Jerry Maguire; Ask For Help Without Being a Pest
By, Jessica Sitomer
Jerry Maguire, a sports agent, knows he can take Rod Tidwell, an NFL player with a huge ego, a bad attitude, and on the borderline of being released and turn his career around to be a successful, inspirational, role model with a lucrative contract. In order to do this he asks, no he begs, Rod to, “Help me to help you.” In this infamous scene Rod goes on to mock Jerry for about 2 minutes, “Help me to help you… help me to help you…” Bottom line, when Rod finally put his ego aside and allowed Jerry to help him, embracing his advice, Jerry delivered everything he promised.
Do you have obstacles around asking people for help? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve worked with hundreds of people who resist my coaching to ask others for help. The reasons range from: “I don’t want anyone to know I need help” and “ I don’t want to bother them” to “Why would they want to help me?” and “People don’t want to help.”
Let me explain what these “reasons” are in no uncertain terms: Career Sabotage! Everyone in every profession needs help to get to the next level. The most successful CEOs need the help of employees at different levels to fulfill their customers’ needs. So what makes ‘you’ the one person who no one wants to help, should know-it-all, and be able to do it all by yourself? Can you see how ridiculous that is now that you’re reading it in print? If you’re not where you want to be in your career you need help! And guess what? Everyone you’re afraid to ask for help needs help too, and has asked for it numerous times in his or her career.
If I could put it on a bumper sticker it would read, “Asking for Help… Everybody’s doing it!”
Answer these questions for yourself:
1. Do you want to know what successful people who do what you do did to achieve their success?
2. Do you want to ask successful friends in the industry for help with an introduction to someone, a set visit, or recommendation for a job?
3. Do you want to ask your contacts for work when you are so close to reaching your hours for benefits?
4. Do you want to ask business associates for help getting into industry parties, social events, or charity events?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it is absolutely possible to do without looking like an amateur, being a pest, or threatening an important relationship. Here are some tips:
1. Get clear on the help you want.
2. Ask yourself, “Is this something this person can say yes to?” Put yourself in his or her shoes to answer this honestly. They may not be able to say yes to work, but they may be able to bring you on the set and introduce you to people.
3. Once you have a request (that’s the business term for asking for help), write it down in a business-like fashion. The key to avoid being a pest, seeming amateurish, or threatening a relationship, is to be crystal clear that this is a business request and they can say, yes, no, or give you a counter offer.
4. Determine what you have to offer in return. As I wrote earlier, they need help too. Can you connect them with someone? Can you recommend them on LinkedIn? Can you offer to work for free on a project for them?
5. NOW, it’s time to ask! You can do it in person, by phone, by email, or any other way you see fit. You may want to practice out loud if you’ll be speaking to the person. You may want to get feedback on your email if you’re going to be writing to the person.
6. Once the person says yes and gives you the help you want, be sure to show your appreciation.
Remember, Rod had to let his ego take a back seat, change his attitude, and be willing to accept Jerry’s help. If you haven’t seen the movie, I can tell you, it paid off!
1. Make a list of 3 things you want help with
2. Write down 5 people to whom you want to request help
3. Follow the 6 steps and help your contacts to help you
4. Watch Jerry Maguire for some fun inspiration
Asking for help is a professional necessity. Jerry, knew Rod needed his help and begged him to accept it. Not everyone gets so lucky. You have to ask to make it happen for yourself.