Ask For Directions: More Results and Less Bust-Ups
For all my talents I have to admit a few weaknesses – taking travel directions and following travel directions. Most women would comfort me by pointing out that this is a gender problem rather than an individual problem. Women may also point out that I should have an additional weakness – the inability to ask for help with directions when travelling. Many wives/girlfriends have experienced a journey (or more than likely plural) passing the same land mark numerous times. “I know where it is – just around the corner!!” I have never had a problem asking for directions. I don’t know why I buck the trend but I think a lack of patience and lack of interest in scenery play a big part.
My ability to ask for directions when travelling has helped me in life and business as I don’t have hang-ups about asking for directions here either. I don’t know everything but I do know that I am always one or two questions away from knowing it. Asking for direction is important in job hunting and business but ignored by too many professionals and business owners. Why would you waste time and energy going around in circles when a few questions can deliver results quicker? Our four lettered friend FEAR stems the flow of requests for help. Although I feel I am good at asking I still have to face down and overcome fear.
Fear of looking stupid – I guess we all carry this baggage. I always start by looking within my immediate network as it is less daunting to ask people I already know. When moving into the unknown I remember the Chinese proverb – “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever”.
Fear of rejection – I tell myself that if I get a “No” it brings me one step closer to “Yes”. I remind myself of previous experiences – people are very helpful, people love talking about what they do and people love talking about their successes. Yes I have met the odd Victor Meldrew who won’t help BUT SWSWSW (Some Will, Some Won’t, So What). Research by Journal of Personality & Social Psychology indicates that we grossly underestimate just how willing others are to help.
Fear of showing weakness/vulnerability – I fear that asking for help shows weakness or admittance to lacking in my own ability. I have to remind myself that not even I know everything :-).
Fear of being indebted to others – I don’t like owing people or feeling like I owe a debt. To overcome this I pay for advice, offer my skills/expertise in return or offer a simple lunch or breakfast.
So start asking your way to success today. Whether you are job hunting or in business this strategy can pay great dividends and help provide a roadmap to achieving goals. Remember the saying – “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”.
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