A new report released by researchers from Harvard and the Wharton Business School found that, though many people are afraid to ask for advice or support and risk looking incompetent, they’ve actually got it backwards! People who seek advice or support are likely to be thought of as MORE COMPETENT, at least by the people they’re asking.
And yet, we often insist on “doing it alone” – not getting the help or support that we need.
Most of us share the myth that if we accept “help” we:
- diminish our achievements,
- don’t deserve praise for our accomplishments, or
- will appear to need a crutch.
Have you ever heard yourself say:
- “Everyone’s too busy to help me right now anyway” or…
- “If you want a job done right, do it yourself’.”
Webster’s definitions for the words “help” and support are very similar – “Give assistance to, lend a hand, or provide encouragement”.
Here’s a quick tip: When possible in your everyday vocabulary replace the word “Help” with “Support”. Support is to be actively interested in and concerned for the success of others”. Then, although you know how to GIVE support, ask yourself – “do I actively seek it?”
In life we NEED support to move forward when our doubts, worries and fear are stopping our progress towards our goals. This requires that we locate people from whom we are willing to seek encouragement. When we do so we are generously allowing this person to make a significant contribution in our life. By working together, we both benefit. This mutual support amplifies our own natural courage, faith, confidence and … competence.
Even if you know you can do it yourself, that’s not always the point. Often it’s about making a connection with a fellow human being. When we ask another person for support we are acknowledging their expertise and ability. We are allowing them to contribute significantly to our success.
Margaret Wheatly, American writer and management consultant, sums it up in this way:
“When we seek connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”
Successful people are masterful at giving and receiving support.
We now know that by seeking support we’re likely to be thought of as more competent. Researchers at both Harvard and Wharton can’t be wrong!