Broken Records in 2021

December 21, 2021

I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to asking for help, but I am excited to say that in 2021 *you* broke records.

I’ll explain what I mean, but before I do, let me explore something. 

There are many ways to *resist* asking for help. 

There are those who never ask for help; those who only want to give help but never ask; those who surreptitiously ask when no one’s looking (or listening); those who do it sometimes, but not others; those who think it’s a burden on others to ask; and those who are too busy to think what their questions may be, or too busy to ask.

Interestingly, while new ways of *not* asking for help are being invented every day, I’ve noticed there is one pattern – a single song – that everyone sings once they decide to ask. 

What’s this song?

It’s a chant really.

And once people decide to ask, it becomes a mantra.

It goes like this:

Ask for help. Ask for help. Ask for help. 

Take Samantha, for example.

She joined two years ago and like many she resisted asking for help at first. 

Yesterday, however, she called excited to tell me she got promoted.  

She had asked her boss, her boss’ boss, and another executive for help in making it happen and it had worked. 


Asking for help has become a big hit with her and it has expanded her sense of what is possible for her career and company.

She now chants this song all the time.

Or take another member, Richard who has been a member for more than 10 years. Last year, after he was laid off, he started asking for help. A switch flipped in his brain.

He reached out and I walked him through the methodology of my forthcoming book, Never Search Alone

He did everything. 

He asked peer job seekers to join him in forming a Job Search Council, he then went out to the marketplace to ask for help to figure out his candidate-market fit, and finally he asked for help to interview and negotiate better than he’s ever done before. 

He now has the best job he’s ever had and is already in line for a promotion.

My team and I have worked the last 2 decades to help everyone learn the asking-for-help song.

Here’s one key thing we have discovered: if you *initiate* asking for help on your own, then that raises the probability you will join the choir.

So we closely track how many of you *initiate* asking for help.

The AFH (asking for help) metric reflects the percentage of CG members who initiated asking for help at least once this year (note: we “farm” a lot of questions by asking you what you need help with and we’ll continue that important work).

In 2022, you broke all AFH records. 

*63%* of you initiated at least one request – nearly two thirds.


To put that number into context, this annual metric has stayed around 15%. 




And I’ve seen this in the outcomes. 

Many of you asked for help and then went on to use that help to build better companies, products, teams, and delight more customers this year.

Many of you got help to navigate internal politics in a positive way that led to positive change. 

Many of you got promoted. 

Many of you landed great new jobs and negotiated compensation, budget and resources. 

So, as you go into this holiday break, be proud of creating this counter-cultural community where smart, ambitious, accomplished leaders like you learn to chant this humble life-changing song of asking for help.

And on New Year’s Eve chant with me: 

Ask for help.

Ask for help.

Ask for help.



P.S. our office is closed from Christmas Eve through January 2 (back open Mon, Jan 3). If you need help during that time, just email me and we’ll figure it out!

About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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