Help is Not a Dirty Word

by Mike Myatt

Help is Not a Dirty WordAs much as some people won’t want to hear this, “help” is not a dirty word. Rather asking for help is a sign of maturity as a leader. So my question is this: Are you easy to help? Think about it…do you make it easy for others to want to help you, or is your demeanor such that most people won’t lift a finger to assist you in a time of need? How many times during the course of your career have you witnessed executives and entrepreneurs who desperately need help, but either don’t recognize it, or worse yet, make it virtually impossible for someone to help them? In today’s post I’ll address the importance of positioning yourself to be helped…

If your pride, ego, arrogance, ignorance, the way you were raised or any other excuse (yes I did say excuse) keeps you from asking for help, it is precisely those traits that will keep you from maximizing your potential. I hate to break it to you, but you don’t know everything or everybody, so why even bother pretending that you couldn’t use a bit of help? No single person can or should go it alone in today’s business world. The more partners, sympathizers, champions, allies, supporters, enablers, influencers, advisers, mentors, friends, and family you have helping you succeed, the faster you will achieve your goals. Without question the most successful business people on the planet are those that have learned to blow through self-imposed barriers to openly harness the power of broader spheres of influence.

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of all the “self-made man” propaganda floating around business circles. I sincerely believe there is no such thing as a “self-made man”. While I take complete responsibility for all my failures and shortcomings, I take very little credit for my own success. Virtually all of the good things that have happened to me over the years have been the result of the collaborative efforts of many. I don’t see asking for help as a sign of weakness, rather I see it as a very smart thing to do, and I therefore tend to seek out help wherever I can find it. I have long made it a practice to encourage others to help me succeed. My personal and professional network are far more important to my success than my individual competencies. My clients hire me not solely on the basis of what I can personally do for them in a vacuum, but rather what the collective influence of my network and resources can accomplish for them when I operate outside of my own personal bubble.

If you desire to enlist others in your success the following items are the basic prerequisites for getting others to help you:

  1. Don’t be a jerk: While people don’t necessarily have to like you in order to help you, it certainly doesn’t hurt. However I can promise you that if you’re perceived as a jerk people will not only go out of their way not to help you succeed, but they will do everything possible to impede your success. I have long been a believer that contrary to popular opinion, nice guys (and gals) do in fact finish first.
  2. Go out of your way to help others: Do unto others – what goes around comes around – you reap what you sow, and any number of other statements to that effect ring true more often than not. If you are sincerely interested in helping others, and make it a habit to go out of your way to do so, then those people will likely be inclined to reciprocate.
  3. Know what you want and focus your efforts to that end: You must develop a clear picture of what it is that you want to accomplish, and then apply laser-like focus in the pursuit of your goals.
  4. Make your goals known to those that can help you: It is not only important to communicate your vision to those in a position to help you succeed, but always make sure and ask for their help. Don’t be bashful or embarrassed, but rather confidently recruit others to become enablers and evangelists of your cause. You need to believe that one of your top priorities is team building, and consistently seek out greater numbers of people to champion your cause and scale your efforts.

In the final analysis it’s really all a matter of perspective…you can either view yourself as part of a hierarchical world sitting at the top of the org chart puffing your chest and propping-up your ego, or you can view yourself as the hub at the center of a large and diverse network. The latter is both more profitable and enjoyable than the former. You can either choose to build your personal brand and your success at the expense of others, or by helping others. The easiest way to help others is to make it easy for people to want to help you by helping them.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the importance of asking for help no matter what your title is, or where you sit on the org chart…

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Mike MyattMike Myatt, is a Top CEO Coach, author of “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“, and Managing Director of N2Growth.

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  1. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the top keys to success you hear from everyone at “the top” is to “volunteer” or “give back”. You can come up with a million excuses not to, but instead of finding a reason to avoid it, try finding a reason TO do it.

    Don’t sit back and feel bad for yourself either. People say “well you don’t understand, my situation is different.” Go visit a developing country, then give me the sob story. A fraction of a percentage of people in the US struggle as much as the majority of the population in a country like India. I’ve seen it first hand. What’s your excuse?

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