The Simplest Hard Question to Ask, “Will You Help Me?”

It will take you about 4 minutes to read this. 

Many of you won’t read it and you’ll tell yourself that you don’t have time or that this isn’t you.  Stop right there. 

Let’s see if that’s actually true.

Think back to the last time you asked for help.  Remember the circumstances.  At what point did you realize that you didn’t have everything you needed to successfully handle what was going on?

Pinpoint the moment you knew you needed help.  It usually takes additional time before you ask for it.  Sometimes it takes days, and the delay is meaningful.  The fallout from the situation cascades, resulting in unexpected consequences with disastrous results.

My clients have their reasons for the delay between realizing they need help and actually asking for it.  Here are a few:

  1. It’s weak to ask for help.
  2. I’m supposed to know what to do.
  3. I’m smart enough to figure this out for myself.
  4. This is so messed up, no one can help.

Let’s look at each of these reasons.

Weak?  Humans are designed to live in community.  We are not designed to live and work in isolation.  Strength is knowing yourself and your capabilities.  Identifying the limits of your abilities and then taking the responsibility to fill that gap between what you know needs to be done and what you can deliver.

Supposed to know…. really?  If you are running a business, family, or team, you cannot possibly hold as much knowledge on your own as the collective of people around you.  The power of that collective is found in sharing knowledge. Radical transparency along with the free exchange of information empowers the entire collective – you included.

Smart enough?  There are many kinds of intelligence.  Of course, you can figure things out for yourself!  You are capable and competent.  You have your strengths, skills, and personal superpowers.  BUT, the limitations of one person, with one perspective, one set of experiences, and 24 hours in a day cannot compete with the capabilities and capacities of a cohort.  With a strong cohort, you have access to a diverse set of experiences, thought, and knowledge.  You can go farther, faster, and closer to a resolution with others than you can alone.

Lastly, this is so messed up, is a story.  This story is your internal narrative.  Don’t let your natural irritation get in the way of seeing that there are as many assumptions, interpretations, and limiting beliefs in those narratives as there is truth.   Introducing even 1 more variable into a situation can have a major impact on the outcome.

Here is my recommendation: ask for help when you realize you need it.  Ask for help before S*%! hits the fan.  Define the issue.  Note where you are stuck.  Consider what you need for success.  Then, ask for that help.

You will be stronger for the asking.  You will gain a stronger understanding of your knowledge gaps and blind spots.  You will be stronger for the learning you will curate from the experience.  You will be stronger by adopting a practice of examining every story you come up with.  That is a quick, 4 minute look at the strengths my clients have discovered, and what you can gain by asking for help.

For those that chose to read this, you have a choice.  You can always hire someone to help.  After approximately 3 months in, my clients always say, “I wish I had done this years ago!”

Did you see yourself here?  You can save yourself time, energy and, in some cases, money, by seeking the help you need when you need it.  Truth.

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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