Help, I need somebody!
This week, for the first time in a long while, I found myself struggling with writers’ block. This is the week of my colleague Will Jacobs’s and my 33rd blog for the RPS.Academy. What a great learning journey we have had so far; from launching a book, to starting up a company, to learning how to be marketeers, we have done so much! It has been hard work and good fun, yet occasionally scary. When you are an army of two, there is no safety net!
Now back to this week. Currently thirty-two blogs are done, the world is focused solely on the terrible pandemic we are navigating, and I find myself not wanting to write about coronavirus. I am no medical expert, and I don’t know about you, but I really need a break.
This is the mindset I had when I sat down on Friday to write this blog and frankly, I drew a blank.
I struggled for most of the weekend to think of what to write with no luck and my mood began to darken. So much so, that my wife asked me what was wrong over breakfast this morning. I told her the story and she replied.
“Why don’t you be honest with your readers and admit that you need help?”
Though I am a leader, I can be a stubborn one. Aren’t I supposed to come up with the ideas and call the shots? It has always been difficult for me to ask for help. I am one of those people that would drive around in circles, utterly lost, before I finally pull over to request directions; and that has nothing to do with me buying into stereotypical masculinity. I have no qualms with not seeming “manly,” I truly just do not like admitting to myself and others that I don’t have everything figured out and ready to go. In fact, this stubbornness once caused a major blowup between my wife and I when we found ourselves driving around without a satnav in Malta! (Spoilers, we got completely lost!)
Okay, so I took my wife’s advice and started to do some research about the importance of leaders asking for help. I came across Peter Bregman’s Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help”.
Bregman shares the story of how he, like me, can be a strong-headed leader. A leader “[w]ho can get a tremendous amount accomplished in a day. Who can work long hours and pull through in clutch moments. Who doesn’t give up in the face of problems, but works tirelessly until they are solved.” But even the strongest leaders need to ask for help. For Bregman, help was needed when he had a bike accident on the way to meet friends for dinner. This experience led Bregman to reflect:
“[H]iding our weaknesses in an attempt to be strong leaders makes us weak leaders. Our vulnerabilities make us most vulnerable when we pretend they don’t exist.”
This passage really resonates with me. When I was a leader in a large corporation, I always tried to surround myself with experts in domains where I was the weakest. Now that I am an indie author and consultant, I need to remember that I do not have to do everything alone.
In the spirit of asking for help, I would like to ask all those that read this article to share ideas for future articles. Many thanks for reading and your support. I appreciate your help!