Asking for help is a skill my close friends and I suck at. It may be stubbornness, pride or maybe a “guy thing,” but when it’s time to ask for assistance from another, forget about it.

Last week, a close friend of mine chose to close his corporation due to the financial downturn and an unanticipated cash flow problem. He had employees. He had an appreciative client base. He had ridden his corporate dream for over 20 years.

Then yesterday, in short, emotional bursts, this friend described the business dilemma he had privately struggled with for months. What he had seen as a huge, insurmountable obstacle could have been overcome. He had alternatives. He had friends. And yet, something kept him from reaching out for help. Now, it was too late.

My friend’s situation made me think of a recent time at work when I had a tight deadline for a valued client. I needed to create a workbook for a specific population. I had completed similar tasks for many years but, in this particular instance, all my false starts and rewrites were going nowhere. I became moody and uptight – not the emotional stuff useful in creative expression.

Sensing my internal turmoil, two members of our production team stepped in and completed the project. No thanks to my stubbornness, a weight was lifted, a deadline was met. Rather than enthusiastic appreciation for their professional succor, I felt more guilt than exuberance. I should be smarter than that. Shouldn’t I?

Being self-sufficient is a good thing, but knowing when to call on willing supporters is a valuable skill. Perhaps my friends and I need to start a support group. I’ll brew the coffee. Along with anyone else who wants to help me.