Don’t Go It Alone

No man is an island

John Donne

You can do it. You already have the answers. The power is within you. Go out and hustle to get what’s yours. Nobody or nothing can stop you. You..You..You.

Almost every piece of self-help and personal development advice from the self-styled social media “gurus” will mention one or more of the above ideas. In short, they would have you believe that if you want success, you have to go it alone and that everybody else is your competition. Asking for help, or putting your trust in others, is discouraged and often pointed to as a sign of weakness.

The truth is very different. Our journeys towards our goals are also journeys of self-discovery. We learn who we are, where our passions lie, what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are. Identifying your weaknesses is essential to making personal or professional progress. When you know what gaps you have in your knowledge, skills or experience you can do something about it.

One of the main ways in which we can tackle our weaknesses is through working on them. Practicing a skill and reading books to gain knowledge are just two ways in which you can address your weak areas, but these take time and energy which can often be in short supply. If your goal involves working to a tight deadline, then the time required to turn a weakness into an area of strength is time that you do not have to spare.

This is where other people can help you. Ask for help, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised at how many people will be willing to support you in your efforts. It all depends on how you approach the other person. Simply asking them to give up their time to support you is not the way to go about it, though. People generally want one of two things; value for their efforts or to feel like they are a part of something. This value you provide in return for their help could be anything from a stake in your company, acknowledgement as a contributor in your novel or a meal at their favourite restaurant. As for wanting to feel a part of something, if that is what they desire, be prepared tell a compelling story that will entice them. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength and self-awareness. You will benefit from another’s perspective and skills, which could be just what you need to progress to the next level.

Family, friends and professional networks are a great place to start but not your only option. It all depends on what you are hoping to achieve and the kind of support which you need. It could be that a coach, mentor or psychologist could be your best option. Don’t be afraid to experiment with help from different sources. At one time or another, I have benefitted from turning to all of the above and it has helped me greatly. I have gained confidence, knowledge and skills when I needed them the most.

This whole “self-made success” story which is so often peddled, is a lie. When you look deeper into the lives of people who claim to have come successful through their efforts alone, you will very often see that this is not the case. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. However, for the vast majority of these individuals, you will notice that there were people in the background who helped, supported, guided, inspired, pushed and believed in them which made it possible for them to succeed in their endeavours.

The only person who you should ever enter into competition with is yourself. Aim to improve daily, focusing on what you can control and not on what anybody else is doing. Put your ego aside and be prepared to ask for help when you need it. Also be prepared to help others. There is no shortage of possibilities for those who are prepared to work for them, and working together we can achieve even more. We can all taste success, and there is no need for greed. There is plenty to go around for everyone.

Again, be strong enough to ask for help when you need it and be prepared to provide it when called upon. This is how you grow your reputation positively, forge meaningful relationships and become known for your integrity.






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