Ask for help!

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

As I mentioned last week, The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has partnered with LookUp Indiana to shine a light on better mental health, wellness and self-care for entrepreneurs and business builders.

The stresses and tolls of starting, building and growing a business cannot be understated. Often the isolation, loneliness and peaks and valleys of doing your own thing result in a silent struggle. This blog is the second of a three-part series on self-care for business builders. Whether you need resources, information or providers, LookUp Indiana is there to meet you where you are. It is our hope at the NIIC that you will avail yourself of these resources when needed. Education is key to understanding your options and taking action.

While independence, drive and self-motivation are common traits among business builders, they can also prove to work against us. A form of self-care, asking for help can be a mixed bag at times. That’s because we know we may need to do it for our sanity. Yet, we also fear it exposes our vulnerabilities.

Still, there’s a lot to be gained in reaching out for support and assistance. Here are two reasons why asking for help can benefit you, your family and your organization.

Tap into the power of experience

Seeking help from an established business builder or an entrepreneurial support organization, like The NIIC, can prove to be a wise move. Regardless of the nature of the business, the foundations of entrepreneurship and best practices in business management are universal. Consulting with someone whom you respect can help you advance your ideas and sidestep potential potholes without having to make the same mistakes.

While you might equate asking for help with weakness, it can lead to much more than you might have considered. Growing your network is a byproduct of reaching out for support, encouragement and inspiration. That’s because sometimes the answer is found in talking with diverse people with differing perspectives. There is strength in numbers, and connecting to community-building resources is an essential pillar of building a sustainable business.

The reward here is not necessarily the result, but the process itself. Each contact you make can enrich your life and help you get closer to your goals.

Learn to listen

The best leaders know that listening is part and parcel of the job. Listening is a critical skill when building and growing a business. Taking a thoughtful “pause” (a time out of sorts) and engaging in reflective thinking often sets the condition for you to do better and smarter thinking and brainstorming around the business problem, pain and opportunity.

Asking for help hones active listening skills. What’s the point of seeking someone’s advice if you’re not going to thoughtfully consider it? It’s a waste of both of your time. Active listening demonstrates respect and intentionality. It also challenges you to see situations from someone else’s perspective. This can be precisely what we need when we feel stuck. Listening can also be what it takes to diffuse a tense situation with a customer, employee or vendor.

The bottom line here: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. See it as an opportunity to grow and learn!


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