Making things is hard, you better learn to ask for help!

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Well this is the second time I have written this blog post about asking for help on projects.soldier-beer-its-a-trap

The first version did not survive Dervan’s scrutiny.

I wrote passionately about how asking for help is difficult, how it makes me feel uncomfortable as a man and as military officer because I have a can-do attitude. I tried to make interesting comparisons to mission command and submitting requests in the military. Pouring my heart on to the page, I felt that I had a great article, but I should practice what I preached, and asked my wife for some help editing the article.

When she handed it back to me, covered with written comments, I knew that I wasn’t going to publish that version.

Here are some highlights of her comments and feedback:

  • “Really?!”
  • “This is where I lost interest”
  • “No. Just No.”
  • “This is only half a thought”
  • “Huh?”

And my personal favorite

  • “This sentence is a bigger disaster than Hurricane Katrina”

To be fair, I asked her to be brutal in her critique, I just didn’t know she would go Genghis Khan on my blog post.

And you know what? I’m glad!

You would have hated that post, because it was crap!

It was full of run-on sentences, circular logic (she actually drew circles on the page), half completed ideas, and “rambling.”

Trust me, you really didn’t want to read that and that version, especially since it did nothing to show you why you should ask for help. But, this story about how she helped me realize how bad my first draft was and her assistance in crafting this much better version shows why asking for help results in a more entertaining product.

Instead of a poorly written blog post, you get a better write-up, and here is what I really wanted to share.

For me, asking for help is hard because it means that I can’t do it myself (something I do not like to admit) and I need someone else to stop what he or she are doing to for me to succeed.

Sometimes, you just have to get over those insecurities and get the help you need to achieve meaningful goals.

Building a business requires help. The act of building and delivering a product of is not a solitary pursuit. It involves conversation, communication, and interaction, a sharing of a human experience with family, friends, mentors, and of course, customers.

By learning to ask for help, we can build things much bigger than we ever could have alone.


(Bonus – Here is the original, abused article with comments)

(Double bonus – here is an amazing TED Talk by Amanda Palmer on the Art of asking.)

(Double Bonus – Here is the original, abused article with comments)

2 Responses to Making things is hard, you better learn to ask for help!

  1. Mike August 10, 2014 at 10:30 #

    Dervan’s editorial comments add legitimacy to your final product. My favorite parts of the pdf are the coffee stains and tear drops. You should bring her on as a guest one day.

  2. Matt Pagan August 28, 2014 at 01:30 #

    Haha solid Damian. The original is an awesome showcase of the process. I’m glad and appreciate you posted that. I just finished Art and Fear by David Bayles and would recommend it to a friend..

    PS – how much does your wife charge to edit?! Mil spouse freelance/startup service to edit posts… 🙂

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