I have to admit, I was never a big Mr. Rogers fan growing up. I knew of him and occasionally watched but was not a daily fan of his show as a child. It wasn’t until later in life that I began appreciating his messages and lessons. One of the best I ever heard was his message when tragedy strikes. Instead of bemoaning the tragedy, or getting sad or angry or pointing fingers, he spoke of a story his mother told him as a child.

“Look for the helpers” she would say. “If you look for the helpers, you know there is hope.” When people run away, who are the people running toward the danger? When people duck their heads down, who are lifting their heads up to see where to run?

Last week, I wrote about using important people to answer the question, “tell me about yourself” by answering how they would when speaking about you. Helpers come in all shapes and sizes. By thinking about a past boss, or teacher or friend, it helps us realize that we have always had a tribe around us. We have always been surrounded by people advocating for our joy. People who will always try and build us up rather than tear us down. Helpers. Who are the helpers in your life? We don’t need tragedy or explosions or gunfire to seek out and appreciate helpers. The helpers in my life probably don’t even realize how much they help me on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s a word. Sometimes a hug. Sometimes, they come running when I call. Look for the helpers. They are all around us.

As our Tribe of Up expands and grows, it is time to lay a challenge at your feet. The challenge is this: Who are your helpers? When your life starts spinning out of control, who runs towards the chaos and helps you? Make a list. The first one or two will be easy. Push yourself to come up with times people outside the normal list came to help you. Pen to paper, make a list. Once you have that list, reach out to them and say thank you. Let them know how they have helped you. Is it corny? Is it cliché? Of course it is. In the Tribe of Up, there are no cheesy actions. The only cheese I like is on tacos…and Spicy Nacho Doritos. Call them. Text them. Just say thank you. Helpers are rare. When you see moments on TV where people are running away from evil, there are always many running away and very few running towards. Once we find our helpers, please let them know how much you appreciate them. Time is fleeting and life is short. Don’t wait.

Lastly, who have you been a helper for? Think back to the circumstances. Maybe it was something small or trivial, large and life changing. It doesn’t matter. At various points in time, you have been a helper to others. They are list number 2. Reach out to them. Just connect and let them know you are thinking of them. I often text people or message them on social media just to say hi. My message goes something like this. “Hi there. I was just thinking about you and wanted to say hi. Hoping all is well.” You may never know how a simple message saying hello may be a message of hope in disguise. Look for the helpers. Look for the helper inside of yourself. Thank the helpers who have been there for you. Thank you, Mr. Rogers. Thank you very much for being one of my helpers.

Steve Gwisdalla is the Helper-In-Chief, Head Cook and Bottle Washer and all-around Happiness Officer of the Tribe of Up. He also owns a personal coaching and consulting business in Dexter. If you find yourself in need of a helper, reach out at steve@betterplacemgmt.com

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