empowered mouse.
The mouse also realized that she could empower others by asking for help when she needed it. By sharing the load with others, she could lighten the burden and ensure that everyone had a role to play.
The mouse started to ask her trusted friends for help in her daily tasks, and in turn, they also started asking her for help. This reciprocal process of empowering oneself and others allowed the mouse and her friends to feel more capable and confident in their ability to care for each other.
The empowered mouse realized that by building strong relationships and networks, by asking for help in her daily tasks and by asking permission when she felt that she needed it for herself, she had given herself and her allies the tools to handle any challenge.
Moral of the story: Empowering oneself and others is crucial in caregiving so that the burden doesn’t fall on any one individual. Asking for help from your Trusted Circle and asking for permission for yourself will not just make you better at your job, but alleviate an incredible amount of stress.
Empowering – What Does It Mean?
On the journey towards managing all of the “what ifs” that go along with getting older, empowering our Trusted Circle and empowering ourselves is an absolutely critical step.
This is why empowerment is one of the tenets of The Wiser Way.
Asking for help can feel awkward or uncomfortable. Myriad psychological studies have proved out that people are hesitant to ask for help for fear of rejection or resentment, even from those close to them. But the same studies show that people are completely willing and able to help if and when they are finally asked.
When it comes to caring for ourselves, our families, our elders, or even our pets, there is a lot of work to be done. And beyond the amount of work, there is a gravity to the work. It’s no wonder that many of us live with anxiety and stress, constantly wondering about all the “what if” scenarios that come along with life.
This is where the empowerment stage of The Wiser Way comes into play—and it works in two ways.
For one, we need to empower those in our Trusted Circle by asking them for help, by assigning them to tasks, by including them in our calendars, by giving them access to documents and notes so that they can help get jobs done.
And secondly, we need to empower ourselves by asking permission from those around us, often those we are directly caring for, so that we have the tools needed to help them in the most efficient manner.
Asking others for help is a simple enough concept, it’s just something that we don’t always do—and even when we do, those people need to have access (go back to part 3, sharing) so that they can get things done without bothering you.
Asking permission is a bit less obvious of a need. Asking permission comes down to being up front with people about what you need rather than trying to side step your way to success.
Don’t show up to your parents’ house and sneak a peak at their fridge. Instead, have a conversation. Ask them for permission to help out and order their groceries each week. Rather than prying for information on an unpaid pill you saw lying on the table, sit down and ask for permission to look into their bank accounts. These won’t always be easy conversations as nobody wants to give up control, but having that permission will set you, and your entire Trusted Circle up for a much easier pathway to success. It’s worth the investment today for the dividends tomorrow.
Invest Today to Protect Tomorrow
Whatever your personal situation may be, we all have items on a to-do list that we can empower others to handle. We all have days when we need to give up total control, empowering our siblings or another member of our Trusted Circle to carry the torch and accomplish those meaningful tasks.
Similarly, we all have things that we know we could get done quicker and better if we only had the opportunity to take control.
There are, of course, plenty of tools that can be used to empower each other in a digital format, but we’ve built WayWiser to make it all a bit easier for you and your family to prepare for and manage the future all in one safe and secure place.