Ask and You Shall Succeed
The Gift of Knowing You Need Help
Writing a book is a humbling, illuminating and sometimes lonely process. Publishing a book, however, calls for a community to make the magic happen. It also calls for the author (me) to swallow my solitary nature and ask for some help.
I am so excited to announce that late last month, I successfully launched my book, 5 Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena! It has been a labor of love and I poured myself into each page. As personal as the journey to create my book has been, along the way I had to admit I was not a professional book editor, marketer, publicist or promoter. I realized that if I was going to have a successful start for my book, I had to do something I was not very comfortable with…I had to let go of controlling every aspect of the launch and ask for help.
“You can do anything but not everything.”
– David Allen
The Importance of the ‘Call for Help’
There is a strong case for taking the plunge and asking for help. An article by Forbes quotes The Great Work Study, conducted by the O.C. Tanner Institute, which “showed that 72% of people who receive awards for their work ask for advice, help, insights, and opinions from people outside of their inner circle.” Even with all the positive aspects of inviting help from others into our lives, there are a number of perceived roadblocks to making the important call for help. Here are a few of those perceived roadblocks, along with the associated reality:
Roadblock: As an [author, leader, father, mother, husband, new hire] (you fill in the noun), I will look weak if I ask for help.
- Reality: A person who asks for help displays confidence. A confident person admits to limitations and is inspired by others who possess complementary skills.
Roadblock: A true leader should be able to handle challenges on their own.
- Reality: Entrepreneurs know the best use for their time and talents and reside in their “zone of genius” as often as possible. They hire staff and consultants to whom they delegate work to increase efficiency and to help their businesses grow.
Roadblock: I should have the necessary skills for this and it is a failure to ask for help.
- Reality: Letting go of pride and accepting ourselves as we are helps us to connect with others and gives them the wonderful opportunity to share their own unique gifts.
Roadblock: I am afraid others will judge me or my work.
- Reality: Welcoming input from others signals a growth mindset. Others rarely judge when being asked for their expertise. Instead of fearing judgment, it is beneficial to focus on the chance to learn something new as we pursue our goals and engage others. A growth mindset views even our mistakes and obstacles as a learning—not to mention a connecting—opportunity.
Still reluctant to accept help?
After you bring on others to help you it is important to establish trust. Let them know you appreciate their contribution. Give them room to use their particular skillsets and welcome feedback as part of the growth process. In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King talks about giving drafts of his book to multiple readers and utilizing their responses to guide him in refining his work. He even has an ‘Ideal Reader’ who is very honest with him and he relies on them to tell him frankly where things are not clear and what gaps exist in the story.
It is encouraging to know that someone as accomplished as Mr. King depends on others to get to his goals successfully.
”Effective leadership often goes hand-in-hand with emotional honesty and vulnerability.”
– Juli Geske-Peer
Out of my Comfort Zone
If you are not comfortable asking for and then openly receiving help, you are not alone. I admit, I find it hugely difficult to ask for help, but I am (slowly, painfully) getting better at it. As my book launch approached, I quickly realized I was in unfamiliar territory. Being in such territory is often the nudge we need to find others who are already knowledgeable in the areas we lack. This step also requires us (as the “asker”) to be vulnerable.
With my book launch looming, it was time for me to be in the learner’s seat. It was time for me to embrace my own vulnerability, reach out and ask for help. It wasn’t easy for me to do, but I am SO glad I did. I ended up…
- Hiring help where I saw a need – I brought on a launch marketer aiming to reach #1 in at least one Amazon category during launch week (which we achieved!), as well as another person who could do the footwork to get me scheduled with some podcasters (this is still in progress; the recording sessions pending). I also hired multiple editors as part of the book-finalizing process. I am extremely thankful for all their expertise!
- Asking my community for help – I asked for volunteers to be on a Launch Street Team to build momentum and help get the word out (they read the book early, wrote reviews, posted via social media, pointed me toward workshops seeking speakers and helped get me get scheduled). I asked my social communities to help spread the word, as well.
- Networking with experts – I am fortunate to know or be connected peripherally to some publishing experts. Even though it felt incredibly awkward and presumptuous, I reached out and asked some for editorial reviews. I was so grateful to receive one from a best-selling author (see Amazon)!
“Having a need and needing help is not a sign that you’re weak, it’s a sign that you’re human.”
– Kate Northrup
Everyone Needs a Little Help Sometimes
My message is not one for authors alone, it applies to anyone who wants to reach goals and build on successes. Asking for help is a valuable habit that will become easier with practice. I challenge you to look for an opportunity to ask for help or guidance with a change or accomplishment you are working toward. You diminish nothing by seeking assistance in areas where you are not familiar or in places where another’s opinion or expertise would move you forward more quickly.
One final thought – when you find yourself hesitating to ask for much-needed help, think back on the times you were able to help a friend, family member or co-worker. How did that make you feel? According to an article by Psychology Today “helping others…helps us regulate our own emotions, decreases symptoms of depression and ultimately, improves our emotional well-being.” I know for a fact that when I have helped someone else, I feel elated by becoming a small part of their success.
Knowing you need help is a gift, as is giving and receiving aid. Let’s all practice the give-and-take of sharing to lift everyone’s success!
If you would like support for your journey to success, please take a moment to explore my newly published book, 5 Sense for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena. I am very proud to share these approaches and truly achievable practices that were born out of my own life experiences and strategic research. Each of us has it within us to achieve success and create healthier relationships with yourself and with others.
Here is a link for more information. https://juligeskepeer.com/5-senses-for-success
Juli Geske Peer is a leadership and relationship practitioner whose professional credentials include two academic degrees, mediator training, train-the-trainer certification, two coaching certifications, numerous other learning and certification accomplishments and now, author!