Showing Strength by Asking for Help

Asking for help has been promulgated as a sign of weakness, incompetence, or an imposition on other people's time. When we don't want to come across as being a nuisance, we tend to avoid asking for help altogether, and expect that things will just work out.

I want to stress that this approach is flawed, and that the opposite is true. Asking for help is in fact a STRENGTH, not a weakness. 

As Michele L. Sullivan, social innovator and TED Women speaker puts it, "we all go through life's challenges - some you can see, most you can't." The majority of the time, you can't tell if your colleague, friend, or the person next to you is experiencing a mental illness, struggling with gender identity, caring for an aging or sick parent, or having financial difficulties. Sullivan goes on to debunk the myth that we can walk in other peoples' shoes - contrarily, "the only shoes you can walk in are your own." Therefore, Sullivan proposes that we must adapt a new way of giving of ourselves, through offering support.


We all need help throughout our lifetime, but it is just as important that we are a part of other peoples' support systems. It is obvious that we have a pivotal role to play in our own accomplishments, but I urge you to take some time to think about the role we have to play in the accomplishments of other people. Sullivan states that "it is vitally important that we help each other because society is increasingly placing people in silos based on biases and ideologies."

There is more to us as individuals ... we each have our own gifts to share: talent, connections, insights, experience, skill sets, resources, and hospitality. Too often we tough it out rather than reaching out to ask for help. We need to begin by questioning this perspective and realizing that fear gets the better of us, while depriving others of an opportunity to show us their gratitude and unique gifts.

To access Michele's inspiring TED talk, click here.

“With compassion, courage, and understanding, we can walk together, side by side.”

- Michele Sullivan

What is your stance on asking for help? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sullivan, M. L. (n.d.). Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Retrieved from