When We Need Help Asking for Help
“I’ve never been one to ask for help. If I need a mountain moved, I move it myself.” These song lyrics caught our attention the other day. For many of us, this “DIY” mindset is a rut that it can be really easy to slip into. Asking for help can feel like admitting we’re inadequate, weak, or simply not capable. But what if, instead of asking for help being associated with weakness, it became our greatest strength?
In her San Francisco TED Talk, Michele L. Sullivan puts it like this, “It’s important that we all have a support system. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. We all need help throughout our lifetime, but it’s just as important that we are part of other people’s support system. We must adopt that way of giving back. We all obviously have a role to play in our own successes, but think about the role we have to play in other people’s successes. It’s vitally important that we help each other, because society is increasingly placing people in silos.”
Let us frame this up a bit more clearly. Michele lives with a rare form of dwarfism. This means that when she travels as a speaker, author, and leader, her height adds challenges to the experience of flying, something we probably take for granted. As she shares with wit and wisdom in her TED Talk, she has to ask for help with things like putting her bag in the overhead compartment and getting her scooter onto the plane. These are simple examples of the many visible challenges she confronts every day – the ones people can see. But, as she puts it so powerfully, “None of us are what you can see – there’s more to each of us than that.”
We’re all navigating many challenges in our lives, some very visible and some invisible. As Michelle shares, “I will never know what it’s like to be you, and you will never know what it’s like to be me. The only shoes you can truly walk in are your own. So, instead of trying to walk in each other’s shoes, we need to find a new way of giving ourselves.”
With that in mind, first we need to get comfortable asking for help. None of us can do everything on our own – it’s impossible. And so, each of us needs to drop the “I’ve got this all under control” mindset and recognize that what we can accomplish with others is massive compared to what we can do solo. That moment, when we drop our pride and embrace asking for help is a gamechanger.
As OrangeBall, we can say without hesitation that our success has come not through our own efforts, but with the help of others, and that’s why it’s so crucial that we surround ourselves with great people. From our families and good friends to our teams, professional networks and peers, our circle is what makes us strong. Asking for help simply means including them in creating our success.
The flip-side of this is equally important. We need to get comfortable giving of ourselves. At OrangeBall, we describe this as taking a servant approach. This means being there when people ask us for our help and being proactive to offer it before they ask. Each of us, in our businesses, organizations, and our personal relationships has the opportunity to be a helper – if we are willing to act when opportunities arise.
Be willing to ask for help and be prepared to help. That moment, where we realize that none of us can do anything alone, is powerful. This week, actively look for opportunities to do both – to receive help and to give it.
To the OrangeBall tribe, thanks for reading this blog and for sharing your feedback. We’re building something more significant than an agency here, and we’re grateful to have each of you alongside us as we travel this path. Together, we can do great things!