How good are you at asking for help from others?
How often do you stop yourself from asking because you believe that others can’t or won’t want to help you?
I was listening at the weekend to a recent episode of the excellent Radio 4 podcast ‘Don’t Tell Me the Score‘ with long-distance swimmer Lewis Pugh as the guest.
During the interview Pugh told the presenter, Simon Mundie, about the time he was swimming from island to island across the Maldives when the rudder of his accompanying boat got stuck. Pugh had to climb aboard and they found themselves on the boat stuck in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The General in command of the boat got on the radio to try to find help. Behind the General, Pugh could see an island and, behind that, a massive yacht. Pugh had heard that the Russian Oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich had a yacht in the area (apparently he has one in every ocean of the world!) and speculated that it might be his.
The General asked for Pugh’s mobile phone and called the Sponsorship Manager for the swim. He told her, “I want you to telephone the manager of Chelsea Football Club and ask the manager of Chelsea Football Club to phone Roman Abramovich and ask if that is his yacht over there – if so, would he please come and rescue us. Any questions?”
Half an hour after the call the yacht sailed up to the boat. The Captain was stood at the front and told the gobsmacked Pugh, “I’ve been instructed to lend you every support possible.”
Pugh asked himself why he had stood there speculating while the General jumped into action and made the phone call that resulted in their rescue. Pugh could easily have reached Abramovich if he had wanted to but something stopped him.
“Where did that limiting belief come from?” Pugh asked himself. “That’s the dangerous thing about limiting beliefs, sometimes we have them and we don’t even realise that we have them.”
When they were sailing back Pugh shared his thoughts with the General, who told him, “I’m a lot older than you are but I have always gone through my life honestly believing that everybody wants to help me.”
I have always gone through my life honestly believing that everybody wants to help me.
There’s a huge difference in the mindset, conscious or otherwise, that tells us that people don’t want to or can’t help us and the one that tells us that everyone wants to help us. The truth I’ve found is that most people get pleasure from helping other people, particularly those they care about.
But we need to make it easy for people to help us and that begins with asking. Sure, maybe sometimes for whatever reason, it won’t happen. But it’s unlikely that we lose much in the process of asking.
As Pugh said, “If you’re not asking for help, you’re not giving people the opportunity to help you.”