If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
If you look at any successful person, they will invariably have a go-to person or even a network of people behind the scenes that help them solve problems and plan their life for optimal success - mentors, well-wishers, a range of people that support them.
Asking for help is not weakness but a strength. And it is as relevant in the work place as it is in our personal lives. Asking for help makes sense for so many reasons. Things get done quicker as we ask people that are more experienced than we are to advise us on the solution or path. Things get done in a better and smarter way. We are out of the stress and mess more quickly if the problem has escalated in any way.
Yet many of us are reluctant to seek support. Mainly out of fear. We do not want to look weak. We are afraid of burdening someone. We do not want to overstep a friendship. We are afraid of showing we are not perfect and that we have allowed something to pile up. We are afraid of our exposing our own dysfunction.
Yet, the advantages of seeking support far outweigh the momentary discomfort of 'asking'. When asking for support, or anything in life, it is also important to be ready to accept if the person turns you down. If they do, invariably there is someone else better placed and more open to helping when you open your eyes and look around. And when they do help, be grateful.
While it is generally 'good' to ask for help, it is also important to know who to ask.
We often have a tendency to speak to and spend time with people that are like-minded. When you want to solve a problem, it is important to choose a person that knows more than you in the area you want to progress.
If you want to design a house, ask an architect and or someone that has built a house like what you want to have. If you want to solve relationship problems with your partner, it may be more productive to speak to someone who is happily married than someone single or a person that also has current relationship difficulties. Ask someone that has solved or perfected what you want to do or is at least a few steps ahead of you.
Sometimes we have regular 'go-to' people in our lives. And sometimes we hear things in passing that stay with us. I lived in Africa for a number of years and an American nun I met gave me a great piece of advice that has remained with me: Her approach to life was: 'Show up, be present, speak your truth and accept the outcome'. I am reminded of this regularly.
Another great reason to ask is people love to help. It is one of the things that gives us most joy in life. By asking, you could be helping the other person better understand their strengths. We all have gifts to share. And when we help others, it often opens the doors to other collaboration that we would not have discovered otherwise.
Interestingly, a recent major study showed the biggest factors in longevity and health as social connectedness and having close relationships where we can rely on others for support. So 'asking for help' not only solves our immediate problems, it also promotes, health, happiness and wellbeing over our lifetime.
If inspired, look at where you are struggling most this week. And if you need help, ask. You will be amazed at the results.