Ok – maybe I exaggerate – but it will certainly put you head and shoulders above the majority out there. What am I talking about? ‘What can I do to help’ and ‘I need your help’. Two of the most powerful statements that can vault you to new heights once they become part of your vernacular. Why am I so sure? Because of my own journey!
But first a story. A few months ago, a new sales manager – Brian – joined our organization. He came to headquarters (from his Boston location) to meet with the team. We met for ½ hour intro conversation where he was asking questions, taking notes (with a pen and paper – imagine that) and engaging in dialog. But, what blew my mind was just before leaving he said ‘what can I do to help you’. Now there is nothing earth-shattering about that question except that I seldom hear it. Even more counter-culture is to ask the question barely two weeks into your job. So, for Brian – a newbie in the company – to offer his hand with humility and seeking to help made him a #rockstar in my mind and to this date, we have a relationship that is unparalleled.
For many years – nay many moons – I would never contemplate of saying what Brian said. Why? Because I was working in ‘fast-paced environments’ and barely had time to take care of my own and my team’s charter, so most of the time I was the ‘No’ guy always alert and watchful for clever colleagues (bosses too) who would try and add more to my team’s overflowing plate. There was no question of even dreaming about ‘What can I do to help’. That changed over the course of the past couple of years. Attribute it to awakening, realizing that helping others made me feel fulfilled, allowed the team to be more respected and loved (yes even in the workplace), but more than anything it created strong and long-lasting bonds that withstood the ecstasy of fleeting successes and the hollowness of temporary failures.
And then there is the other side, reaching out for help. #Never. Took me over four decades and some to get over this society induced, self-fulfilled winner takes all mindset where reaching out for help was considered to be a sign of weakness. Even more humiliating would be (in my narrow mind), if that person refused. Thankfully, life is different today. I don’t feel any shame or hesitancy in asking for help. And I am usually direct about it as well. A lot of that inner courage comes from opening oneself by offering to help. That provides the moral and ethical underpinning to ask for help when needed. Even more amazing is when you ask for help not for yourself but to help someone else – people always genuinely go out of their way for that.
Anyway, that’s my journey. An offer and a request – that’s all it takes. And Brian epitomizes that behavior. I hope you can too – it will pay dividends, #IGuaranteeIt