It happens to all of us at some point in our efforts to create a radical change or industry disruption. We hit a wall, run out of finances or stuggle to get that big sale. As much as we want to finish, we get discouraged and feel like quitting.
At your lowest point, who do ask for help?
In a previous post, I discussed 5 ways friends prevent us from creating a disruption. In this article we reverse it and ask, “Who do you ask for help when you feel like quitting?”
I learned an important lesson in asking for help this last Saturday that illustra.
I’m on a quest to do what I never thought I could do – run a marathon. Six years ago my wfie and I started running 5K races and realized that we were not competing to win but seriously slower runners who wanted to do what they had never done. We trained and did one race the first year and three the second. Then two years ago, I found my rythmn and was inspired to see how far and how fast I could run. So we stepped it up, ran a 10K and were pleased with our results. Since that worked, we figured we might as well push farther, training and running a 15K. The first one went pretty well so we ran two more, each time able to finish.
But I was frustrated. I knew I could do better, running the entire course instead of having to walk several times. While walking is acceptable in the amateur running world, I was wanted better results.
Last Saturdy, while running the Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, I set my goal and started the run determined to see how far I could go. The 3 mile mark came quickly as did mile 4 and 5. Mile 6 was especially pleased since I had never run that far without walking. How far could I go? Could I make the entire 9.34 miles?
About mile 7 my legs started to ache and my lungs started to burn. That is when I heard the previsous conversations with my wife, “Run to the next corner. You can make it that far.” I played those mind games with her voice in my head. By the time I saw mile marker 8, I needed something more, hearing my friend and part time trainer Eric Wilson saying, “Come on buddy, you can take one more step. Just one more step.” One step at a time, I pushed to keep going. I could feel the blisters on both big toes, my legs aching and drinking more water, hoping for more energy. But it was a struggle to keep going.
There was this loud voice in my head that said, “You have already surpassed your personal best, there is nothing wrong with walking. Besides, your wife is doing a run/walk method. There is no shame in quitting now. You have already accomplished more than you had.”
But I knew I couldn’t quit. I had come too far. I needed to rely on my team, if they were only in my head.
But that voice keep talking to me, “‘just let up. Walk. Don’t kill yourself.”
“No, I have gone too far to quit now.”
But each step was painful, actually excruciating. I struggled to take even one more step.
“Why are you doing this? You aren’t going to win. What is the difference?”
I put my head down, listened to my music and trying to drown out that quitter in my head. Step after excruciating step, I put one foot in front of the other.
“Is this really worth it? “
“I have to do this. I can’t quit.”
The argument was getting louder and louder in my head when the 8 mile marker came and went.
At about 8.5 miles, I came alongside a younger man who said, “Looks like we are a little over an 11 minute mile.”
“I’ll take it.” Having another person to talk to helped distract me from the pain and that quitter voice.
But a quarter mile later, my legs and lungs were listening to that negative voice. That is when I knew I had to do something I had never done before in running. I turned to that younger man and said, “Can I ask you to help me?”
“I’ve have never run an entire 15K without walking but my legs and lungs are killing me. Can you talk me through to the finish?”
“No problem. If I can make it you can.”
“9 miles, just 3 tenths to go. We are almost there.”
“The finish line is just around this corner. You are going to do it.”
“There it is, about 100 yards. We are going to do it. Keep going.”
“We did it! We did it!” His last words of encouragement carried me across that desired finish line.
“Thanks, I couldn’t have done it without you. I would have quit.” I expressed my deep satisfaction for his help.
“Actually, by helping you, you helped me. I’m not sure I could have done it either.”
In any venture to push ourselves farther and faster, creating that radical change, we have times werhe we need help. But we have to to ask for it. Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Rodgers says in 10 Minutes of Insanity that he had to learn that important lesson early in his college carrer. He was so independent and used to performing on his own that asking for help was difficult. He soon learned that asking helped him push through to greater success. On Saturday, I could have quit but by asking this stranger for help, both of us went farther than we would have on our own.
As aspiring and emerging leaders determined to disrupt, come alongside those that you can ask for help when you are at your weakest moment. Instead of silently settling for lesser results, ask them to help you stay strong. In the process, you help them finish strong.
Last Satuday I set a personal best time but there was something even more important. I found how willing the running community is to help each other. Each of us struggles and others are glad to help. After all, we aren’t competing with each other but rather to improve ourselves. Asking for help makes all of us stronger.
Be Decisive and Determined to Disrupt
Become the Disruptive Leader who is Willing to Ask For Help
I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I develop disruptive leaders from their positions in Human Resources, Management or as Entrepreneurs. If you are looking to leverage your power in the Connection Economy and need some help, contact me today.
Checkout my online leadership platform. Power University
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(c) Murfield International, Inc. 2017