“Sometimes, angels need a little help too.” Quote from the movie Christmas Town
Happily, I watch as four-year old grandson JR gets all of us involved in the decoration of our Christmas tree. He takes the hand of Nana (Carol, my wife and his grandmother) and asks her to follow him to the tree to watch him as he hangs the ornament in his hand on an empty limb. He gets me involved, too. Eventually, his pleas for assistance evolves into a tag team effort where he becomes the delivery person transporting ornaments from where I am sitting, with boxes of decorations on the coffee table, to the tree where his older siblings are busy—his brother Chase on a ladder hanging decorations on the upper level of our 10-foot tree and his sister Caroline working on the middle area. JR handles all the lower level hanging. Team effort. Everyone is involved. JR makes sure of that!
Have you ever noticed how little children want adults to be part of whatever they are doing? Whether it is everyone all playing outdoors, or doing something like decorating a tree. They want and ask for help, and they do get it. I would say almost every time.
Perhaps, the professionals who study childhood behavior know the reason for this. But it represents for me a great success strategy. And, the amazing thing is that we experience this principle early. There is no reason as adults why we should not understand and use a timeless truth we embraced in our youthful beginning. We are born with this belief. A success principle that actually works.
Ask for help.
The proof of this timeless truth for adults is often observed while watching television or when reading about a special awards event. The first words spoken by the person receiving the award is often something like this:
I could not have done this without the help of ….
I want to thank ….
I share this award with ….
Over and over again, we hear others claim that their success was not possible without the help of someone important. In a funeral eulogy, we hear about the legacy of someone, a reminder about the difference that one person made.
I absolutely believe that this life principle is a built-in feature. It is there in the beginning. We need help. We want help. We ask for help. Very visible in childhood. Still true as adults. We want and generally need assistance. What is the one thing needed to implement this success strategy…ask for it.
If asking for help is a great formula for success, why do we not more often ask for assistance? In part, because our world has promoted independence as an attractive feature. The self-made person is seen as very special. Even ideal. And yes, we do need to have some independence as part of our success journey. Perhaps, the best answer is a balance between independence and interdependence.
My own success path has been literally filled with the incalculable assistance of many, many people. The accomplishments that others have credited to me often were actually the collaborative efforts of many. Too numerous to list in this newsletter. Lucky? I guess you could say that. But, in truth, we all have some of this. And to activate this good fortune, to get help from others, we just need to ask.
The trip to the giant tree is a little precarious for JR who is now clutching three ornaments. Using one hand to hold two of them, he uses his free hand to give one ornament to Chase, with verbal instructions on the exact place to hang on the tree, and then the second one is handed off with similar advice for Caroline. And, the third one, he proudly places on the tree, with all eyes focused on him. He asks for help in this Christmas tree decorating project and his request is being completely followed.
Want a simple success principle that has been around since the beginning? One that kids know by heart. One that our young children practice every single day of their lives. One that creates great success for both young and old…
Ask for help.