Success and Asking For Help

Success and Asking For Help

Apr 15, 2013

Have you ever had the chance to sit down with someone that you consider really successful and asked them to describe the pivotal moment or moments that changed the course of their lives?

Undoubtedly those moments will vary from one success story to the next, but there is something that I almost guarantee each of these people and their stories will have in common…

They all had help.

Whether a great mentor, an inspiring teacher or perhaps some financial support, it is almost inevitable that the most successful people didn’t go at it alone.

That isn’t to suggest for even a moment that each great success story wasn’t achieved through a relentless commitment to success and to overcoming every hurdle that crossed their path.

However, what I am suggesting is that the great ones were willing to do something that so often alludes us.

They asked for help. Which ultimately means they put their pride aside momentarily in order to keep their ambitions moving forward.

The Role of Pride in Asking for Help

How do you feel about asking for help when you need it most? Does your pride get in the way?

If this is the case, don’t be alarmed, many successful people struggle with their pride when things get tough.

For most intents and purposes, pride can be a wonderful thing. It is often a driving force that makes you want to put your best foot forward.

Were you ever told by your parents to take pride in your work?

They spoke to the “Good” of pride. Delivering something that you can be proud of.

Pride can also be a pitfall.

Because in order to ask for the help that you need, you need to be willing to be vulnerable; to admit that you don’t have all of the answers, or resources or whatever it is you seek.

Somewhere along the line we were programmed to believe that our success is less substantial if we accept the help of others.

This is simply not the case. In a world where we are more connected than ever before, it is the help of others that will help us all arrive at our destinations sooner.

No matter what type of help you need, you have to be willing to ask for it because help rarely appears out of thin air.

For instance, if you need mentorship, you will need to find it through your network and ultimately by asking for help.

And that small loan you need from your “Uncle” to help you get your new venture off the ground. It isn’t going to show up spontaneously.

Across the board, this is the case. We may hear no more times than we hear yes, but if we don’t ask, the answer will always be inherently no.

Without asking, it is almost a certainty that the help needed won’t be found. Yet so many up and comers and even many experienced managers striving to achieve greatness don’t want to ask for help.

Don’t let this be you…

From the time we are born we are dependent upon the help of others.

From learning to do the most basic things like feed and dress ourselves to later asking for independence as we explore ourselves as we move toward adulthood.

Nevertheless we spend our lives in need of help for others, but for some reason when it comes to certain things, often our businesses and our careers, we become gun shy about asking for help when we need it most.

Considering “The Ask”

“The Ask” that I am talking about is selective. It is strategic in nature and it is done with the utmost humility and empathy.

It doesn’t have to be a monumental need, it can be something simple. But there is a difference between asking with purpose and just throwing things out there. Now that we are all so connected, we see that some people seemingly ask all of the time. Much like the boy who cried wolf, if we ask for help all the time for every little need, we will quickly run out of people willing to help.

People Really Love to Help!

The funny thing is that most people really do love to help.

I know that when people reach out to me and ask me for help, and what they are asking for is genuine and in an area that I believe I can make a difference, I really WANT to help.

It is rewarding to become part of another persons success.

Most of us who have had some good fortune also recognize and remember that we had help along the way and giving back is a way to carry that tradition forward.

Like so many of the great successes before you, ask away…Your answers may be closer than you think, but to find out you will have to put it out there.

So, How can I help you?


Hello Daniel, 

            This was a great reminder sometime we usually don't think about this.  I do agree that if you are trying to accomplish goals then putting your pride to the side would be the best thing to do.  Being afraid to ask for help can hold you back on what needs to get done.  I've had  the chance to meet some great people online and to tell you the truth I am much more open online then in face to face.  Can anyone relate to that? 

Madeline Yau

Sujith Kattathara
Sujith Kattathara

Hi Daniel

Excellent article ... Thank you.

I am a regular reader of your Millennial CEO email updates, and really enjoy it.

On this particular article - I agree with you for about 75%. The only part where I have a reservation is: Where would we set limits for asking for help or for receiving it? 

If I have a person who is approaching me for help or mentoring, and has done solid groundwork on his/ her ask, then I would be honored & glad to help. 

On the other hand, If I were to be approached by a person for help without this person NOT having done his/her homework, or is approaching me for help way too often, then I would be concerned. 

And if I see this as a regular practice with a person or group, then I will probably start to withdraw from this group.

Would you set such limits ? What do you think ?


Sujith Kattathara.

danielnewmanUV moderator

@MYau I think a lot of people are more comfortable in a virtual world...that is why Social Media has been so pervasive!

danielnewmanUV moderator

@Sujith Kattathara Great point - if you look toward the bottom where I put "Considering the Ask" I actually talk about your point exactly.  It can't be all the time and for has to be selective.  You can ask too much or too often.  But I'd lean toward asking too much rather than trying to go alone.  Thoughts?


@danielnewmanUV @MYau  You are correct it's much easier to talk to anyone from anywhere in the world.  I can ask anyone a question and not worry about it, but at work I feel like I should know the answer. I am completely connected online all day. Well what you expect I am the Social Media Specialist :) can't get enough of it. 


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