Thank goodness we have left behind the times when if wasn’t very cool to ask for help. If you are old enough to remember, there was a time – and not so long ago – when the thing to do was just suppress your problem(s) and deal with things yourself. We now know that what many people experienced however was by suppressing all those problems, things just got bottled up until there was too much contained pressure and then there was an explosion.
See if people were all trained from birth on how to deal with problems, then we might all be able to deal with things on our own but even then I doubt it. The fact that very few of us actually get much help understanding the right way to handle problems and pressure early on in life in a socially responsible way means we aren’t really all that prepared to deal with it when it raises its ugly head.
Now in 2013, I’d like to think that the majority have come to see that we aren’t always equipped to deal with every problem and source of stress that life deals us. So for example, someone who has studied addictions and therefore has both the clinical knowledge of what happens internally to an addict, plus has the knowledge of treatment options and counselling skills is just so much better prepared to offer real help than actual addicts themselves. Likewise, an individual who has anger issues and reacts physically to solve their problems is not as prepared in life to actually work on dealing with that issue than perhaps someone who has taken the time to not only learn how to manage anger, but also has the skills to pass on that knowledge in a manner that connects with people working through it.
It may be that in a job and career advice piece, you’re wondering how addictions and anger, and asking for help to deal with problems fits in. Fair enough and here’s how. You see there are many people, and you may know some, who can get a job rather quickly. They interview well and can pull off the charm and behaviour needed to look good for an hour. However, because of their addictions or anger issues, they fail to keep jobs and lose them quickly thereafter. Maybe it’s turning to a drug on the job to deal with stress, or putting somebody in their place with fists if it’s thought they asked for it. Asking for, and receiving some supportive help to deal best with those issues and others, not only helps the person personally, but helps the person professionally.
How many chances though do we get to really reach out and help? Sometimes a total stranger might approach us and say, “I wonder if you could help me out? I’ve got a problem and need to make some changes”. It may be that if you don’t come through that one time, you don’t get a second chance. Other times, the request comes from someone you do know, with whom you’ve built a trusting relationship, and they’ve come to value your opinion. In either case, best to first tell them how much you appreciate the courage and strength to seek out help. You see they’ve probably been weighing that decision before just coming to it finally, and it’s like taking a big bite of humble pie. So in this state of vulnerability, best to build them up emotionally and aren’t we all needing help in some area from time-to-time?
Act like you would want if it were you on the other side of the table. Hopefully you can be helpful with a referral, even a pamphlet, or a phone number or a contact. Depending on the place, the time, and your knowledge of resources, offer help to the extent that you can.
So what’s in it for you personally? Well if it’s you on the one side of the table asking, you get started on the first step to dealing with your issues. If you are on the other side, you get some satisfaction out of being there with information when somebody trusted you enough to even ask. Good on both of you. And there are more benefits if you look deeper. Consider that in a future job interview, you get asked, “Tell me about a time you’ve made a difference.” Or maybe you’ve been asked, “Tell me about a time you overcame a problem and what did you do?” You could answer either or both of these questions by relating back to the time you asked for, or provided help.
Relating how you overcame your own problems is powerful and demonstrates your ability to relate to others who are where you’ve been. Having courage and strength to ask for help in one area gives you the ability to pass on that story to people dealing with problems in other areas.
Something to ponder.