I was talking with my friend the other day and she was sharing a situation she was having in her workplace with me. She had gotten in way over her head and was confused about how to resolve the situation. I wanted to know: “Have you asked for help?”.
Often, by the time we consider asking for help, we have reached a category five, code red situation and the problem or challenge has gotten so much bigger than if we had asked for assistance earlier. How come it is only when we are at crisis point that we believe it is appropriate (or we have become desperate enough) to ask for a hand?
My experience of western society today is that we are all so much more independent (especially us women) than what our ancestors were. Back in the day, we had to ask for help with so many things in life because we needed the manpower: plowing the fields, hunting and gathering or trading services in the village. It makes me think of the Amish community all coming together to build a neighbour’s barn in a day – and that is still happening now.
I do love the fact that I am an independent woman yet that same independence has been one of my downfalls on occasion. Any strength that is over-utilised will become a weakness – including independence.
I mean, I can take care of it, get it done and make it happen yet there have been many occasions where I think that if I had asked for some help/guidance/advice/support a little earlier things could have worked out so much more gracefully.
I also appreciate that in relationships, us fiercely independent women can leave little space for our men (or women) to take care of us. This is not a positive thing as everyone wants to be needed – in fact masculine energy thrives on being needed. This is often why, when we share a problem with the men in our life, they want to give us solutions as opposed to just listening.
My friend with the work situation was very reluctant to ask for help yet it was very apparent that if she did, this situation would find a resolution so much quicker. It is impossible to solve a problem with the same mind that created it, and if we have not yet moved into a new place our ability to solve the problem may not yet be there. It’s why collaboration is such a powerful platform for true innovation.
As I explored my friend’s resistance to asking for help, so much of what she said resonated with me. She believed that she should be able to solve this on her own, she believed she would appear weak if she asked her boss to step in, she believed that if she just focussed on something else it would no longer be such a big deal, and she believed that she should just accept the status quo and get over it.
I completely disagreed with all of her beliefs, yet I did question: “If I was in her situation would I be offering some of the same responses?” I realised, with loving humour, that I would be 🙂
As we talked through her options, I was internally reminding myself to take some of my own advice next time I am in a similar situation.
I believe that asking for help is a sign of courage as well as strength. Why struggle when we have an entire world of people around us who may have just the thing we need to solve our problem?
So, a note to self (and others): Be truly courageous and ask for help when it’s needed.