How often have you wanted to ask someone for help and yet, didn’t? How many times have your family, friends and co-workers help you make you the person you are today?
Why do we feel so frail when we need help? Everyone of us needs help in myriad ways throughout any given day or week. At work, seldom do we hesitate to ask a co-worker to help us finish a project, or take over a duty when we want/need to take time off, or get more information, or research, or even role-play for an important presentation. But, when we need to ask for personal help, we hide like rabbits from a fox. Why?
Ego? Maybe it’s fear of rejection. Maybe it’s fear of appearing weak. Maybe it’s admitting to ourselves that we can’t do it all by ourselves; a resounding declaration of humanity. When you don’t feel well, you ask a doctor’s advice. When you can’t find an answer to some personal matter you either consult a psychologist or a self-help book, or your favorite bartender. Heaven forbid that you would ask for help from your family or friends if you were in financial, mental or personal trouble.
I also know some of my men friends won’t call the doctor. “It’ll go away, soon.” “I don’t need a doctor.” “This isn’t anything.” About two weeks later pneumonia’s set in. Human frailty is in our makeup; it runs in our veins, and yet it can be as deadly – in some people’s minds – as a viper. Ask.
When you ask for help I’d guess over 90 percent of the time, people help. Yes, the other 10 percent of the time a friend or family member says, “no.” You have to live with that. At least you asked. When was the last time someone asked you for help? How did you feel? Proud to have someone trust you enough to ask? Aggravated that they asked? It’s hard to say, “no,” but sometimes that’s the best course of action. I’ve said “no,” before and I’ve also been refused of help; I obviously made it past that.
I’ve asked several of my friends for help and to a person they’ve been there for me. I’ve been the recipient of a friend in need and I’m happy to help, when and if I can. I don’t see the weakness in the asking, I see the strength. The strength comes from knowing what you need. I’m not saying to keep asking for money or assistance when you haven’t taken strides to help yourself, but I know that there’s a personal safety deposit box in each of us and we keep our feelings locked tight.
I watched, with amazement and fascination, 60 Minutes last night. I found Katie Couric’s interview with Andre Agassi spellbinding. I’m an ardent fan – not just of Agassi, but also professional tennis. Agassi spiraled down to the dregs of humanity before he asked for help, got himself clean and made it back from 141 in the rankings to #1. It was one of the greatest comebacks in sports’ history. Have you been down and asked for a hand? Needed someone to give you the recognition you deserve? Asked for a hug? Someone was there for you, wasn’t s/he?
From the richest to the poorest, from the strongest to the weakest, from the child to the adult, from the C-level to the factory worker, and from your parents to your best friend help is the spine of their being and yours. Someone may need a lift to the office, a drink, a pat on the back, a friendship card, a note, a thankyou; the list goes on. Help is four letters of partnership in this journey. Ask. Give. Enjoy.
I’m starting a presentation skills webinar the first week in December. Join us. Go to my website and sign up. You’ll be amazed at what a difference good presentation skills do for your professional journey. (I’m asking for help in a different manner!)