The Case for Reaching Out

Reach out and touch someoneRemember that slogan for AT&T back in the ‘80s about reaching out and touching someone? You know, the one that encouraged customers to make long distance calls because life’s special moments and relationships are worth the long distance charges.  (If not, check it out HERE.)

Believe it or not, AT&T was actually onto something there.

Research shows that reaching out to others — especially when you need help with a problem — strengthens relationships and even causes others to view you as courageous.

Seriously.

Asking for help makes you look badass.

I bring this up because I find that so many of us in the legal arena are terrified of looking weak, helpless or stupid. In other words, we’re afraid of appearing vulnerable.

Am I right?

If you hesitate for even a second in your torts class, your professor is in your face with some follow-up comment, highlighting your unpreparedness.

If you don’t have an on-the-spot answer for your client, they’re totally going to fire you.

By asking your legal assistant for help, she will think you’re an overpaid slacker.

The research has shown that showing vulnerability is actually appreciated by others.

So maybe your torts professor will be ruthless when you admit you don’t know the answer, but your classmates will undoubtedly feel your pain and jump in to back you up if they can.

And your clients will appreciate that you’d rather call them back with the correct answer than spout off the first answer that comes to your vulnerability-fearing mind.

Your legal assistant will not only be more than happy to help you, but she will feel all the more comfortable asking you for help with the assignments you give her.

Will people always respond favorably? Of course not.

We’re dealing with humans and, therefore, are likely to encounter a butt-hole now and then.

Eff ‘em.  It’s not worth the exhaustion of trying to do or figure out everything by yourself.

Showing vulnerability, however, is worth the strengthened relationships and the perception that you’re one brave sonofabitch.

Be courageous by being vulnerable.

Inspire others to do the same.

It’s worth it.

Share in the comments or send me an e-mail about a time that someone responded favorably to your vulnerability.  I promise not to be a butt-hole.

(photo credit: pinterest happiness board)

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