One of My Biggest Career and Life Mistakes: Not Asking for Help
I've always loved the story of the self made hero. While they still inspire me, I've since realized they all got a lot of help along the way.
Sometimes, no matter how much I struggle, I have the feeling that I can overcome any obstacle alone. While this is often true, going it alone costs you time, money, and pain. Asking for help is the shortcut we can be either to afraid or arrogant to use.
From an evolutionary perspective, we are hard wired to seek partnerships in order to survive. This is known as our "Tend and Befriend" instinct. Back when early humans lived in harsh conditions and the world was an unforgiving place, we developed partnerships in order to survive.
You may have noticed this when you vent about a situation to a friend and suddenly feel better. That's actually years of evolutionary conditioning at play. Even with those instincts, we still get in our own way.
You can and should take advantage of your programming, which brings me to my main point.
Asking for help is the best cheat code in the world.
Doing everything on your own can seem like a way to prove yourself, but you are going to waste time and energy. Trying to be a hero is going to be more hurtful than helpful. I've noticed many benefits after getting more comfortable asking for help. Here are three that will help you overcome the resistances you may have.
#1. You gain outside perspective
Ever notice how it’s always easier to give someone advice than to take it? It’s because you have objectivity and distance from the situation.
Usually, when you ask someone for advice or help, the situation may not affect them directly, so they don’t process the problem on as much of an emotional level. This distance will give you a more clear picture of the situation and some ideas to handle it you didn't consider.
#2. Someone may have gone through the same challenge
This is where asking for help can fast-track success. Sometimes, you may find someone who faced the exact obstacle you are in the middle of. You can learn how they overcame it, the challenges they faced and what to look out for.
#3. Realize that you aren’t alone
This alone can help remove a lot of the judgment and pressure you might be put yourself. Once you start seeing challenges as a universal experience many people go through, you tend to not take it personal and beat yourself up as much.
So remember, not only is it OK to ask for help, it is a superpower.