WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS….
After years in the corporate world as an executive coach, I must say that one of my observation is that people struggle in their environment because they don’t know how to ask for what they need.
However, simple is not necessarily easy.
Why we don’t ask
Popular wisdom believes that we need to be self-sufficient and know it all to be recognized as proficient. We typically believe that asking for help is showing weaknesses. It is imposing on others. It is putting ourselves in a vulnerable spot. If we invite someone in to help then he/she will take over, or so we think.
Is that so?
The real reason why we don’t ask
Simply put, it is because we don’t know how. It is a very well-known fact that our behavior is shaped by our environment. As leaders in our communities and/or organizations we need to promote the benefits of giving and taking. Reaching out to others. Contributing.
The reason why we should
Every one of us is good at something. I mean really good at something. Given our talent, experience, age, environment, etc., there are things we know hands down and love to do. Those are the things we should engage in.
How easier and so much more fun would your life be if you could exchange your strengths with someone else’s (preferably who has what you are lacking) rather than having to figure it all our on your own?
The biggest misconception
How many times has someone said to you “Let me know if I can help”? And how many times have you followed up? It is a very well- known fact that there is more happiness in giving than receiving. So, when people offer to help, the responsibility to follow up with them is ours. It is also our challenge.
Too many of us believe others will see that we are in need. So often I have heard people say “Surely they could see I needed help. If they had wanted to help they would have”.
By far, this is the biggest misconception. People are not mind readers. They are up to their eyeballs with their own issues. You think they can guess what yours are?
- Know what you need
- Be specific
- Explain what difference it will make to you
For example: I need someone to review the project I am working on and give me feedback on its feasibility. I need to have completed the first draft by the end of the month. Once this is done, I will qualify to enter the competition for a new job. Do you know someone who can help or someone who could refer me to someone who can help?
The more specific you are, the better others can help.
The benefits of asking
There are so many I can’t list them all; you learn a lot faster, you discover things you would have never known, you meet new people, you get to exchange best practices, you give someone else the opportunity to experience the joy of giving, you avoid mistakes, you are more efficient because you don’t waste all that time with trials and errors, your life is easier, and then some….
But best of all, you give others permission to do the same. You build a culture of cooperation. You learn to lean on others. Self-sufficiency is overrated. It sits on the same shelf as the superwoman syndrome. It is the best way to suffer exhaustion and isolation. Avoid at all cost.
Instead, take full advantage of others’ knowledge and strengths and spend more time in your area of expertise and more importantly, learn from each other’s.
Be part of your community: Everyone will benefit.
Gisèle Aubin, Executive Coaching