“Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” – Ric Ocasek
Asking for help can be so hard! Early in my career, I believed that if I didn’t do something completely on my own merit, then it didn’t really count.
Running a business or leading a project without asking for support and advice from others is like working with one hand tied behind your back. Still, many of us struggle.
We’re afraid to be seen as weak, or worry that people will say no; we feel obliged to return the favour, or find it conflicts with a personal value, like self-reliance.
The authors of a recent Harvard Business Review article write, “few things leaders can do are more important than encouraging helping behaviour within their organizations.” Sadly, helpfulness doesn’t automatically occur among colleagues, but needs to be fostered. Leaders need to set a culture of asking for help, and giving it.
On the flip side, being asked for help can be a wonderful experience. I get so much joy out of helping, coaching and mentoring. It’s a privilege to serve others, show compassion, and give back.
Asking for help takes practice but, more than that, it takes courage. The amazing thing I’ve learned is that asking can be a reward in and of itself. Asking for help creates an opportunity to form a heartfelt connection with someone, and can be a gift to the person being asked. The other good news is, you can get better at asking.
As Amanda Palmer writes in The Art of Asking,
“Asking for help with gratitude says: We have the power to help each other.” And what could be better than that?