It’s one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned.
Last fall, business was not good. I had no work incoming, nor did I see any sign of new projects on the way. And, if that wasn’t enough, one of the projects I had recently finished did not end well, leaving me full of doubts about what I had to offer. I felt stuck.
After struggling for months and months to make things work, I broke down and sought help from someone I respect. In a short phone call he gave me a single piece of advice that changed how I thought about my work, shifted my course of action, and re-energized my efforts.
I still had lots to do on my own, but his advice offered focus. Within a few months, I brought in two new clients I’m delighted to work with. Maybe I would have gotten to that point without his help, but not without a lot of time and stress.
You may be wondering what he told me, but that’s not the point. The point is that I asked for help.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson. For some reason, I often feel that I have to do everything myself. I imagine that it’s a weakness to ask others for assistance. Yet in reality, it’s the other way around. To go alone is the real weakness.
a single zebra
standing alone becomes a
target for lions
I showed arrogance.
By not seeking the help of others, I pretended my way was better than everyone else’s — that somehow I had all the answers and they did not. I acted as though I was superior.
I was selfish.
By trying to do everything myself, I robbed others of the chance to give. People love being helpful. Whenever I give advice, offer assistance, or use my unique abilities to help someone I feel great. I feel like I matter. Then why do I not give others that same joy?
I diminished my ability to serve.
By not opening myself to others, I became stuck with my problems and unable to move forward. Asking for help accelerates my growth and transformation, which I then turn around and use to benefit others. The needs around us are too great for us to waste time “figuring it out.”
I lost empathy.
By not receiving from others, I forgot what receiving feels like. Yet to serve and give, I need to understand both sides of generosity.
I harmed myself.
By not seeking out others, I lost the opportunity to connect. I turned my journey into a lonely one.
We don’t have to go through life alone. We have friends, family, neighbors, leaders, and many others around us. Each one of them can offer insight into our challenges and struggles.
It is not a weakness to ask for help. It is a sign of strength.
Part of that involves the Bright Army. I haven’t done the best of job at asking for your help. And while I don’t know yet what that will look like, I’m willing to explore and experiment. I’m willing to ask.
PS: This Thursday is Generosity Day. Celebrate by showing generosity to others, not just in the way you give, but also in the way you receive.