Why is it that we always wait too long to ask for help?
Is it just a “guy” thing?
Earlier this year, before I had moved to San Diego, I attended an event at the Hyatt Regency / Mission Bay. The Mission Bay region of San Diego is gorgeous, but let’s just say, the traffic design of the area leaves something to be desired. You’ve got Mission Bay Boulevard, East Mission Bay, West Mission Bay, and it’s all inter-connected by this crazy, looping, spaghetti-like nightmare of a road system.
On my way to the hotel, I got lost. So what did I do? First, like most guys, I kept driving round and round aimlessly on these loops, looking for any sign of the hotel, and reasoning with myself, “Hey, I’m resourceful, I can figure this out.” Then I decided to pull out my trusty Iphone with its killer G.P.S. map app, and punched in my destination to get directions.
And boy, did I ever get some directions…just not the directions I needed. Come to find out, Google Maps is maybe not the best resource for accurate directions in the Mission Bay area. Now I certainly could have stopped and asked for help, but I wanted to prove that I could do it for myself.
This situation really got me thinking, “Where else is this showing up in my life?
In what other areas do I show an unwillingness to ask for help?”
Where else might it show up for you?
To get some answers, we have to take a closer look at how we are wired, or programmed. Human beings are built to solve problems. It’s in our DNA. Can you imagine how challenging life would be if we weren’t designed this way?
Think about the problems we face as an infant. The three primary ones are; hunger, fatigue, and hygiene. (aka poopy diapers!) And how does an infant get these problems solved? Through a combination of inborn instinct (genetic programming), trial and error, and verbal communication (repetition and conditioning).
At some stage, the infant figures out that by communicating its needs – by crying out – a solution is ultimately delivered. But as we get older, not only are we taught that we should begin solving our own problems, we are frequently told over and over to “Go figure it out for yourself”.
Somewhere along the line, we take those suggestions and programming to heart – and often, too far.
We develop the habit of thinking that it is solely up to us to solve EVERY problem by ourselves. Sure, many of life’s smaller problems may not require the help of others. But the bigger ones always do.
I’m going to share an amazing secret with you that will either move your toward a solution, or help you solve every problem that you ever face, for the rest of your life…
ASK FOR HELP SOONER!
Just as the baby cries out for help, so should you. Maybe not as loudly, and maybe with a few less tears – but ask for help, NOW! Don’t wait!
My friend and mentor Les Brown taught me “We don’t ask for help because we are weak, we ask for help to remain strong.”
You see, most of the problems that show up in your life cannot be solved by the thinking that created them. (By “thinking”, I mean that person with the thoughts…YOU!)
The key is distinguishing which problems are within your scope and current ability to tackle, and which ones require support. The faster that you can make this determination, the better.
In nearly every case, the solution to your problem resides in the thinking mind of someone else. Someone with wisdom. Someone with experience. Someone who has successfully overcome the challenge that you are facing. Someone who has demonstrated success in the area in which you need help.
I like to think of it as my own special version of G.P.S. (Going to a Person Smarter)
This is what I call a mentor. And thankfully, I have many. In identifying the areas in which I am weakest (and yeah, there are a bunch), I have sought out mentors to help me gain the knowledge I need to move me toward my goals. When I need their help, I ask for it. Sure, it requires a healthy dose of humility. Yep, it requires me to accept that I don’t know it all. And it requires me to lean not upon my own understanding.
But here’s what I’ve found. When you ask for help, YOU WILL GET IT!
And remember, it is important to be asking the right people for help, because everyone is willing to help, but not all are qualified to give it. You need to get directions from someone that knows all the one-ways, the detours, and the quirky layout of the road.
Don’t you think a cab driver might have a better handle on navigating the city, versus say, me asking the kid on the 10-speed bike? If I had just stopped and asked the right person for help, I could have saved myself a significant amount of time, energy, effort, and frustration.
When you seek counsel from the types of mentors I described earlier, you can rely upon their advice and direction as being sound and wise.
Looking back, I’m kind of glad that I got lost that day, because it reminded me of this valuable lesson.
I’d encourage you to adopt my G.P.S. philosophy, and you too will be heading in the right direction.