Help: Easier to offer than to ask for#

Asking for help is pretty much the hardest thing on earth for me to do. I’m always willing to offer help, but asking for myself is hard.  As I’ve become more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses, I’ve gotten good at playing the connector and asking people to help others when I’m not the best person.  However, when I struggle with something that’s for my own benefit, I always try to just teach myself.  I try to learn the skill on my own, or by taking a class or attending a workshop, but I rarely just ask for help- when I’m the only one to benefit.

I’ve learned through leadership experiences that building a team with different strengths is essential to the success of an organization.   I’ve heard countless times from successful people that they have a group of mentors and advisers that they refer to as a board of directors. As a part of an on going effort to challenge myself, I decided this is the next challenge I want to face, asking for help. It doesn’t make any sense to not use available resources.

I started this blog over the summer and I’ve been pushing myself to post, but I haven’t done anything to get people to read because I feel like it’s not polished enough. Even though it’s technically a live site, I’ve been using it as a draft.

Recently a friend and NSBE colleague, [](”>Khalia Braswell, launched her site. I’ve admired her social media expertise almost silently for a while and finally decided to ask to pick her brain. Earlier this week we chatted via Google hangout (technology is great! – she’s in Charlotte and I’m in Boston) and I have a much clearer idea of how to approach some of the things I’ve been struggling with. Talking through what I was stuck on helped me formulate actual questions and she had great advice.

Khalia plans to use some of what we talked about to smooth out resources she wants to provide. Our conversation wrapped up talking about theses. She’s in a program trying to decide if she wants to do a thesis or not, so I was able to explain how I decided to write an MS thesis and why I’m glad I did-even though it delayed me completing the degree. We both got advice we were looking for out of the conversation!

Becoming an expert requires that others know your expertise. It requires collaborating with others to build their expertise while you carve out your area of expertise and aknowledge what is and isn’t within your domain.

I’m quick to recognize helping others as a strategy to refine my skills, but sometimes I forget that asking for help can actually be offering that opportunity. It’s a lot easier for me to offer than to ask though- the trick is to realize that sometimes, they’re the same.