For some of us, asking for help is hard. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced professional or a career starter. We can get caught in the vicious cycles of either old habits that dictate doing everything yourself, or fresh fears of asking for a networking meeting.
I learned (yet again) this past month about the joy of asking for help. I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking I was good at a lot of things I’m really not. It seems to be a combination of stubbornness with a touch of arrogance. “Of course I can do this!” Well, yes, sort of. But really, how long will it take? And is it worthwhile?
That’s why we collaborate, find mentors, and seek out our opposites. I am proud to say I have recently succeeded in doing this, again. Over the last year I have been reconnecting with my cousin, Jo. We were like sisters as kids, sharing all our life experiences, each other’s best playmates and confidants. Our adult paths separated us for many years, until now.
As we began talking, we realized how opposite, and complementary our skills are. She found herself at a place where she was looking for a new project, and I found myself stuck, and needing help. So I asked.
And it’s amazing what happens when you ask. For me, writing comes easier than managing all the processes of getting things posted, linked, organized and filed. For Jo, just the opposite. She is the goddess of process. And let me tell you, writing is a great skill to claim, but it makes no difference if there’s no way to get it out in the world. And that’s what Jo does. Together, we become a whole brain–-using our unique ways of producing things in the world–she creating the channels to push things into the world, me giving her the stuff to put out there.
It’s so exciting to work in partnership. As much as I know it, and have experienced it many times, there’s a new kid-like excitement of starting with someone new. We push each other, set common deadlines, and especially for me, she becomes someone else I am responsible to. That’s a trick that works for me.
We are all wired to be whole brained, and can be implementers and dreamers, analyzers and emotional supporters, when we have to. But we have preferences, and we’re most productive—and most happy—when we play to our best tune. It’s a lot more fun, and I find I get way better results taking advantage of my strengths and other people’s strengths.
Playing the opposites game is fun and rewarding. Nothing beats the great boost of energy and growth that comes from it. Jo is teaching me so much, and as a bonus, we’re both figuring out why we were inseparable as kids.
Who can be your opposite, to help you build something new and exciting? Time to find out.