Entering a new organization, working on a new contract, or walking into the Pentagon for the first time all have one thing in common: the need to ask another person for assistance. There are other instances, where seeking a big ask for support through a tough period in life seems monumental but like those small assists, help is needed. Some people dread having to ask someone for help because of the thought that makes them feel like they are a burden on others or weak. Relying on others and admitting the limitation of one’s own knowledge is a sign of strength. To ask others for assistance acknowledges the exhaustion of one’s own resources and a strength to lean on others to receive the help genuinely needed.

Strength Shown in Asking for Help

According to Dr. Joan Rosenberg, “Being capable and resourceful are necessary in order to develop true emotional strength, confidence, and a sense of well-being.” The independent spirit that drove individual accomplishments was instrumental to get you where you’re at. This strength or bedrock to your efforts provided a solid footing to take the leap forward into this new space. The challenge now is how to maneuver in an environment or through an event unknown to you.

As the saying goes, the first step is the hardest. Similarly, the first acknowledgement of dependence instead of independence is also a rough one. This takes the intestinal fortitude to first acknowledge a lack of knowledge and to see one’s own vulnerability. Demonstrating this takes humility to seek assistance; this is also a sign in high performers and valued by employers. By communicating a lack of omnipotence and instead showing openness to change reduces human error.

Practice Grows Comfort Levels

Getting comfortable asking for help takes practice. Start small, the request for directions or how to complete a new task with your team is one step towards getting comfortable asking for help. Asking for help serves also as a great icebreaker to meet new people. Most individuals want to demonstrate their expertise or help someone out. Recognizing the need for help in a bigger request is another step of growth. It takes courage to ask for help during a tumultuous time in life. The resourcefulness of others is a gift they can give to you. When someone helps another through a transitional period of life it deepens their relationships with another. Receiving offered help when you need it most demonstrates your worth and wellbeing.

Benefits of Asking for Help

Asking for help is essential to understanding how to bounce back from hard times. By improving resilience, through receiving help from others, teaches vital lessons. This helps the receiver understand how to deal with a similar situation in the future and how to help others in a comparable situation. A bonus to asking for help and learning from the answer is that it develops a growth mindset which expands the aptitude in seeking new knowledge.

Lastly, asking for help improves mental health and demonstrates bravery. Others will value you more and appreciate your participation on a team. People want to feel needed and your ask gives them a reason to be there for you. Throughout a person’s career the need and acknowledgement to collaborate and work with others is key. Because at the end of the day, the journey is a team sport and working with others is better than working alone.

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Candice Frost is an active duty Army officer and a leadership consultant. Her work in intelligence on the Army Staff provides her unique insights on the highest levels of leadership in DoD. She is a public speaker who focuses on mentorship and leader development. She lives in Washington, DC and can be reached at candicefrost1776@gmail.com