To Win, All You Have To Do Is Ask
We are a society which values independence and ‘doing the work’.
I grew up learning to not complain, put my head down and fend for myself – it’s let to some high accomplishments and abysmal lows. As men, we are told a ‘real man’ means shouldering burdens and facing problems with gritted determination.
It’s not exactly a bad thing, but taken to extremes it can lead down a terrible path.
Our world has put being prideful and stubborn high on the totem pole of success. The perception of asking for help signifies weakness when it’s really the opposite.
My father didn’t ask for help and it almost cost him his life.
The financial crisis of 2008; my parents had a lot of money in the stock market when it bombed. The stress this placed on my father as a provider for the family was almost too much. It was real. Back then I couldn’t see it but the burden he took on was unbearable. He worked his ass off trying to keep the family afloat and keep up with the obligations and expectations we had placed on him.
There was pressure to act as if everything was okay.
Eventually, the burden broke him and he tried to leave his life behind.
Things were definitely not okay.
I constantly revisit this time in my life, wondering if it would have gone down like that if I had offered to help. He could have just asked… me, his friends, anyone. My father chose to keep it bottled inside and it overwhelmed him, leading him down a bad path.
He tells me, looking back, he wishes he had reached out.
As men, we tend to think we are riding solo through life. The masculine approach is all about competition, struggle, sense of mission and achievement; we are the hero of our story. We avoid asking for help as we feel it’s cheating (which is nonsense).
No one is a self-made man.
Steve Jobs had help, Richard Branson had help, Arnold Schwarzenegger had help – no one succeeds alone.
The greatest leaders are not the ones who tell others what to do. They are the ones who create a compelling vision of the future then turn to others to help them turn their vision into reality.
Peter Drucker, a famed business consultant, had a specific tenant he pushed his billion-dollar clients to follow:
“Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.”
We know we can’t do everything ourselves, yet our culture says we should still try. As soon as you can shake this mindset you unlock your potential in every aspect of life.
Instead of excuses such as:
I’m too busy.
It doesn’t matter right now.
It’s too expensive.
Admit it’s something you can outsource and take action to do so. It’s not weakness, it’s being smart.