In the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW, Dorie Clark explains that we have to get over the fear of asking others for help in our professional life. Surprisingly, many who open their own businesses don't even inform their network. They assume others don't want to be bothered. Yet, new business as well as jobs often come directly through other people.
What should we be asking for? Here's just a handful of professional-helpers:
- For a reference
- For a testimonial
- For client referrals
- For job leads
- For putting in a good word for us on their network [that third-party endorsement carries more weight than our own pitching]
- For a [brief] briefing about software, where to buy affordable health insurance and so on
- For feedback
- For no feedback, just an ear to listen.
Admittedly, it's not easy to screw up the courage and humility to Just Ask. I walked by a neighbor's door three times before I knocked. She had Excel down cold. I was willing to pay her to tutor me. When I finally got on the other side of that fear, knocked, and Just Asked, the neighbor coached me for free. That happy ending doesn't mean, of course, that the next time I Just Ask it will be any less traumatic. After all, this is America, the land of self-reliance.