Asking for help is a key to success. That's why Steve Jobs believed in the power of asking for help.
"I've never found anybody that didn't want to help me if I asked them for help," Jobs said. "[Yet] most people never ask, and that's what separates, sometimes, the people who do things from the people who just dream about them."
Even so: Asking for help is hard. It can make you feel vulnerable. Insecure. In some way "less than."
But what if, instead of having to sum up the courage to ask, help was freely volunteered?
That's what fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg does.
Arguably best known for her iconic wrap dress, von Furstenberg is the founder and chairman of luxury lifestyle brand DVF, a brand sold in over 100 countries with over 800 points of distribution, including more than 100 owned and partnered stores around the world.
Clearly she's busy -- yet the first email she sends every day has nothing to do with running her fashion empire.
Instead, as she told Dan Roth on the LinkedIn podcast This Is Working:
... the first email I (send) every morning is something that doesn't benefit me.
I may introduce you to this person and I don't have to speak, I don't have to leave a message... I can do it all through email by connecting these people.
And I can change one person's life with so little effort, but that's the beauty of generosity.
It doesn't always have to be about giving money. It's just paying attention to others and trying to solve people's problems.
Of course her motives aren't totally altruistic. Research shows that being a giver at work makes individuals more successful. Building a giving culture makes an organization more successful, improving employee retention, engagement, and efficiency, as well as customer satisfaction.
As often happens with giving, von Furstenberg may eventually benefit. By helping other people, "It comes back to you," she says.
"You just did a big, huge favor for somebody... and something happens and you need that person. That's the magic of connecting and paying attention."
But what von Furstenberg calls the "boomerang" effect of giving really isn't the point.
When you get to help someone else, when someone helps you... success builds greater success. Momentum builds greater momentum.
Generosity builds even more generosity -- because generosity is contagious.
For a few minutes every morning, don't think about what you need to get done. Don't think about what you need from others.
Focus, just for a few minutes, on what you can provide. Give before you receive, knowing you may never receive.
Not because you're expected to... but simply because you can.
If nothing else, you'll start each day having made a difference in someone else's life.
And feeling a little better about yourself, too.
Can't beat that.