I have a friend who watches the weather like a hawk. I don’t watch the news when a storm is coming. I text him, and he offers a forecast, complete with school closing predictions.
I was surprised over the weekend when he texted, “I’m leaning towards a school cancellation on Monday.”
He, once again, was right. We got a decent snowstorm.
As the snow was dying down yesterday, I went out to snow blow my driveway and my neighbor’s driveway. And alas, the snowblower wouldn’t start.
I started shoveling but realized moving the sticky snow from two driveways would take hours.
So, I walked up the street and asked another neighbor to borrow his snowblower.
Asking was challenging for several reasons.
- I am fiercely independent. I wander around stores for a long time before asking for help.
- I respect other people’s power equipment and fear something going wrong on my watch.
- What if he says NO?
- Why can’t I get this snowblower to run? (After all, I did work in a small engine repair shop for a while.)
He said YES. The driveways are clear, reminding me that asking for help is good.
It reminded me of three healthy reasons every leader needs to get better at asking for help.
1. It keeps your ego in check.
Our overblown egos threaten our success and, more importantly, our organization’s success.
If I didn’t ask for help, the job would have taken 5 hours longer, and I would probably be telling the story of how I was the “hero” in shoveling all the driveways in the neighborhood.
That’s not good for anyone.
2. It builds community.
Asking for help deepened our connection.
That’s a good thing.
3. It restores your faith in humanity.
In our overly media-driven world, where bad news captures our attention and imagination, cynicism and skepticism come naturally.
Asking for help tampers the unfounded belief that everyone is only in it for themselves.
So if you feel cynicism and skepticism are dominating your internal narrative, ask someone for help.
You’ll be surprised by how it does your soul (and leadership) good.
One More Thing
If you didn’t have a chance to listen to the Leadercast podcast with Ian Cron, I would highly recommend it. He explains why we need each other so much.