Columnist . Grif Sadow
The Hero’s Journey
Asking for help can feel uncomfortable and difficult, at first because it may feel like an admission that you aren’t perfect, are weak, and/or inadequate. Yet, this is a vital entrepreneurial-life skill.
I previously wrote about the Heroes Journey and its relationship to the microbusiness owner, emphasizing the importance of viewing ourselves as heroes. This month, I want to clarify that although we ARE heroes we are not SUPERheroes. Sometimes it is easy to forget we are human, so in order to be effective owners it is vital to have constant awareness of what we know, what we don’t, and who will know what we don’t.
In every learning process, even in the day-to-day running of a microbusiness, there are four stages:
Stage one – “Unconscious Incompetence” – we don’t know what we don’t know.
Stage two – “Conscious Incompetence” – we know there is something we don’t know
Stage three – “Conscious Competence” – we know how when our focus is there.
Stage four – “Unconscious Competence” – we know how without even thinking how
Many times, our only learning strategy is trial and error which can lead to frustration, burnout, and giving up entirely. The more quickly and effectively we can move our learning from unconscious and conscious incompetence to conscious and unconscious competence, the more timely and effective our decision making and productivity will be.
The first step is realizing you need help, then figuring out specifically what you need help with, and then finding who best to help you. Once this is established, you are ready to make a request for help that can be done in-person, by phone, or by email. Asking for help can feel uncomfortable and difficult, at first because it may feel like an admission that you aren’t perfect, are weak, and/or inadequate. Yet, this is a vital entrepreneurial-life skill.
Practice and use the following sequence:
1.) Say to your requestee, “I am about to make a request of you and you have the choice to say “yes, no, or make a counter-offer.”
2.) Bottom-line your request by being specific, clear, and direct. Begin with, “Will you (fill in the blank with your request)?”
3.) Listen to their response in full without interrupting.
With a “yes” response, you can begin to design together what’s next.
With a “no” response (and be prepared for this) you may choose to follow up with the question, “what would you be willing to do?” or thank them and move on to your next potential requestee.
With a “counter-offer” response, decide if it aligns with what is best for you and your situation. Give yourself time to get back to them if you need to.
Remember, no one knows everything and many of our obstacles in business cannot be tackled alone. Surrounding yourself with allies, advisors, and mentors that you can make requests to is a major step toward deeper understanding for you and a more positive movement forward for your microbusiness. The truth is, most individuals are flattered to be asked their advice. Wouldn’t you be?