Last week Simon and I went to Columbus to visit a woodshop. We weren’t quite sure where we going and just like most men, Simon didn’t want to ask for directions, so it took us an 20 extra minutes to get there. I’ve always wondered why men won’t ask for directions. Why do they generally refuse to ask for help? I suppose it could be because they don’t see themselves as lost or, maybe, it’s their tendency to want to figure something out on their own.. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to see from the outside how this behavior can limit potential. 

Do you think of Steve Jobs as unsuccessful, or Larry Page as weak? Both men had Bill Campbell as a mentor and coach to help them. No one I know would call either man weak, yet both of these them knew they needed help to achieve their vision.

Successful people are people who get things done. How? It’s simple. They ask for help. NO ONE gets anywhere ALONE. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you’re like most people, you were taught that asking for help was a sign of weakness, I have something to tell you–get over it!

No one—and I mean NO ONE—can succeed on their own.  Actors and singers have coaches. Even professional athletes have coaches to help them achieve their goals. So what’s wrong with business people seeking out coaches?

There’s an old African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child’, which means that children need the support of a community. The same is true of a company, business or team. We are stronger and better when we work together. This is not a theory, it’s a fact. Leaders who are aware, conscious, continuously growing personally and professionally, and who courageously ask for, and openly receive support are the strongest leaders out there…….

….poor leaders are the ones who think, “I am the only one who can do it the right way. It’s easier and quicker for me to do it than to train or teach someone else to help me.”

Reframe Your Thinking

  • Reframe what it means to ask for help. Move from “I am a weak, incompetent loser” to “I am strategically allocating my time and I will do what is best for me ,my company and my team.”
  • Leaders who ask for help; create opportunities for others to share their gifts and talents; empower others to shine; learn more about others’ strengths and passions.
  • When you ask for support, you are trusting others, which strengthens the trust between you and your supporters.

The act of asking for support and openly receiving is probably one of the hardest life skills to practice, yet it’s the skill that can make you a better human being and a stronger leader.

Don’t dwell on the fact that you can’t do something or don’t have the time or expertise. Instead, think about what you will gain from the ask—a chance to connect, a chance to value, a chance to grow….

In summary, there is strength in being vulnerable, in being human. We were designed to co-create life changing experiences together.  

“We’re all imperfect and we all have needs. The weak usually do not ask for help, so they stay weak. If we recognize that we are imperfect, we will ask for help and we will pray for the guidance necessary to bring positive results to whatever we are doing.” — John Wooden