Elton John recently posted: “29 years ago today [January 27] I was a broken man. I finally summoned the courage to say three words that would change my life: ‘I need help.’” As a result, he has been sober for nearly three decades and continues to inspire others with his charity work and music.

John’s plea for help was on a significant scale, but people are challenged to request assistance for far less. People don’t want to admit when they are depressed, overwhelmed, or scared – and as a result, solider on carrying their burden alone. Even asks for small assists, such as help with a project, aid in making dinner or help in processing through a problem seem like they are impositions rather than strength-building activities.

Asking for help allows us to develop relational bonds with others, lightens our load, teaches us new things and, as in John’s case, can literally save our lives. Your ask doesn’t have to be monumental, but the next time the going gets tough summon the courage to say those three magic words.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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