Do you ever feel like you’re supposed to have all the answers? Like people are looking to you so you’d better ‘keep it together’. Or ‘if I’m competent then I shouldn’t need to ask for help?’. Or maybe even, alone? Well you don’t have to do it alone.

I know I have felt all of these things at some point. As a kid, I remember hearing a nun say something like ‘god helps those who help themselves’. Somehow, I misinterpreted that as, ‘I have do everything by myself and never ask for help’. Nobody told me that. Somehow I made that up.

While at some level it made me be more independent, it sucks going through life like that. Even though as an adult I realize that’s not true – I don’t have to do everything by myself- it’s hard to shake after 50+ years.

As leaders, I think we get bombarded by messages that reinforce this notion that we’re supposed to be independent, competent, and invincible at all times. Whether fiercely focused business legends like Steve Jobs and Jack Welch, or holly wood heroes like Wonder Woman and James Bond – these icons model total independence and emotions of steal (pun intended).

everywhere there are people who are yearning to help


It’s empowering

Everywhere, people are YEARNING to help us if we’d only let them. If we’ve always ‘got it handled’ then people may not know we need a hand. Or, they may worry they’ll be patronizing if they ask to help someone so competent.

How does it feel when you help someone and they’re better for it? You show them something, coach them, lend a hand, and as a result their life is just a bit better? My hunch is it feels pretty satisfying.

I know for me it feels good when someone asks me for my help. It’s empowering, it’s motivating, and it’s rewarding.

Well, when we ask for h…, hel… when we ask for a little ‘assistance’, we’re giving the other person a gift. Now they can help someone (you), to make their (your) life just a bit easier. It’s empowering.

It’s developing

When we allow others to help, it’s a development opportunity. No really! I know as an employee, when a leader of mine would lean in and start doing something, I’d BACK UP!!! I’d think ‘oh they’ve got this’ and I’d try to get out of the way. My leader may have been wondering ‘why doesn’t Matt take more initiative?’ I probably should have, but I just felt unneeded. The result was I wouldn’t learn much from that opportunity so I wasn’t accruing experience for the next time.

When they did ask me (or assign me) work I’d think ‘YES! They trust me, I get to make a difference.’ And I’d take more initiative, proactively anticipate problems, create solutions, and accrue more experience so that next time I was even more competent. It’s developing.

It’s compassion

Asking for help, or for a sounding board, or a little assistance is strength, not weakness. This doesn’t mean you have to come apart at the seams or start sobbing in front of your employees – although you couldhow beautiful would it be for your employees or colleague to see that you are human too?

When we ask for help, we’re saying to others, ‘I see you, I see YOUR competence, I trust you. You’re showing compassion!

you don’t have to do it alone

Who is someone that you could reach out to, just to check in? You might not need help. You could do it on your own. But you don’t have to.

How about a trusted colleague at work? a mentor? a coach? An employee? How about your boss? EVERYWHERE people are looking for ways to help. If we’d only let them. You don’t have to do it alone. You’d show compassion.

A final thought

Maybe you’re doing fine. You’ve got this, you can do it alone, and this talk doesn’t really apply to you. I know leaders like that. But not everyone is like you.

Who do you know, that might look like they’re fine too, they never ask for help, but maybe, just maybe could use a little support?

It might be the employee who’s always cheerful and delivers their projects on time. Maybe it’s that colleague who always picks up the left over project or task. Maybe it’s someone at home who’s trying to be brave for you. Maybe it’s your boss. Reach out to them. Just check-in. You could say;

“Hey, these past few months have sure been challenging for me, how about you? how are you doing through all of this?” and see where it goes. You don’t have to press. Just let them know you’re there and they’re not…alone.

I have a passionate belief that we can create these workplaces where everyone feels valued and they make a difference. The reason I’m always writing about leadership is that there’s so much on your shoulders! And we (the world) looks to you to achieve goals, inspire others, and constantly help everyone else through change. Thank you. But what about you?

I know. I see it. And we’ve got your back. Not just me but every coach, consultant, HR professional, blogger, they’re all looking for ways (yearning) to support you, so you can be your best as you lead others. Just reach out.

Here’s a couple of other articles you might find helpful:

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