Key Point: How do you feel when someone asks you for help? (I didn’t say, ‘ask you for money’). I usually feel darn good that someone has the trust and confidence in me that they would ask. And I do not recall ever turning anyone down when they do.
It was very hot in the church we went to this Sunday. Half way through the service, an elderly parishioner slumped down in the pew a few rows in front of us… Fainting spell? Heart attack? Stroke? Of course, no one was sure but at least six very knowledgeable people jumped in to help. Legs up, cold compresses, pulse check, ambulance called. And of course, the woman didn’t have a choice to ask for help. But, when she slipped into unconsciousness, help was there, and she needed it. I guarantee you everyone felt better as the event concluded. (The patient was ultimately ok).
It made me realize that often people at work (and life) really need help but are reluctant to ask for it. We think we can go it alone. I’ve lived and repeated this mistake in work and life. There have been times when the best thing I could have done is to realize I needed the support of others and wish I’d had the strength to request it. Frankly, my resistance went beyond hard headed perseverance. I was just too proud, and as the wise saying aptly goes, “pride precedes the fall.”
“When you don’t ask for help when you need it, you personally assume all of a burden that might easily (and gladly) be shared by others. And you also deprive those who’d love to assist you of the opportunity to do so. Everyone is worse off… Not only can it help us when times are tough and we’re struggling, but it also gives others the opportunity to make a difference while helping them feel more comfortable to ask for help themselves. When we support other people to be more successful, we discover opportunities for collaboration that ultimately enable us to be more successful ourselves. Everyone is better off.”
- Know when to ask for help and have the courage to do so. Don’t let your ego deprive others from contributing. It is important that you are genuine and honest when describing what you need help with. This includes identifying that you are struggling without knowing exactly what you require. When you go down for the count, asking for help can often be too little too late.
- If someone asks for help, be a great listener BEFORE you offer solutions. Cross the bridge to stand as close as you can to the person requesting help. Stand in their shoes as best as you can. Be present, notice, and inquire. Clarity on how to best help follows empathetic listening. Do not blindly try to “fix it” for the other person.
- Also have the courage to let someone know that they may require help. Often times, people are so stuck in mud, they can’t “back the car out far enough to look at what a mess they’re in.” They honestly don’t understand how much they need the support of others. Describe what behavior you see and what indicates they may need help. Offer it. Do it.
Help in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: A fraternity buddy and I created a show for our university’s TV network, and during one of the segments, we invited a local psychic as a guest. He read my palm, and immediately told me I was “very independent.” That’s probably the only thing he had right, but, needless to say, even (probably fake) psychics can tell that asking for “help” with pretty much anything is not my strong suit. Ironically, I love helping others, but, still, I’m generally too darn stubborn to ask for it myself. That, however, doesn’t mean I’m always smart enough to mask it, or in a place where I don’t need it. The courage to ask for more help is something I’ll probably have to work on forever, but, in the meantime, I hope to help as many others as I can so at least it would justify any assistance that comes my way.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis