Help!

I need somebody
(Help!) not just anybody
(Help!) you know I need someone
Help!

The opening lyrics to The Beatles hit, “Help” takes on one of the most problematic mental toughness myths: asking for help means you are weak.  

In fact, it’s more than just the opening lyrics, the entire song tackles the myth. Take a look:

I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured (but now these days are gone)
(And now I find) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?
And now my life has changed in oh so many ways (and now my life has changed)
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure (I know that I)
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

Many people want everyone to believe that they were born in a log cabin they built themselves. Here’s the problem with that mentality–it’s impossible. Think about what you have eaten today. You had help from hundreds of people to get that meal (the cook, the farmers, the production line, the grocerers, etc.). You simply cannot go through life without help. We need relationships. We need other people to help us get through life. No one gets anywhere alone.

So why do we want to believe the myth that asking for help displays weakness? Because it allows us to believe that we are superhuman. That we’re special. We’re superheroes in our story and destined for greatness at every turn. The myth creates a default future that means our path to greatness will be easy. But, you will find out as you move through life, helps is needed at almost every turn.

When it comes to mental fitness and mental health, the critics are even harder to silence.

“Asking for your help with your mental fitness means you are really soft and really weak.”
“If you need medication for your mental health then you’re really weak.”

It’s ironic to me that asking for help for in some of the harder situations of life like mental illness means you are weak. No one thinks that about diabetics who need insulin, or someone who takes meds for acid reflux. 

The truth is, the higher you climb, the more help you need, because details matter even more. If you don’t seek help, odds are you’re likely to feel more isolated, a feeling no one battling situations wants.

Michael Phelps, one of the greatest athletes ever, talks about the specific challenges he faced after the Olympics and how he asked for help (and if you think he is weak, you are delusional). 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-phelps-reveals-he-suffered-from-depression-thought-about-killing-himself-after-olympics/

Let’s circle back on the Beatles song conclusion tells us what happens when we accept help. 

But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured (but now these days are gone)
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors
And now my life has changed in oh so many ways (and now my life has changed)

Nearly every time I ask for help, I find that I learn, grow, and find a new perspective.  You can too.  Accept your fear and the vulnerability that comes with asking for help.  Afterall, sometimes asking for help holds the key to better performance.