Push & Pull

Asking for help is a skill, and you’re probably doing it wrong.


I’ve always split my time between design and development, and having both skills has been an amazing advantage so far.

But it did inhibit the development of another very important skill: knowing how to ask for help.

It’s not that I don’t see collaboration’s value. Ever since Christian joined me on Folyo, we’ve improved the app so much that I sometimes barely recognize it.

No, I was always looking for help. I just didn’t know how to ask for it.

Pull

When we need help, we tend to look for people ahead of us who can pull us to their level.

We reach out to that famous blogger with a huge audience, that senior developer with years of experiences, or that amazing designer with thousands of followers.

The problem is that the very reason these people are so successful is most likely because they’re extremely active and involved in multiple different projects. Meaning they won’t have time for yours.

If you’re lucky, you receive a brief yet polite reply wishing you the best of luck with your project, but explaining that their plate is full for the foreseeable future. Or, most likely, you never hear back at all.

Push

That’s exactly what happened to me for years, until I realized something.

Frontrunners are not the only ones who can give you a hand. People behind you can be just as helpful by pushing you forward.

A small-time blogger can still write a valuable review of your book. A novice programmer can still submit a simple pull request. All of this adds up.

And since you’re the one who’s ahead, you actually have something to offer to people: you can be the puller and help them get ahead, too.

Sure, part of it is about “paying it forward,” but I honestly believe it’s also in your own selfish best interest!

Push & Pull

So stop harassing that famous blogger who isn’t returning your call. Instead, reach out to the people around you and focus on strenghtening these ties.

If you keep at it, you’ll end up building a network so strong that no amount of push and pull will be able to wear it down.


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Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan

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