The Power of Asking

I recently received an affirming and very gracious note from a client expressing gratitude for our meetings and expressing how important it was to no longer feel or be alone.

For many entrepreneurs, owners and leaders, feeling isolated is not uncommon; the saying goes it’s lonely at the top. However, we’re supposed to tough it out, figure it out ourselves, just work harder, put in more hours and the problem will literally “work itself out”. Sometimes we have capacity and can handle it. But oftentimes we stew in our situation: difficult subjects stay unaddressed, critical issues remain avoided or important decisions are delayed. Things may not get worse, but stagnating is analogous to and a precursor for losing momentum and traction.

We all cannot be good at everything. Frequently, we are experts in our own field and get by with experiential and experimental knowledge to get through those other necessary disciplines – but at what cost? When we avoid or, sometimes worse, attempt to do something we are not good at, both the learning curve cost and the opportunity cost can be exorbitant especially when the result is less than satisfactory.
This is the toll that is paid that can affect us both personally and professionally. What’s worse, when you are in the middle of “it”, you don’t see clearly how it might be affecting you and your business. Personally, it can lead to ineffectiveness at best and illness at worse. Professionally, our businesses take a hit, a quiet, insidious soft cost hit that inevitably reaches the bottom line.
How many times have I heard someone say that they should get help with some aspect of their business, but they are reluctant to act. Maybe it’s time to look at some of the returns you can expect almost immediately for your investment in seeking help from a professional be it leadership oriented, legal, financial, operational, or another business discipline:

Here are potential momentum boosting paybacks from asking someone for help.
• The Value of Listening: You are no longer alone and you have an advocate.
• The Value of Perseverance: You have someone to guide you and keep you on track.
• The Value of Knowing: Combining experience and resourcefulness breed solutions.
• The Value of Perspective: Exchanging new ideas creates new opportunities.
• The Value of Figuring Things Out: Your answers are accessible – closer than you think.
• The Value of Getting Things Done: Small accomplishments accumulated builds success.

For those of us who provide professional services to clients and refer services to colleagues all the time, I’m sure we all agree the sooner someone asks for help solving a problem or working through areas out of one’s own expertise, the sooner effectiveness, productivity and more profitability increases. Oddly, we all recognize this on behalf of others. Why is it so hard to recognize it in ourselves?

Sometimes, you simply can’t do it all by yourself. Just asking for help is the first step toward improvement. You might be surprised just how much better you feel and how things quickly improve. For many professional services providers, the initial meeting is informational and costs nothing but the desire and motivation to improve.