01 Feb The Second Best Gift You Can Give Someone: It May Surprise You!
Hello! Thanks again for joining me this week for a quick look at something that may never cross your mind, at least not in this way.
In a former article, we reviewed the first “Best Gift” you can give someone else: your trust. I hope you’ve found that helpful since it empowers relationships.
John and Julie Gottman, foremost researchers in the field of trust, write that trust and trustworthiness are the most important characteristics people want in a spouse or partner. They relate that in addition to being important in marriages and other intimate relationships, trust is essential to what makes human communities of all kinds work. In other words, without trust, there can be no meaningful connection between people.
The Second Best Gift you can give someone is to ask for their support. If you’re skeptical, we’ll dig deeper into what I mean. As the title of this article suggests, it may surprise you to see the importance of asking someone for their support.
The following happens when you ask someone for their assistance:
- You are letting them know that you trust they are capable of supporting you in a meaningful way.
- Your confidence in their ability to assist you increases that person’s sense of self-efficacy and value. These are at the heart of what we all want to experience.
Let’s look at what we mean by self-efficacy. Over the past 45 years, I’ve studied what is most important to most people in their relationships with others, regardless of age. At the top of the list, second only to knowing they are loved and respected, is seeing they can contribute and make a difference in someone else’s life. The bottom line is this: we all want to know that the world is a little better because we were in it. Therefore, asking for someone’s assistance speaks directly to that need.
In other words, asking someone for their support is as empowering to them as it is to you! It indicates that you believe they have what it takes to do it!
Some More About Self-Efficacy:
Self-efficacy refers to a person’s belief in their capacity to initiate behaviors necessary to produce specific, measurable results. Albert Bandura first coined it in the 1970s, and this way of looking at how we function has become an important psychological theory.
Self-efficacy reflects a person’s confidence in their ability to manage, for example, their behavior and what happens in their social environment. These self-evaluations influence all sorts of experiences, including the goals people pick, the amount of energy they expend to achieve the goal, the possibility that they will attain that goal, and the likelihood that they will be successful in supporting someone else to achieve their goals.
Behavioral science emphasizes the importance of self-efficacy at every stage of life, including as we age. Literature on self-efficacy suggests that remaining self-efficacious is essential to retaining our cognitive abilities over time.
How to Ask for Support
Before we look at the actual steps to take in eliciting support from others, I have a question for you:
Are you willing to allow someone to support you?
We have a social myth that successful people don’t need support, that asking for assistance reflects weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. People who are successful make it a point to ask for support as they make significant decisions, start an important project, or create a new product or service. They maintain relationships with people they know they can count on to help them move ahead.
Getting back to you, have you been struggling with an issue or idea without asking for assistance? You might think it’s too vulnerable to let someone else know what’s happening with you. Nothing could be further from the truth! So, if you’re willing, here’s one way to proceed:
- First, make a list of people you know who you’d accept support from. Look at your family, friends, business colleagues, or neighbors. Make sure you have at least three or four people. Take your time and dig deep if people don’t readily come to your mind.
- Look at one issue or dilemma you’re facing right now. Let me give you an example from my own life:
Have you ever had the urge to show up as being good at something you’ve done? For me, my self-image has always been one of being tech-savvy for my age, which is 80. But three weeks ago, I had a challenge.
As a volunteer responsible for contributing monthly stories to our club’s neighborhood journal, I didn’t know how to upload them to the site. After trying to do it, and despite my self-image, I asked a younger neighbor for help. She arrived with a warm smile, ready to guide me through the process.
I needed her assistance. I felt a massive sense of relief, and she kept telling me how happy she was that I’d called on her to help, offering her support with any similar project in the future. This experience taught me the power of asking for support and how it benefits both the giver and the receiver.
Are you ready to ask for support or help on a product, project, or service? Have you been working harder than you need to? If so, let’s continue with your instructions:
- After you’re clear about the issue, contact someone you know can help you.
- Let them know how much you’d appreciate their help.
- Arrange a time to meet, and after you do have the meeting, there’s one final thing you must promise yourself.
- Promise to take in what they have to say! At no point in the conversation should you give what we all call those “yes, but” answers.
- Take notes on what they’re saying. They’re taking the time to give you their best advice. Or, they’re helping you do something that you’ve been having a difficult time with.
- Remember: you’re allowing them to experience self-efficacy!
- And always let them know how much you appreciate the thoughts they’re sharing with you or what they’re doing for you.
- At some point, let them know in a short email, text, or card what happened due to their efforts on your behalf.
This is a simple process to read and think about. However, it may be more challenging to do. Especially if you, like me, have an image you’ve wanted to uphold! In the end, it’s a small price to pay for ease!