Help is a funny thing. We often – in fact, almost always at some level – need it. But we don’t always get it. Is that because the universe is unkind?
No. It’s because we only get help when we actively seek it, we only actively seek help when we genuinely want it, and wanting help is not the same as understanding we need help.
In fact, I have known people who were aware for years that they needed help, but all the same did not want it.
The reasons for not wanting help when one needs it are probably as myriad as the genetic combinations that define us physically. Maybe we judge ourselves and think we shouldn’t need help. Maybe we think help is a sign of weakness. Maybe we struggle to accept that someone else knows something we don’t know. Maybe we worry what others will think. Maybe we don’t like the uncomfortable feeling of being helped. Maybe we don’t believe that others will do things as well as we would. I’m sure there are dozens more reasons than those.
I am confident that people who need help and don’t ask for help use the justifications that they can’t afford it or that they don’t know who to ask as mere excuses – when someone genuinely wants help they always find a way to acquire it.
So why is this important? Because throughout our careers we all need help. We need assistance, people to whom we can delegate, people from whom we can ask advice, and people to kick us in the rear end and tell us the truth. The people who achieve the most have something in common . . . they accept the necessity and value of help, and therefore the reality that they cannot do everything themselves.
This doesn’t just apply to one-man operations. I have met many entrepreneurs with 20, 30, 40 employees who still insist on having a hand in every single aspect of their business. They are only satisfied when the people helping them do things exactly as they would do them – which is impossible, of course. Those businesses are hobbled as clearly as if the entrepreneur hadn’t hired anyone.
I have been asked several times lately how we sell our services, and I reply, “we don’t. You can’t sell help.” I can’t court people I think need help, or promote our services to people who appear to need help, you can’t close someone on help. I am an adamant teacher of selling, yet in the case of my own business, selling our services is anathema. Someone who merely suspects she needs help will make for a difficult client. When someone approaches us and says they really really really need help, and are willing to make the changes – both personal and organizational – required to benefit from help, then we can get a lot of excellent work done (and make the hourly rate worthwhile for them). In the case of help, the seeker must be the aggressive one to truly benefit from it.
So ask yourself, in what areas of your life and business do you need help, and what is holding you back from seeking it? Once you have your list (we all have a list), do the inner work to figure out what’s holding you back. Then go on . . . ask for help. You deserve it.