29 Apr 2017 16:34 IST

Don’t be afraid to send out distress signal

Be strong enough to seek help when in distress to succeed in life

May Day, marked on May 1, has fallen this year on a Monday. I am not sure about management institutes but professionals sure would have welcomed the long weekend. May Day is the International Worker’s Day or Labour Day. There is another aspect of May Day from a celebrations perspective, that pertains to a spring festival. However, these are not the focus of this article.

Mayday as a term is also the international distress call used over radio communication, mainly by aviators and mariners. The other term is S.O.S. which is used in Morse code. Although it has many interpretations such as ‘Save Our Soul’ or ‘Save our Ship’, in reality, it is based on the Morse code of three dashes followed by three dots and three dashes again. This article pertains to distress and making a distress call when needed at the appropriate time.

Making a distress call

It is a known fact that corporate life is stressful, and increasing competition and modern lifestyle are not doing anything to help reduce the stress. The constant urge to keep up with peers and project a lifestyle that reflects success, adds to this mental pressure.

It builds up over time and affects individuals in different ways, but in the end, it invariably affects people’s health. One common and very basic issue pertaining to stress is the fact that people rarely reach out for help. An appeal for help is perceived as a sign of weakness, which no one wants to display in this competitive world.

Reaching out

This trend of avoiding asking for help is dangerous, to say the least. I constantly wonder at which point in time a person stops seeking help when they need it. Even up to college, asking for guidance or advice is acceptable. Then suddenly, it transforms into something that means weakness. The thought of appearing strong, of being someone who knows everything and, by extension, needs no assistance, is sometimes so strong that a person hides it even from close family members.

Nothing to be ashamed of

In the larger scheme of things in life, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed about. This is a trait which needs to be developed and used judiciously. The reality is that no individual is so strong, all-knowing and powerful that they do not require any assistance or help. In fact, great leaders have often been open about the fact that they are not perfect and that seeking assistance is nothing to be ashamed about.

This aspect of seeking help in distress is even more crucial during the early years of a person’s career. One major mind block is the self delusion — that being a management graduate, they should not display any weakness. This perception is only reinforced by interview counselling, where a person is often taught to subtly talk about a weakness as if it weren’t really so. The underlying message is that you do not show your weakness — and by extension, do not ask for help.

Unless a person is strong and brave enough to accept their weakness and ask for help, they can never overcome them. Be strong enough to seek help when in distress to succeed in life.