When was the last time you asked for help? Iíll wager it wasnít recently, or if it was that you had literally no choice but to seek it out. †Donít worry ó most of us react this way. Unfortunately, readily admitting that we need help is not something that our society heralds, and we have been conditioned to believe that getting help signifies that we are weak.
Like it or not, we are a culture of pioneers, where the conquering maverick is regarded as the epitome of success. We love stories of individuals overcoming huge obstacles and doing the impossible all on their own. The upside of this belief system is obvious: with self-will, anything is possible. †The downside is equally obvious: sometimes we all need assistance, and often we can achieve greater success through teamwork than we ever could individually. And our collective idealization of unaided success robs us of one of our most powerful and readily available tools: the support of those around us.
In Keith Ferazziís book Whoís Got Your Back? he highlights the power of support. In one poignant example, he cites the success of the original Weight Watchers program. While portion control and discipline were important elements of the wildly successful program, its true magic lay in the support the women gave one another, meeting in groups and supporting one another in their weight loss goals. †His book breaks down the rationale and power of collaboration in business, vividly demonstrating the awesome force that it can exert on oneís professional success. With the right kind of support, he writes, ďI tripled my companyís earnings in one year.Ē
The key though, is the right kind of support. What is right for someone else may not be right for you. You need to be aware of the different kinds of support that are available. Here is a quick list to help you get started:
Individual: This is very customized support. You will have the full attention of someone else, which means the support can be more regular and designed to meet your needs as they arise. Coaches, consultants, and personal trainers are just a few of the people who can provide this sort of one on one attention. Partners and mentors can also fall into this category. The bottom line is that the focus is always on you. Itís in depth, specialized and allows you to feel fully understood. Itís also the type of support that can have the most impact.
Group: Support can also come from groups, which can provide welcome diversity. In this environment you can receive a variety of ideas, feedback and the feeling of inclusion and community. As in the Weight Watchers example, this type of group support can be extremely successful in meeting collective or shared goals. The sense of community and belonging itself can be a motivator for staying on track; you donít want to let a group of people down.
Ongoing: Do you need sustained help? Ongoing support can be valuable for achieving goals that are more long term. This sort of assistance is integrated as part of your regular routine. You create a relationship with someone who gets you and can be a steady gauge for how you are performing. Be forewarned: itís a big commitment and it can get intense. But you canít beat it for achieving big long-term goals.
Once off: Sometimes you just need an injection of support. You may just need a great idea, some strategy help, a workout planned for you once, or a motivating conversation. If you are effective at taking a project and running with it, one-off support may be a great way to give you spurts of energy when challenges arise. You may also like having many different types of help and in that case one-offs can be helpful as it’s there only when you need it.
The key to making the best use of support is learning what is available and learning about the different options. Donít shortchange yourself and your ability to achieve great things with the help from others ó make support a regular tool in your toolkit. Itís up to you: if you have big goals and a lot of ambition then support can help you do a lot more than you thought possible. Whatís weak about that?