Thursday, August 21, 2014
Do you find it easy to ask for help? I’ll admit this doesn’t come easy for me. I’m getting better at it but still have a long way to go. I consider myself to be pretty independent so asking for help is definitely not something that comes naturally to me. There are many times I’d rather go it alone than admit I’m in need of assistance. I think this comes from, somewhere along the way something told me (or someone told me or society told me) that asking for help equated to weakness or dependence. What I’ve discovered is that it’s anything but that. It’s a sign of great strength to not only admit that you are in need of help but also to accept help from others. Why is it a sign of strength? Because it takes a strong person to be self-aware enough to their own limitations and admit to them. It takes a strong person to solicit the support of others and then actually accept that help.
I often see this behavior in female leaders I coach. They sometimes act like martyrs because they feel if they admit to not knowing something or needing help in some specific area at work, it will undermine their authority or others will see them as weak and/or incapable of fulfilling their job responsibilities. These thoughts are typically just stories we’ve told ourselves or picked up from other people who had those beliefs. Leaders who ask for help are typically the best ones out there because they know they cannot be good at everything; they acknowledge their limitations. They leverage their strengths and seek out those who supplement their skills in areas they are not experts. They surround themselves with good people, which, in turn, make them better leaders.
It’s the same thing in any area of your life. When you’ve got a lot going on and/or are going through a tough time, what makes you stronger is admitting you need support and surrounding yourself with the people who can provide that to you. What makes you weaker is trying to do it all on your own and/or not admitting you need help. What typically happens when you don’t ask for assistance is you end up crumbling under the stress of what you’re trying to deal with because you’re dealing with it alone. Admitting you need help and asking for it is what keeps you strong and helps you rise up to whatever challenge you are facing. Accepting the support of others not only eases your burden and strengthens you further but also reveals your authenticity and vulnerability to others. This makes you real. Yes, we all would like to be Wonder Woman or Superman but truth is, even they needed support. And, we are real people, not superheroes. Asking for help, admitting our limitations and being willing to be vulnerable makes us real and allows others the space to be real around us too. And this ends up making us all much stronger in the long run.