Asking for help. So simple. Then why do many of us find it so difficult?
It’s ok for children to ask for help, and any parent will be well-aware of how proficient most toddlers are in this skill. So what changes as we get older?
There is a myth that on reaching adulthood we become ‘the helpers’ not ‘the helped’. As we age and grow more expert in our fields of work and study, it becomes less acceptable to admit we are finding things difficult. Asking for help becomes a sign of weakness; an admission of being less than perfect.
Brené Brown interviewed thousands of people in the research for her book ‘Daring Greatly’. In the section on leaders and entrepreneurs she quotes Gay Gaddis, owner and founder of a leading US think tank,
‘Success requires entrepreneurs to cultivate strong support networks and good mentors. You need to learn how to shut out the noise so you can get clear on how you feel and what you think, and then you do the hard work. No question – it’s all about vulnerability.’
Last night I attended a mentoring event organized by The Step Up Club. The panel of inspiring speakers, including Olympic gold medallists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh and jeweller Dinny Hall, shared their refreshingly down-to-earth experiences of mentoring. Not only had they all reached out and asked for help at some point in their careers, they had also actively nurtured the network of supportive people around them. Support had come from all sorts of places – friends, team mates, business owners, family and even competitors. Whatever the origin of the support, all were in agreement that it had been instrumental in their career success.
Support is out there, even when you least expect it. Reach out and see what happens.