It’s not because I’m particularly messed up or disadvantaged. I’m just as human as anyone, and we all have our challenges.

The question is what we DO about it.

Nobody wants to exhibit weakness. I get that. But part of maturing is to be able to admit fault and ask for help.

I’ve observed a strange thing about asking for help: Almost always, people appreciate being asked. It’s because you’re valuing their abilities and expertise. Let’s face it, that’s a nice little boost to the ego.

But there’s people who don’t seem to learn, and ask for the same help over and over.

Or who seem to want to take advantage of you in some way.

Or who haven’t convinced you that they really CARE about the help you provide.

I originally thought it strange that uttering the phrase, “We have a family emergency,” seemed to clear the way for all kinds of emotional support and help. My boss would say, “go take care of it and let me know how I can help.” Colleagues would take over my work in a heartbeat, no questions asked.

It’s because we all know how deeply we’d appreciate it if we were on the other side.

So go ahead and ask for help, support, and advice. Even of your employees, because they’ll like to know that they’re working for an actual human.

But learn from the experience. Don’t take advantage of them. And always express your sincere gratitude for what you’ve received.

THAT’S the kind of culture that does great things.