I was fortunate to have the support of teachers in coaches in school, but it wouldn’t be until my first job that a mentor would teach me about the power of asking for help. I’ve told you about the painful lesson of getting fired on the heels of recognition and a promotion in my first job. While I was reeling from the news, a soon-to-be mentor in the company would step up and ask if I wanted a second chance.
That mentorship was life-changing and provided the foundation for values that I still live by today. Values that include focusing on the team over yourself. When the team succeeds, everyone shares in the prosperity of achievement. And when it doesn’t, it’s especially critical to lean on each other.
Setbacks, moments of uncertainty, and opportunities for growth always provide that crucial window of time when we should ask for help but sometimes ignore it. Why is it so hard to ask for support even though we know the outcome will be better if we do? Is there some invisible threshold we pass at a certain age that makes asking for help feel like it’s a sign of weakness?
Perhaps it’s because we celebrate independence and the accomplishments of solo performances. We’re a country that loves our heroes and sheroes who achieve remarkable success seemingly alone, but the reality is that we rarely do anything without the backing or influence of others.
Last summer, Target Corporation’s executive vice president and chief external engagement officer Laysha Ward expressed similar revelations about enlisting support. Coincidentally, Ward also grew up in Indiana with parents who cared very much about her future. She acknowledges that her career is punctuated by a lot of big breaks, but the biggest break was her parents’ decision to move from a town where her school was considered a “dropout factory” to a rural community where she’d have a better education.
While Ward never imagined she’d have the career she does today, there’s one thing she wishes that she had learned sooner: “That it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and that I didn’t have all the answers. We all get better together.”
If you find yourself experiencing a setback or encountering a big opportunity, consider who you might enlist on the journey. Chances are they can provide the clarity you need to bounce back or the added perspective that will make your solution richer. Many of you know I like the mantra “Work together to win together.” It’s a great reminder that good things happen when we ask for help.
Live your why,
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