When was the last time you asked for help, thinking it would be a sign of strength?

Or, to put it another way, have you ever felt empowered while asking for help?

Image: people placing their hands and feet in a circle

Source: Pexels

For a lot of us–myself included–asking for help is a remarkably difficult thing to do. Why is that?

A lot of the time fear of asking for help is really a fear of judgment. That slight twinge of, “What will the other person think of me if I need help?”

So, how do we get rid of that? Well, maybe it that starts with building our sense of compassion.

Today, on Ever Widening Circles (EWC) we are sharing with you a great TED Talk from Michele L. Sullivan. She is a world leader in philanthropic thinking and is Director of Corporate Social Innovation and President of the Caterpillar Foundation, Caterpillar Inc.’s philanthropic arm.

Based on insights from her life and her work, she shares her take on the old saying “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” and shows us how we can build the skills necessary to turn asking for help into a strength, not a weakness.

Via: TED 1

Take a second to absorb all of that. There’s a lot to take in!

“Instead of trying to walk in each other’s shoes, we must adopt a new way of giving of ourselves.”

So much of the “judgment” we feel from others is made up!

Our fear of seeming weak if we ask for help is a fictional story we have devised. In fact, we easily forget that we all have complexities in our lives and all of us need help.

28 minutes

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Not only does asking for help make us better in the moment, as Michele Sullivan points out, the more we ask for help, the more we build relationships with others and grow our own support systems!

Living non-judgementally can be hard, whether we are being non-judgemental of our selves or others. Overcoming our biases is tough, but vital to our collective success. The best part, it’s a way we can all contribute a better future!

I’ll leave you with the last quote from this great talk to serve as a personal motto:

“The only shoes you truly can walk in are your own… but we can do something better than that, with compassion, courage and understanding we can walk side by side and support one another.

Think about how society can change if we all do that instead of judging on only what you can see.”

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Enjoy the ideas of a few more thought leaders!

If you want to gather a few more pearls of wisdom from speakers like Michele L. Sullivan, jump over to our TED Talks Archive! There you will find all of our favorite TED Talks to soak in!

TED Talks on EWC!

Also, don’t forget to subscribe! It’s the best (free) way to get a daily dose of optimism delivered right to your inbox!


  1. Sullivan, Michele L. “Asking for Help Is a Strength, Not a Weakness | Michele L. Sullivan.”YouTube. TED, 12 Apr. 2017. Web. 16 July 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akiQuyhXR8o>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV