Steve Jobs is a man who set extremely high expectations. He challenged other people to work harder, longer and do a lot more. Sometimes more than they thought it is actually possible.
Steve Jobs was actually a demanding man. He also believed in the power of asking.
When I was 12 years old, I called up Bill Hewlett and I said: “Hi, my name is Steve Jobs. I’m 12 years old and I’m high school student. I want to build a frequency counter. I was wondering if you maybe have some spare parts which I could have.” Hewlett laughed at me, but he gave me the spare parts. He also gave me a job that summer at Hewlett-Packard. I was in heaven.
I have never met a person who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people asked me, I always try to be responsive, in order to pay that debt of gratitude back.
There are a lot of people who never pick up the phone and call. There are also people who never ask, and that is what separates, sometimes, the people who do things from those who just dream of doing them.”
Steve Jobs says that usually, it is not very easy to ask for help. Because asking can make people feel insecure, as well as vulnerable. But oddly enough, he says that it is a good thing.
When we are asking for help, without adding some qualifiers or image enhancers, when we just say “Can you help me?” several powerful things can happen, especially for the other person, such as:
You show respect:
Without actually saying it, you have said to the other person: “You know more than I do.” You’ve said, “You can do what I can’t.” You’ve said, “You have experience [or talents or something] that I don’t have.” You have simply said, “I respect you.”
You show trust:
You show vulnerability, as well as admit to weakness. You simply show the other person that you trust him/her with that knowledge.
You show that you are willing to listen:
By this, you have said: “You don’t need to tell me what you think I want to hear, but simply tell me what you think I should do.”
When we show respect and when we trust other people, as well as by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise of knowledge, we don’t just get the help which we think we want.
We may also get the help that we really need. We get more — a lot more. But not only we, there are also other people who get something. They gain a true sense of satisfaction. A pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they — and everyone — deserve. Plus, we will make it easier for them to ask for help when they will need it. We have shown to them that it’s OK to express vulnerability. It’s okay to admit weakness and to know when we need help.
And of course, the best of all is that you will have to say two more incredibly powerful words:
Also, you have to truly mean them.