As much as we may enjoy time alone to relax and rejuvenate, humans are social creatures, and we need each other on occasion. In some environments, going it alone is what is expected, and asking for help is actually discouraged. I’ve been in meetings where everyone at the table talks about what is going well for them and there is actually a fear of reporting anything negative because others will use that against you. I have to admit that I also have trouble asking for help in situations that feel strained or dangerous, so I’ve gone outside of the normal routes to get the support I need, and it has made a difference.
If you are developing personally or professionally, you are bound to come across situations that are new and unknown to you. This is often exciting and terrifying at the same time. Any form of growth puts us in place of great opportunity as well, and often that growth comes from getting support, encouragement and new information that can only come from others.
We know what we know, and that works pretty well most of the time. However, we will all meet situations that strain our resources and bring us into spheres that are unfamiliar and which we cannot navigate quite so easily. This is where asking for help is not only necessary, but also quite useful. We grow and change by meeting new ideas and new ways of doing things, and often that comes from working with others and learning from their new perspectives.
When you find yourself coming upon the same problem time and again or feeling like you are missing an important piece for information that you can’t get your mind around, it may be time to bring in help. But all help is not the same. It’s important to determine who in your life is supportive, trustworthy, and truly wants to see you grow. This is someone who doesn’t feel threatened by your success, like a mentor or someone who also benefits as you do well. Sometimes you must go outside of your normal circle to seek this form of help and use a professional or a group of professionals whose sole purpose is to help you with your development.
Once you’ve found your growth partner(s), it may be necessary to hone your requests so that you actually get what you want. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions and narrowing down what it is you exactly need so that you don’t waste a lot of time and effort going in directions that don’t suit you. It’s not as easy as it seems to first know and then ask for what it is that you need in specific terms. It’s easy to miscommunicate and get what you don’t want and feel discouraged by the process.
I’ve also noticed that when I form supportive relationships like this with another person or group of people, I not only get a lot out of it, but I am also giving back by my own ideas and perspectives, and that feels good, too. We all do well when we work together. I recommend finding your growth partner(s) before you really need them. Seek out the people in your life who you can learn from and who appreciate your unique abilities and meet regularly to talk about what is going well and what isn’t and see what develops.