A note on using people

As you might know I’m working my way through Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way. You might not know that one of the things that has helped with this process (tremendously) is meeting with three other women to talk about our journey to discover our hidden or stifled artist.

Two topics that come up quite often is:

  • If you know what you want and ask for it, doors will suddenly open up and if you’re brave enough you’ll accept that gift.
  • The fear of not wanting “to use” people.

I don’t understand the latter hang up. I personally love to open doors for people, and I doubt I’m the only one. As soon as someone mentions something they want to do and I can think of someone who is in that field I get really excited to introduce them. It makes me feel useful and invested in anything good that comes out of the union.

I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine (and I’ll even remove all the fleas).

For example, I’m looking for a job right now which is always an excruciating process. When I finally had a lead, I realized the actual job was not going to be challenging enough and I would quickly grow bored with it. A part of me want to take the job anyway, cause I don’t know when the next offer will come around, but another part of me said that would be a decision made from fear. Someone else would kill for that job, so why should I take it and not appreciate it. Then I remembered an old co-worker who just graduated from college. She was describing the kind of job she wanted and I knew she would be a perfect fit  for the school. To make a long story short, she got the job and is happy, the school’s administration is happy that I helped them get a great employee, and I can only hope that when a higher level position opens up, they will keep me in mind. In this situation everyone is happy (well I’m still out of a job, but at least I feel good about helping others).

It helps me believe that when I know for sure what I want to do there will be an army of friends and acquaintances who will want to open doors for me. Success and happiness are not limited resources; if someone helps you achieve success they are not giving up any of theirs, and it oftentimes helps them feel more successful.  So if you know someone who might be able to help you, by all means ask them for help. And if you can help someone offer to do so. If your friend doesn’t want the best for you, than maybe they are not a real friend.


  1. I’m doing the artist’s way as well – I’ve actually been working my way through all of Julia Cameron’s motivational work over the past few years. It’s been tremendously helpful! I have a thought about the fear of using people. What you describe is networking as it should be done – you naturally practice reciprocity. There are people that don’t, or are so suspicious of the motives of others that they don’t even think to offer connection when they could, and avoiding being a user all comes down to reciprocity. Really the fear of using someone is an internalized belief that the person with the fear has nothing to offer. With a little faith in synchronicity, you could well have plenty to offer – something you already know and practice naturally.


    1. I loved the way you put that, “Really the fear of using someone is an internalized belief that the person with the fear has nothing to offer.” I’m realizing that so many of life challenges boil down to people not believing their good enough, or worthy of love, and then they treat other people that way as well. Like you said, it’s all about having faith. Thanks for leaving a comment, and good luck on your artist’s way!


  2. I am a firm believer in reciprocity and in asking for and giving help. There is no good reason not to help someone if you can, and, as you so well put it, plenty of reasons to extend yourself. Love you!


    1. Well people do have their reasons for not helping people or asking for help (fear, insecurity, feelings of incompetency), but it would be great if everyone could work through those emotions because the world would be much better if everyone had your attitude towards reciprocity!


  3. Love your stuff, Tracy! Good work! Keep it up! I’d keep my eyes open for a job for you but then I would feel like you were using me for a job. Who wants to feel used? Oh wait, you do! LOL


    1. Haha. I actually had to reread my own advice when I was afraid to ask someone for help last week. It’s so hard to take your own advice, but it worked out in the end!


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