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With a little help from my friends
There are times in your life when you need more help than in other times. I recently went through such a period in my life. The road was long and dark. I tend to figure things out for myself but not this time; this time I asked for help. I simply couldn’t do it alone nor did I want to. I was in desperate need for both moral support as well as practical help.
The help I received was overwhelming and touching. Just because I asked.
On a plane ride last week, I read an interesting article in the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) ‘How to get the help you need’ (by Heidi Grant).
As we know and as is also reinforced in the article, for growing and learning, for career progression, for expanding our knowledge and skills, we need help. In an increasingly more complex world, knowing or doing things on our own is simply no longer enough. But to receive help, you need to ask for it and that is not easy, often linked to a deep rooted belief that asking for help shows weakness.
So, inspired by this article and with my own twist, here are some tips on how to turn this ‘weakness’ into a strength:
- Get over your reluctance to ask for help by realizing that most people ‘want to’ help. We are social beings. The higher the group identity, the more people will want to help.
- When you ask for help, be clear and specific about what you need.
- Don’t make your request conditional (‘If you help me I will help you) because people may feel trapped.
- Make it clear why you ask this person for help with this particular task. Who is uniquely placed to help you with this task? Who is good at listening? Organizing cabinets? Analyzing your memo? Helping you with preparing your performance reviews? Who can help you turning ‘working hard’ into ‘working smart’?
- And most importantly, be grateful and say thank you!
And so I am learning to ask for help and welcome with open arms what I receive. With a special thank you to my great colleagues, friends and family for all the help I received over the last few months. You warmed my heart and lifted my spirit.