"If you need help bark like a dog.” –Gendry “That’s stupid. If I need help I’ll shout help.” –Arya (George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings)
Asking for help. Do you find it difficult?
A simple request for help can be one of the hardest questions for you to get out of your mouth. I know that it is for me. I love this quote because sometimes our needs are disguised. You may feel like it’s safer to sound like a dog barking, but really, you are longing for some help or guidance on what is going on at work or in your life. You will do anything but ask.
For me, there are times when asking for help feels like a sign that I have failed. It feels like I’m exposing a weakness. That is the way that I looked at it for many years, but this is utterly not true. While failure could be part of the equation, the reality is that when you access someone else’s knowledge it can be the spark you need to jump start the ideas that are already dwelling inside your mind. Help is not a sign of failure. In fact, it is an admission that the people around you are needed to bring about true success. It is a gateway that leads to synergy.
In admitting that you need help, no matter what the circumstance may be, it opens the door for change to take place. There are 3 powerful changes that can occur:
Change of Perspective
Change of Information
Change of Relationship
A change in perspective allows you to see a problem from another’s point of view. It opens the door for new ideas. Art Markman writes, “We ask people to ‘think outside of the box’ but we should be asking people to find more descriptions of the box and see what that causes us to remember.” Getting an added perspective allows you to define problems differently, which in turn helps you look for answers in better places. Asking for help allows for this perspective to come and shed light on “the box.”
Changing the information that is given can be as simple as casual advice. The knowledge received from others is as beneficial as being in a classroom (in some cases even more beneficial). Firsthand information allows you to discover fresh knowledge and learning.
A change in relationship transforms the intersection of “work” and the rest of life. Asking for help can combine the two in new ways. Friendships build as honesty and accountability grows. Asking for help keeps you humble. It can foster empathy. It reminds you that you do not have to struggle alone. Perhaps there is someone next to you that can provide guidance.
Asking for help is powerful. It is a tool for success and it is most definitely not a last-ditch effort.