If there is one thing which I have witnessed for years and which has seriously driven me crazy, it is seeing people; you know who you are, working on something for hours and not asking for help to accelerate the process of accomplishing the task. Yes, I know some people only learn if they “try” to do it themselves, fill in the blank for what that might be, but let’s face it, numerous hours are wasted because people are afraid to ask for help. What they do not realize is how much more they could learn if they asked for help instead of struggling through the task they do not know how to do.
The perception of making mistakes having a negative connotation is also a subject which drives me nuts. If there is one major tip I can share with you about life and business, it is that the best way to “learn” and to advance in your career is to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough, and are playing it way to safe. Stop playing the “safe game”, make mistakes, and ask for help. Yes, it’s that simple, and you will not be fired for making a mistake, or asking for help. How do I know? I know this first hand because when I have made mistakes, or asked for help, I have always benefitted tremendously from doing so. It was intimidating asking for help, and incredibly scary and humbling admitting I made a mistake, but the net result far outweighed playing the “safe game”. I have also never fired anyone for making mistakes, or asking for help. Actually, I promoted most of the people who did both of these things.
Another “secret” I am going to share with you is that your boss or colleagues really do want to help you. Most people in general have a big heart, and sincerely want to help you. Scientifically there have been studies done to prove that people derive far more satisfaction from helping someone versus not doing so. Think about the last time you helped someone. Didn’t you feel better afterwards? You can thank the natural body chemical called dopamine for this, and it does not cost you anything, but it can be a naturally addictive side effect. Arguably not a bad one considering the negative chemically addictive alternatives. Let’s not go there, as we all know the opioid epidemic is out of control and too many good people and families have been impacted by this negative addiction.
Living in the Northeast part of the United States, there are towns in our region which are especially plagued by the dark side of opioids. Fortunately, there are programs being replicated that originated out of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department to help address this issue. Thank you to the Gloucester Police Department for spearheading and doing something about and addressing the opioid drug epidemic.
Sorry about digressing from the original topic of why you should make mistakes, and ask for help, but both of these instances could apply to the opioid epidemic too. However, I am sure your situation is not nearly as dire as this example, but illustrates my point of why you should consider my advice. Since we all only have 24 hours each day to make the most of our days, and if you care about making the most of your time and being productive, consider the expression I have heard numerous times of “fail fast”. It is a simple yet impactful phrase, and there is a great deal of merit behind it. When we make mistakes, we typically learn more from making them than we do by sticking to the “status quo” of our routines.
I am still considering whether it is a blessing or a curse, but unless I am trying new things, making mistakes and feeling like I am constantly challenging myself, I feel like I am wasting my time, and quickly become bored. Perhaps this has to do with the fact I am entrepreneurially wired, but I can share with you I have had a far richer professional experience as a result of being this way.
In my first blog article, I shared with you that I am dyslexic. I did not find this out officially until I was 21 years old, but I always knew I learned and thought differently than everyone around me. The good news was as a result of having a learning disability, I knew I needed to ask for help to keep up, or to better understand what I was supposed to be doing – again fill in the blanks on this one. Becoming comfortable with asking for help was an essential survival method for me in both life and business. I quickly realized I did not have to know everything, and also became aware of the fact I should rely upon others who were far better at doing certain things than I was. Appreciating the fact others had strengths I did not have was something I also learned by asking for help, usually as a result of making a mistake. If someone could not help me, they generally knew who could.
In summary, if you want to get ahead in both life and business, please start becoming comfortable with making mistakes and asking for help. It is far easier to do than you might imagine, and I promise you, this is something I wish someone had given me as advice early on or at some point in my career.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.