Blog 1 in the Series on the Power of Asking For Help - Learning Not to Ask
Welcome to a three-part blog series on “The Power of Asking for Help”. The book excerpt is from one of my latest coauthoring projects, Cracking The Rich Code. This book features Best Selling Author and one of the World’s Top 20 Success Coaches and Top 50 Speakers in Jim Britt and Kevin Harrington, Star of the Hit TV Show Shark Tank. In addition, the book is endorsed by Tony Robbins.
The focus of my book chapter was on The Power of Asking for Help. This topic is near and dear to my heart because it has become a part of my story. In fact, asking for help is the story of a lot of people.
As a Men’s Life Coach, I’ve found that finding the pain points that men have is critical to pushing forward. However, it all starts with the willingness to ask for help.
In this blog, I share my Childhood and adult experiences to set the stage for what I’ve learned about asking for help in life. Enjoy!
The concept of asking for help has captured my curiosity. As a men's life coach, I've heard all the stories of going it alone, including not asking for help until it was almost too late. Asking for help is nothing new. It's what you lose out on by not asking that can leave you feeling empty and frustrated when trying to live life on your own. Have you experienced this?
I was diagnosed with a lazy eye when I was six. This is a common condition where the vision of one of your eyes doesn't develop properly. Without treatment, your brain will learn to ignore the image from the problematic eye, and it grows weaker over time. So, the diagnosis was glasses and wearing a patch over the strong eye to strengthen the weak one.
I remember when my optometrist diagnosed my lazy eye. He asked me to perform a simple eye test by looking at an image. I saw the moon jumping over a cow. What I should have seen was a cow jumping over the moon. How did I take that? As a complete embarrassment. I felt dumb. To make matters worse, I was experiencing a conflict between feeling dumb and others perceiving me as intelligent because I was wearing glasses.
You see, back in 1976, a six-year-old wearing glasses wasn't common. As you might suspect, bullying occurred, and the phrase "four eyes" was often hurled in my direction. However, it wasn't the bullying that hurt most, it was the stereotype of wearing glasses, so I must be smart.
Of course, I was smart. Unfortunately, I stopped asking questions because I didn't want to be considered dumb. Full disclosure: I was also very introverted during my formative years. A combination of being introverted and not asking questions is a recipe for disaster.
What did this all lead to? Searching! Searching for answers on my own. I became isolated and unable to raise my hand to ask for help. Why? Inevitably, the truth would be revealed that I may not be as smart as the glasses made me look. This was a difficult way to live in my young life.
Do you move through life with a similar story? Have you noticed that you can never run from the questions? The answers are always simmering inside you. It's like they're constantly trying to bubble out.
When these answers bubble up, do you see it as an invitation to explore? Perhaps you label it as something that may not be valid and then move silently?
This was a starting point for me, leading to a life of searching in silence and not asking questions that could help me along the way. Was I curious? I don't know. Did I have the desire to learn? Unless it was sports related, not really.
Reflecting on it now, I see where I was bullheaded, selfish, and stubborn enough to think I'd eventually find a way to fight through everything on my own.
Before I judge myself too harshly, maybe I should ask, "Am I alone in my stubbornness of not asking for help, or am I more like the average guy on the street?"
A 2022 survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Nutrisystem with 2,000 Americans found that 73% of people don't ask for help before starting something new. Half the respondents wait to ask for help until things are overwhelming. Additionally, 53% of people feel held back from goal achievement because they try to do it alone. Has doing it alone ever affected your goal achievement?
While on a recent retreat weekend, I had the opportunity to observe a group of men on a team-building exercise. It began with each member being blindfolded. Next, the group was guided to a ropes course and instructed, "Keep both hands on the rope. Keep your blindfold on. If you have any questions, raise your hand and ask for help."
The goal was to find your way out of the ropes course. There was no way out unless you put your hand in the air and asked for help.
As one might suspect, it took about 10 minutes before the first participant put his hand in the air and nearly 30 minutes before everyone realized that the instructions also came with the answer, "Put your hand in the air and ask for help."
How many times have you followed a path, or a rope, only to realize you're going around in circles? Searching for a way out or a different approach on your own can leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted.
When we feel lost or think something is missing in our lives, we search to fill the void. We search for love, career fulfillment, or whatever gives us pleasure. But unfortunately, instead of asking for help to find our true path and honest answers, we commonly fill the void alone, or with things like medications or addictions.
Perhaps we don't want to deal with the answers or fear what may happen if we hear what God has in store for us. Is fear, shame, guilt, or something else holding us back? Yes, it could be any of those and more.
Yet when we isolate ourselves, we create a life of searching alone that can weigh us down like a boat anchor. It's that heaviness that holds us back in life.
As a coach and podcaster, the lifeblood of what I do is asking great questions. I often laugh because the guy (me) who wouldn't ask for help now guides men through this powerful process.
Over time, I've learned the value of staying curious and seeking to understand the true answers. Instead of rushing into advice or fixing problems, I serve much more effectively when I remain curious. Through the power of prayer and discernment, I've come to understand that we all have the answers inside of us; we might just need a guide to pull them out of us. An effective resolution comes by asking for help and the power of working through deep questions.
Let's face it, the resistance to asking for help is powerful. As I watched the blindfolded men go through their team-building exercises on the ropes course, the dazed and confused looks on their faces reflected their thoughts.
Yes, this was a safe environment for the men, but their desire to figure it out independently was clear and unmistakable. They would find freedom and attain their goal if they could only figure out how to overcome this barrier and get to the open space. Here's the caveat: until they raised their hand and asked for help!
We live in a culture that values finding a way out and overcoming obstacles. My podcast guests tell their stories on the True Man Podcast each week. Typically, guests share about a low point in their lives. What separates them from others is their ability to pivot and attempt what they didn't think was possible.
Their success stories commonly reveal how they successfully found themselves maneuvering through their situations because they asked for help. They also found the answers along with support and encouragement from loved ones or others who walked alongside them.
Like many of my podcast guests, I can report the same finding. In fact, through the help of a redemptive God, a few good men, and a great deal of self-work, I can attest that you gain massive power when you release your unwillingness to ask for help.
Have you ever experienced winning at something you put all your energy behind?
Believe me, it feels far more exhilarating than losing on a last-second shot. In the loss, what I have found is there is massive power when I went looking at how I could improve. I found massive power in asking questions and going to people for help.
Are you in need of help?
If so, I want to encourage you that anything is possible when you set your mind to it!
Do yourself a favor and ask for help today.
MEN, YOU WERE MADE TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW!
True Man Life Coaching helps men unpack the goodness that’s already in their heart and discover the True Man inside of them.
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Mike Van Pelt, Men’s Life Coach
True Man Life Coaching
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