Monday, November 21, 2011

Ask for help. Be grateful. Owe many thanks.

Thankful for readers, yet stuck for what to write about, I rambled through Thanksgiving quotes.  Here’s the one that popped:

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.  ~William Jennings Bryan

Yup.  If you’ve lots to be thankful for, it’s likely that you’ve had help along the way.  Most of you can also think of the help you’ve gladly given others, and the thanks you’ve received.

So why is it so hard to ask for help?  Why do so many of us fear that we might look "stupid" if we ask for help? Why so hard to acknowledge dependence? 

Doesn’t matter.   What matters is that if you are at all reluctant to ask for help - get over it.  Struggle is often optional.  Use every option you have to get from here to there as elegantly as possible.  Asking for help will make the journey less stressful and faster.  There’s nothing more to it.  If you ask and are turned down, well, so what?  In the vast majority of cases, people are flattered when you ask for their help and will gladly offer it.

Need some examples?

I love doing this kind of  work and I’d like to add more clients  like you.  I’d really appreciate your help in growing my practice.  [ask for ideas, a referral, introductions, appropriately]

I’m working on a complex matter and I’m wondering if the approach I’m taking is the best one, would you mind spending a half an hour with me?  I’d appreciate your perspective.

You’re one of the most successful solos in the area.  I’ve been marketing consistently, but I’m not seeing a lot of clients coming in.  I wonder if I’m using the most effective tactics.  If you have some time to share your experience, I’d greatly appreciate your help. 

Give yourself permission to ask for help.  Here’s a homework assignment: ask for help at least once a day for two weeks.  On the flip side, offer help when you can.  This Thanksgiving, think about the balance of receiving and giving help, of thanking and being thanked.

All in all, you’ll be happier and more successful in less time if you master the art of asking for help.  I think that's worth the risk of being turned down or looking "stupid".  In fact, wouldn't it be stupid if you could get help and just don't ask?

(Maybe I should call this the "stupid" post.  Dang, does this post make me look stupid...?)