For a good portion of my life I have been hesitant to ask for help. Not because I didn’t want to appear weak or show my lack of knowledge but because I didn’t want to burden someone. I didn’t want to waste their time as they were likely busy. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized it is quite a compliment to be asked for help.
Coming out of college, several mentors suggested I do “informational” interviews and to spend 20 minutes with seasoned leaders asking about their job, their company, and their career path. Reluctantly I did and almost everyone said, “Yes.”
It still felt like I was burdening them until I became one of those “seasoned leaders” (read: older) and several of my friends’ college-age kids asked me for an informational interview. I gladly said, “Yes” and felt honored. Hmm, maybe asking is less of a burden and more of an honor was what started going through my head.
As I was preparing to write my upcoming book, EPIC Performance: Lessons from 100 Executives and Endurance Athletes on Reaching Your Peak, I wondered how many people I would have to ask to get 100 interviews. Only two people said, “No.” Only two.
The chance of hearing “YES” when you DO NOT ask is virtually zero. The chance of hearing “YES” when you DO ask goes up significantly.
I am starting to let them say no before I say no for them.