I once had one of the brightest young people I know come to me for advice. I was honoured. I helped her by simply passing on the advice I had received on the same issue years earlier, which had worked very well for me. It was one of those things you just don’t learn in school.
When she came to see me, she was visibly upset about having to ask for help. I, on the other hand, was honoured that such an intelligent young person would ask for my advice. Telling her how much I appreciated her confidence in me did not seem to make her feel better at all.
I was struck at the irony of the situation. She is one of the most giving people I know and never bats an eye at helping others, but clearly, having to ask someone else to help her makes her very uncomfortable.
Why? Why is asking for help so difficult? Why are we so gracious about offering help to others, but not about giving someone else the opportunity to help us?
Much of my success is owed to others helping me when I needed it. Sure, being hardworking, stubborn and occasionally smart had something to do with it, but it would not have been possible for me to have made it this far without some serious help from others.
Today, I am just as likely to ask for help as I am to give it – both make me feel good! It’s rewarding to help others and its something I want to do whenever I can. Unlike when I was younger, I am now more at ease in asking for help. I know that it makes others feel good to help me and I get a new insight into whatever challenge I’m struggling with.
I hope my friend continues to become more comfortable at asking for help – just like she is when giving it.