Is Asking for Advice a Sign of Confidence or Weakness?

Rolling Nuggest Coach RyanMy daughter’s wheelchair basketball team was down by 20 points at halftime. The other team was running a press that her team just couldn’t break. The sideline parent commentators knew it, my 11-year-old daughter playing on her iPad knew it and everyone else in the gym knew it. But none of us had an answer to break it.

Then, at halftime something I had never seen happened.  Our team’s coach – a 20ish wheelchair basketball player himself – came across the court and sought out an advisor. That advisor and friend was a wounded warrior who also plays wheelchair basketball after suffering injuries in the war in Afghanistan.

“Do you have any advice?” our coach asked him, clearly referring to breaking the press. They talked for less than a minute. Then our coach quickly went back across the court and gathered the team for a pep talk and shared that advice with the team.

coach ryan 2I would love to report that we came back and won the game, but we didn’t.  We did have a better second half and made dramatic improvements, but that moment I saw struck me more than the outcome of the game.

Why don’t more of us ask for help when we need it? Ego or pride mainly, I suspect.

But I saw the exact opposite happen. When our coach asked for advice, I saw it as a sign of confidence.

Having the confidence to seek help is something our egos often don’t let us do.

My boss – Chuck Wielgus of USA Swimming – often refers to this as “being comfortable in your own skin.”

It means having the strength to know you have weaknesses. Confidence and bravado are not synonymous.

Allowing people to see vulnerabilities and welcoming in others to be part of the solution is confidence, not a lack of it.


Categories: Careers

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2 replies

  1. That was awesome Matt. What a great story! And what a great reminder to all of us.Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice blog – I have a story along these same lines that had me make a serious career change of course. Hadn’t thought of it until reading your blog.

    Sent from my iPhone

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