The Power of Asking for Help

My life experiences generally fall into two categories: the times I asked for help and the times I wish I did. 

I remember when I first began to note the difference.

I was in bind trying to figure out how to start a new idea. I worked very hard on it but felt outside of myself. In a moment of panic, I made a phone call that changed my life. 

The person on the other line was someone I respected. They knew me and my idea just enough to provide encouragement. And perhaps I could have figured out the details on my own, but at the moment, I had driven myself into desperation.

This busy person dropped what they were doing to help me. I did not lead the conversation with my vulnerability because I wanted to pretend I had the perfect plan. But in a rare moment, I expressed my faltering confidence. 

This person shot right back: There are a million mistakes to make in the process, the only failure is not learning from them

The clarity of this declaration changed my life. So much so, I can tell you exactly where I was sitting when a mindshift began. 

Over time, I began to accept that asking for help early often leads to better outcomes. The benefits became too compelling:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes. Welcome to the human race.
  2. If we are going to make mistakes, then it makes sense to know which mistakes are worth making, and which mistakes we want to avoid. Asking for help is a faster way to learn.
  3. People have valuable experience and unique insight that we can tap into. Many are happy to share, if only someone sincerely asks for it.

The reason asking for help is hard is because it is hard. The best thing we can do is get over it. We can get over it by doing it, and seeing the results. Besides, why wait for desperation? Every moment is a chance to take a new path.

The power of asking for help seems to be multiplied by the number of people we can ask directly. Sometimes, it comes down to asking the right someone who we can trust and will truly understand. We may want to seek help from diverse people with different expertise. The point is — each helper can open more doors than any one person can achieve alone. 

My favorite is asking people who think differently than I do. They often surprise.

Remember, when it comes time to act, it is best to follow through. You are not alone. Remember the process. The only failure is not learning.