Asking For Help Shows Your Strength

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting

“Ask for help not because you’re weak, but because you want to remain strong.”
Les Brown

I think we’ve all heard the phrase “two heads are better than one” and though most people agree with that statement, they are often still hesitant to ask for help. Why is that? It can be a variety of reasons, but most often it comes down to 4, usually misguided assumptions.

Usually at the top of that list is fear of showing weakness – I should be able to solve this problem on my own. Yet when you share the challenge with others you will bring more ideas directed toward solving the problem as well. Rather than feeling drained and frustrated, you will feel more energized and be able to be more relaxed and enjoy the problem solving process.

Next is the fear of inconveniencing someone by asking for their help. How do you feel when asked for your help? Don’t you usually feel honored to be asked? Asking for help creates the opportunity for others to share their knowledge and talents and it is usually taken as a great compliment that you would even ask them. You are allowing them the happiness that comes from giving as well as making them more comfortable asking for help at some point themselves.

Of course there is often the fear of loss of control. Most designers who own their own firms are used to being in control and don’t like the feeling of losing that control. Yet if your firm is successful, you have probably created a team to assure that success. So reflect on why a team is usually more successful than going it alone. Reach out to other designers with whom you may have formed connections through your professional organization, or with whom you have connected through Gail Doby/Design Success University events. Pick up the phone and ask for their help.

The final misguided assumption is that you are the only one who can solve the problem because no one else can do it as well. Asking for help or support expands the possible solutions, and in the words of Ronald Reagan, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” You are still leading that team, but a good leader is usually me-focused whereas a great leader is others-focused. Keep that in mind when worrying about asking for help because you fear loss of control. When you ask for their help, you are stating that you are imperfect just like everyone else and they will relate to you and respect you more for being strong enough to ask for help.

Finally, I came across a valuable statement from an article in Forbes: “When we support other people to be more successful, we discover opportunities for collaboration that ultimately enable us to be more successful ourselves.” Ask for help and show your strength as you continually strive to be more successful.


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