The Courage to Ask for Help

By Rob “Waldo” Waldman, Lt. Col., CSP

The greatest thing that strangles our ability to take action is fear.  I remember this fear quite well before flying combat missions in Iraq and Serbia. Sometimes, it was tough to get focused on these missions and I admit the fear got to me. It made me doubt myself and robbed me of my courage.

When this happened, I had a secret weapon – my twin brother Dave.  I would pick up the secure phone and give him a call.

“Dave, I’m not feeling it today bro.  I’m not so sure about this one. I’m scared.”

“Rob, don’t forget who you are.  You’re an F-16 fighter pilot! You’ve done this dozens of times before.  I know you can do it! I’m proud of you.” He would say.

In other words, Dave was telling me – “I believe in you.”

He was there for me when I needed him the most and helped turn my fear into something even more powerful – courage. He gave me the courage to take off.

Dave was my wingman. He still is.

We all have days when we’re going to want to quit – when the missiles of fear and doubt hold us back from taking off on important missions in our lives.  They rob of us our warrior spirit and if left unchecked, can drain us of our will to take action.  But when we have a wingman that we can share our fears and doubts with, it can mean the difference between success and failure.  Sometimes it takes a wingman to help us see our own greatness: to reveal that we are more than our fears…that we are powerful beings who are capable of doing more than we think is possible.

Asking for help (and being vulnerable) isn’t easy. It takes courage. But a wingman – someone you trust and who truly wants the best for you – can make it easier.  They can be your secret weapon and give you the courage to take off on the tough missions.

So, who are your wingmen? And more importantly, who can you be a wingman for?

Who can you make a difference for today?

Waldo’s wingtip: When the missiles of fear and doubt attempt to shoot you down, pick up the phone and say the three most powerful words in life:  “I need help.”


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