In my socially distant walks with friends and colleagues since the shutdown, I’ve discovered that most people are feeling fearful or vulnerable in some part of their lives or business but are afraid to ask for help. Does this seem familiar to you?
I get it! Vulnerability is trained out of us. Men are acculturated to appear strong and invincible with weakness of any kind harming this image and the confidence they engender at work or in relationships. There is still that old perception in much of our workplace attitude that this power image leads to success.
Conversely, women are often raised to be the helpers, so asking for help is a completely foreign experience for them. In my own career I tried not to ask for help figuring my leaders/clients wouldn’t trust me to handle challenges: If I had to ask, I wouldn’t know how to handle the challenge- such a sadly false belief which I only learned much later in life.
SO YOU’RE HUMAN?
One of my groups of business colleagues were just barely getting to know each other when this topic of vulnerability arose. One person in our group, whom I’ll call Sally for discretion, decided to reveal an incident that was weakening her and impacting her business. I listened as this evoked quite a bit of empathy from our group – and ultimately a deeper level of trust as we discussed solutions.
Sally was surprised to receive overwhelming compassion, encouragement and support. I noticed that our group was able to connect more deeply with her to find out how we could support her personally, as well as her business.
Much later, she told us that her clients and employees felt more comfortable with her so her fear began to vanish while her business flourished.
Turns out, people really like to help. It makes them feel good to be needed. Especially at this time in our world, it’s important to ask for what you need. You might just build some trust, loyalty, goodwill, and get what you seek.
GO AHEAD, ASK AWAY!