Running a small business can be hard, especially when balancing the ebb and flow of work. Wooden Spoon has a small but mighty crew. We manage to make it work, but only because I have learned the art of accepting help from others in my life.

For years, I was convinced I was able to figure it out myself. I applied this to issues big and small. When I got sober, I spent two years in agony until a friend offered a way to not just be sober, but to live a life that was joyous, happy and free. I was desperate, and accepted her offer of help, which opened up an entire community of support.

Getting into a recovery program has brought me peace, serenity, and given me clarity that I cannot do everything by myself. Recovery provides a roadmap for accepting help that people offer. Otherwise, I don’t know if Wooden Spoon would have made it through the ups and downs over the past few years.

When I accept help, I have made my circle of people a little bigger. I have created shared moments and experiences.

Established Helpers

I was able to cut my teeth on accepting help with family.

For example, my dad is our main child care delivery driver, spending long days delivering to Blue Earth, St. James and Madison Lake. He has been able to create relationships with our customers. He handles that job with the care and attention that he gave helping run a multi-national ag company for years.

Whenever he is in for a delivery shift, he is checking in to see if anything else needs to be done. He often can be found in our garage breaking down boxes and putting away our food truck delivery. That is the kind of project that often doesn’t get the attention from our team, as we focus on working in the kitchen and in the front end…until the mountain of boxes creates an unwieldy barrier to getting out the door.

I was thinking there were two paths in front of me – either continue to struggle on my own or accept the help.

I have spent my entire life with my parents supporting me, cheering me on and helping me problem solve through life’s grand pivots. What has been more surprising are those folks who are new additions to my life journey and unabashedly offer help. I have been slower to accept the offers of help in this form.

My wonderful friend Shandy helped get me comfortable with doing this. We were on our weekly walk and I was trying to figure out how to make our beloved Farm to Wooden Spoon events work. She did not miss a beat and offered her help in setting up the space and running table service.

I remember that moment. I was thinking there were two paths in front of me – either continue to struggle on my own or accept the help. She had my best interest at heart and did not expect anything in return. I accepted her help, and her vision helped shape the look and feel of how we now execute the Farm to Wooden Spoon experience. Her smiles and energy helped transition those meals into what they are today!

New Helpers

So close friends and family help, but what about that person who offers help that is newer in your life?

Last month, the blizzard delays created a mash-up of caterings and events that spread our small team to the limit. The result was me going solo on the second day of our SnowKato vending event, selling soup and a build-your-own hot chocolate bar. Vicki Hart, a new friend, coordinated our Friday event for Mayo. As I was trying to figure out how to make it work the next day, she offered to come and help me. I remember thinking, why would you just offer to help me? My brain was a bit frozen and I did not say no right away, even though I was thinking no, but thank you for the offer.

The silence created the space for acceptance, and she came to help the next day. She even brought her daughter London, who was an amazing help creating the perfect hot chocolate combination. I felt immense gratitude that Vicki gave up her precious time with her family to stand in the cold. Vicki was selfless in her offer and refused to even accept cookies in return for her help.

Accepting help can be hard

I have realized it is actually an exercise in humility and vulnerability. I had to accept that I can’t do everything myself. I have to be vulnerable and let go of total control.

When I accept help, I have made my circle of people a little bigger. I have created shared moments and experiences. These connections are what creates the web of community. It also creates an important sense that I need and want to offer help to others, in order to keep that community strong.

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The Local Stir is the regular column of Natasha Frost, Brigitte Rasmussen, and Nicole Lange who all happen to have Wooden Spoon in common. At its heart, The Local Stir is about food culture and life in the kitchen but along the way you’ll be touched by the personal lives of all three contributors as well as being stirred by some of their other passions.

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Natasha Frost
Natasha is the owner of Wooden Spoon, a restaurant in the heart of Old Town Mankato. She is also a public health lawyer at a national non-profit. Natasha identifies as a cisgender, able-bodied white woman and an alcoholic in active recovery.