The past two weeks I’ve been reflecting more upon patience and asking for help. The more people I meet, the more I realize just how important developing patience is, as is the ability to recognize when we need help.
Often people mistakenly believe that asking for help is, in some way, a demerit, or means they are in some way deficient. I would like to dispel this notion now.
When we ask for help, we are recognizing a limit, for the moment, to either what we know, or are capable of doing. It does not mean that we are deficient. In fact, it means the opposite.
Meaning that when we recognize a limit within ourselves, we immediately get to grow that limit to a new level. And, in that moment we are courageous. Many of the greatest leaders of all time recognize and celebrate this fact.
Here is a great quote from Barack Obama about asking for help.
Asking for Help 101
As I reflect upon times when asking for help was more difficult for me, I considered a few strategies that may be helpful for those that, like me, continue to see the action of asking for help as a developmental opportunity.
Start small – when asking for help, you can start small. Start by thinking about the areas in your work or life that you would either like to learn more about, or could use assistance with. For instance, when I first started to open up to the idea of asking for help, I would ask people to assist me with pieces of projects that fit their skill set. When you can ask someone for help, and give them a piece of work that excites or inspires them, it makes the process of asking for help a little easier.
Begin with people you already trust – one of the reasons I shied away from asking for help was because I was concerned about looking incompetent, which is a simple thinking error. When we don’t ask for help, and we try to do everything on our own is, in fact, when incompetence will be seen and felt. However, one way to allay the fear of looking incompetent by asking for help, is to ask someone you already know and trust.
Make it a healthy habit – the only way to really make asking for help stick in your life, is to do it regularly. Simply meaning, that creating a healthy habit of asking for help when needed, will continue to push you outside of your comfort zone. However, the more you ask for help, the less uncomfortable it will feel.
There are three simple strategies you can use to begin to ask people for help. Remember, we are always getting help from people around us, always. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all connected and interdependent. Yep, true.
As we have discussed, asking for help is a courageous act. Yet, people continue to see asking for help as something that is a weakness. Let’s continue to bust this myth, shall we? Good. Here we go.
A Strength Not A Weakness
Here are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and should be considered a strength not a weakness.
Relationships – when we ask someone for help, we are acknowledging that relationships matter to us. That, in fact, we are vulnerable enough to say, “you know, I don’t know.” Important. When we are vulnerable in our relationships, and that vulnerability is reciprocated, our relationships become deeper and more meaningful.
Connection – when we learn to ask for help, we become more open. More open to asking people we don’t know for help. As we pursue asking people we don’t know for help, we create the opportunity to meet new people; and, to deepen our connection with our own humanity, and the humanity of others.
Collaboration – as we practice asking for help, we learn that this practice becomes a strength. We learn that asking for help is essential in order to really collaborate with other people. No true collaboration exists without asking for help. Simple.
Synergy – as we begin to collaborate more, we realize that inside of true collaboration exists a very powerful concept, called synergy. Synergy occurs when people are aligned, work together, and help each other. When you work on a team that has synergy, you are able to innovate and execute inside of any situation. Why? Because you’ve learned to ask for help. You’ve learned that asking questions, and asking for help is an essential part of being a human being.
Alright, there are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and why asking for help is a real strength.
If you’re not used to asking for help. Don’t worry. Try some of the strategies listed above in asking for help 101; and remember, when we ask for help, we are admitting, yes, we don’t know something, or need assistance in completing something. And, guess what?
We all don’t know many things; and, we all need assistance getting things done. We do. It’s not a demerit. It’s the opposite.
Asking for help is a sign of courage and a sign of your inner strength.