The Power Of Asking For Help
Man is it not some of the craziest wacko times you have ever seen!?! We have the uncertain times of a virus, and then on top of that, we have the protests, destruction, and occupations taking place. I have always said that we need to pay attention to our surroundings, daily events, and be aware, but the reality is, most of the “noise” out there we can’t change. Reality is, almost all of us don’t have the answers. It’s confusing, and if focused on enough, it is well past overwhelming! So today, I put a twist on these times with the mindset of “we don’t know it all” and what can we do as individuals to keep anchored in tornadic times.
Leadership or as individuals, we often don’t have the answers, and many times if we think we do have the answer, we are likely wrong. I think back to mentoring a good number of veterinarians at this point, and I think back to a point in time of mentoring my now partner, back when he was an associate. We were discussing some business things and decisions to make, and I could see Dr. Ty was struggling with those things, and one day on the phone I realized the issue when he said, “I just wish there was an answer.” You see, in our world, as veterinarians, we are highly trained to have answers for just about anything medically related to animals. But, we aren’t trained for the answers when it comes to business and people. And that is the same for most formally educated people in our world today. We all can do what we were trained or educated to do, be it a teacher, a welder, an accountant, a loan officer, a coach, a salesperson, a chef, whatever it may be. But, we get into situations that go beyond our formal didactic education, in which we don’t have the answers. Be it on a strategic purchase of equipment to expand a service to offer, or a “people” challenge, or business transition to the next generation, or handling a crazy parent as a teacher or a coach, etc. We always have things come up in which we have a question, no book, no teacher has taught us the answer.
It was in Dr. Ty’s question of “I wish there was an answer, I wish there was a book, that lined out the steps one by one!” And I responded with, “There is no answer, there is no book to give us the answer.” The answer lies in one's own life experiences, one’s wisdom, one’s own continual lifelong learning and reading, but most importantly, the answer lies in one’s own ability to do this one thing. And this one thing is to ask for help! The answer lies in our ability to reach out to others for help, wisdom, and guidance. It lies in asking, “What do you think?”
Our ability to pick up the phone and reach out to an expert in where you are looking for help and a potential answer is one of our greatest unmet challenges. For me, I have never considered myself not that smart in going through school and especially vet school, as there were many people in my vet school class way smarter than I am. And it has been in that process of not being that smart, that I reached out for help many many times. In my early days of practice, I would call the vet school almost daily. Marsha, who worked at the vet school and would transfer incoming vet calls to clinicians, knew me every time I called because I called daily, and I never had to say my name. For feedyard questions, I called folks like Dr’s Dan Thomson, Mike Apley, Wade Taylor. For business-related questions, I called people like Rick Ball, Steve Sell, Jon Pope, Merlin Grimes. And when it came to these elusive people challenges, I felt I had no one to call, but I happen to stumble on to Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership book, conferences, and a team of people that took me to a whole nother level of knowledge. Or there are times when I simply need to ask my mom or my dad their thoughts or call my pastor for their thoughts.
The Power of Asking For Help has taken me to heights unforeseen. The power of asking for help 15-20 years ago, set up relationships that built trust, that then turned into more relationships, that then turned into further growth, development, and even business relationships. The power of reaching out, picking up a phone, and asking for help propelled me forward to continued points in time of where I wanted to be.
We can often feel alone in a decision or situation. We often feel like, “What in the hell do I do!” We often feel, “I don’t know what in the heck to do!” But there are people out there that can help you! You just have to “ask for help!” I teach this basic skill to veterinarians all the time because we are trained to have all the answers, but we don’t always have the answers, and our egos often don’t let us look for help outside of a book. Our egos don’t allow us to call for help from someone that may know more than we know. But it is in those very moments, that if we would simply pick up the phone, and ask for help, that our greatest advancements in life can occur if repeated, repeated, and repeated. Simply calling an expert in the area you are working on, and asking for help. You never know where one phone call could take you!
I am 43 years of age and have been a vet for almost 20 years, I have owned a practice for 15 years, I have consulted feedyards for almost 20 years, I have been married for almost 20 years, I have been a parent for almost 13 years, and I have questions daily on all the categories above, from vet questions, to practice ownership questions, to feedyard questions, to marriage questions, to raising kids questions, to questions about myself. And I have to ask for help almost daily! I don’t know it all! So I pick up the phone and I ask for help! Are you asking for help? Who are you asking for help from? Over the last 20 years, every single time I have called and asked for help, every single person has given me help, and every single person has offered more help. Just ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help!