“You don’t have because you don’t ask.” 

Hearing those words was a gut-check for me. In looking ahead toward the things I’m working toward in the next months and years, there’s nothing on my list that I can do alone. That flies in the face of my natural tendency to try and do everything on my own. I am a confessed control freak – it’s a weakness I am working to correct. The reality is that I need other people to make my goals happen, and so I need to get comfortable with asking. 

Let me say this early – too many times, we don’t ask for help or anything else because we’re afraid it makes us look weak or might show people we can’t do it all on our own. That’s an attitude that we need to eliminate quickly. The reality is that none of us can do it all alone. I am my most significant limiting factor in anything, and so are you. Settle that in your mind quickly, and let’s move on.

Here are five things we should be asking…

1. Ask For Help

Asking for help is first on my list, and self-awareness is key to this. As much as we need to know the areas where we possess strengths and abilities, we need to be even more aware of our shortcomings, gaps, and boundaries. These are the areas where we should be asking for help – the kind of help that allows us to stretch those boundaries and fill those gaps. 

Maybe you need someone to help you complete a project or an assignment at work. Perhaps you need someone to help carpool one of your kids to an activity. Maybe you need help paying for something. Possibly you need an extra set of hands for a task at home. No matter how large or small the request, asking for help is not only OK, but it’s something we all need to do from time to time. 

2. Ask For a Partner

Asking for a partner takes the concept of asking for help to the next level. It makes the shift from having a helper to having someone beside you to share the journey – the challenges and the wins. The right partner is a source of accountability, keeping you focused and on task. A good partner is also someone who will walk beside you down any path and carry the load with you. 

A friend of mine shared this example with me a while back. A single draft horse is amazingly strong. It can pull about 8,000 pounds on its own. It would stand to reason that two draft horses could pull 16,000 pounds, but the reality is that together they can pull 24,000 pounds. And, if trained as a team, they can pull 32,000 pounds. Having a partner by your side multiplies your power quickly.  

My wife is proof of this every day. So are my two amazing business partners. At home and in the office, I’m blessed with great partners I can count on and trust no matter what. And it all began with a simple ask… will you walk this path beside me?

3. Ask For Advice

I don’t know what I don’t know. That statement, and being able to admit that fact, is a gamechanger. Each of us possesses limited life experiences – there’s simply no way we can know everything. Asking for advice from mentors, coaches, and those in our circle fills that gap. It allows us to tap into their knowledge and benefit from their experiences, education, and insights. 

For a long time, I thought I was at least smart enough to be dangerous. Starting my business proved that right – the knowledge I lacked really was dangerous. Even with two fantastic business partners, the knowledge we didn’t possess as new entrepreneurs was our Achilles heel. It wasn’t until we asked for advice and allowed other people to feed into us that we began to find our confidence and create new successes.

Asking for advice has removed the need for me to know it all. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I know someone who does.

4. Ask For What You Want

Here’s one where many of us get stuck. We want a friend to make an introduction for us, but we don’t ask. We want someone to invest some time or resources into a project we’re working on, but we don’t ask. We want something out of a relationship, but we don’t ask. We want a new challenge at work, but we don’t ask. Instead, we assume the people around us are mind-readers and will give us what we want without us saying a word. And if that doesn’t magically happen, we mope or complain. 

Part of not asking for what we want may come from a feeling that we’re not worth it. Or it may grow out of a sense that we’re not important enough, or we feel like we’re a burden by asking. Or we may feel asking is selfish. These are feelings, not truth. They grow from our lack of confidence and self-worth, and we need to crush feelings like these quickly. I’m worth it, I’m important, I’m enough, and I’m not a burden. That’s truth.

The most successful people I know in life, from their work to their relationships, are the ones who know they’re worth it and ask for what they want. Be that person, because you are.

5. Ask How You Can Help Someone Else

Of all the things you can ask for, asking how you can help someone else is the most important. There’s nothing wrong with asking for something for ourselves – it’s healthy and necessary! But, asking how you can impact someone else’s life fills another need we all have – our desire for purpose. Helping other people, being the mentor or the partner, or stepping in when they need help, is one of the most satisfying things we can do. Don’t skip this one!

By making other people a focus of your life, and giving of yourself, some of the things you’re asking for will naturally come your direction even if you haven’t asked for them yet. Call it what you will, but this seems to be the natural way the world works. When we spend time filling other people’s buckets, our buckets get filled.


The Takeaway

You don’t have because you don’t ask. So, ask. 

None of us can do this all alone. We all need help. Unfortunately, the people we need help from are not mind-readers. We need to ask so they can step up and help us, advise us, and partner with us. We also need to ask so we can find out how to help them in return. So, ask.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post, and that it met you where you’re at today. If you know someone who should hear this, please share it with them. If you haven’t subscribed to the Depth Now Width blog yet, now’s your chance. Subscribe here, and I’ll be back next week…

– John