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If you are stuck in a cubicle or trapped in an urban jungle, congested traffic and crowds are your daily obstacles. The beauty of obstacle course racing is that it gets you out of your everyday routine. Margaret Schlachter, the creator of the Dirt In Your Skirt blog, is one the leading competitors in obstacle course racing today. She put together this simple guide to make your obstacle race experience everything it's supposed to be—a test of your true self.

She describes firsthand her obstacle course training methods, including: Learning to climb a rope Scaling a wall Flipping a tire Throwing a spear Carrying a sandbag More importantly, she provides guidance on how to get yourself mentally and spiritually prepared for the big day—and how to dig deep within yourself during a race to find the last ounce of strength to carry you across that finish line. Every weekend thousands of competitors run obstacle races all over the world, including famous challenges like the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder.

Ginni Rometty IBM.

YOUR Mental Toughness Training Guide [updated ]

Let your workings remain a mystery. Just show people the results. Lao Tzu Click to tweet. One of the greatest satisfaction in life is creating something you truly believe in. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities. Debbie Millman. True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Jeff Bezos Amazon. When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Elon Musk Tesla. Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough. Be so ridiculously great at what you do that the world cannot help but give you an audience. Joubert Botha. Your income right now is a result of your standards, it is not the industry, it is not the economy. Tony Robbins. Get over it and crush it! The ability to concentrate and to use time well is everything. Lee Iacocca Ford Click to tweet. I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.

John D. If you only do thing where you know the answer in advance, your company goes away. The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory. Cicero Click to tweet. The clearer you are about the impact you want to have in the world, the less intimidating obstacles will look like. Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities. Charles Dickens. Bill Gates Microsoft.


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All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle. Nikola Tesla. The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions. They are not there to run us over. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Sometimes, you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you ever were.

Jim Kwik. No matter how much it hurts now, someday, you will look back and realize your struggles changed your life for the better. I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. Rockefeller Click to tweet.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. Louis Pasteur. Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure. Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.

I truly believe that in order to truly be great at something you have to give into a certain amount of madness. Joe Rogan. Confidence comes from experience. Experiences comes from trying and failing and trying again, this time better. Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success. Joyce Brothers. One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Arthur Ashe.

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It was there all the time. Anna Freud. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C. Albert Einstein Click to tweet. Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. Susan Wojcicki YouTube. If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success. The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion. Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.

Erica Jong Click to tweet. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor E. Remember: the promised land is on the other side. We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook. Fear is the biggest disability of all. And will paralyze you more than being in a wheelchair.

Conducting a DICE Assessment

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Arthur C. The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.

Be willing to sacrifice what you think you have today for the life that you want tomorrow. Neil Strauss. The only way to shut everybody up is to win. Terry Bradshaw Click to tweet. Goals are powerful motivators but they can also make you miserable. World-class daily habits are what you need. Fight Club. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits. Michael Phelps. Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

Jerry Rice Click to tweet. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it. Washington Irving. Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. Aristotle Click to tweet. Thomas Jefferson. Make your habits so specific and your dreams so inspiring that motivation will take care of itself. Consistent hard work gains success. Dwayne Johnson The Rock. Aldous Huxley. Do 40 hard minutes , not an hour and a half of nonsense.

Jason Statham. Jillian Michaels. The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. Arnold Schwarzenegger. People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Jim Rohn Click to tweet. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Dwayne Johnson The Rock Click to tweet.

Popularity games is what envious kids play. Long term learning games is what smart kids play. Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. The more that you read, the more things you will know. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Love, sacrifice, truth, and courage are virtues made actionable by grace. We may be disposed to do what is right; grace gives us the impetus to act upon doing it.

Grace then becomes the inspiration for treating individuals with generosity, respect, and compassion. It manifests itself as action in the name of others, and it energizes us to act upon our beliefs. To help us better understand grace and to help us intentionally apply it in our leadership, Baldoni explores grace from five perspectives with this acronym :. G is for Generosity : the will to do something for others. R is for Respect : the dignity of life and work. A is for Action : the mechanism for change. C is for Compassion : the concern for others. E is for Energy : the spirit that catalyzes us.

Gracious people give of themselves. Gracious people leverage who they are and what they have for the benefit of others. Gracious leaders share time, knowledge, and power. They cultivate a selfless approach to life. Generosity emanates from an abundance mindset. A selfless person, even in the midst of personal adversity, can find something to share with others.

That attitude is contagious. Self-awareness opens the door to respect for others. A fully self-aware person knows her faults as well as her strengths. Such awareness compels the self to acknowledge the dignity of others. Respect and self-respect fuel each other. They grow together. Grace is intentional. A reactive mind rarely manifests grace. While grace that has been shown to us comes freely, it requires effort for us to generate it ourselves. Grace means rising above a perceived slight. Grace is often manifested in clarity of purpose and civility.

Civility is a decision we make. They focus not on themselves, but on the needs of others—on healing. Gracious people have the capacity to forgive and show mercy. Gratitude enables compassion—both gratitude expressed and felt. We need to reframe our lives with a constant awareness of just how important feeling gratitude within ourselves is because it actually helps our overall well-being. Grace requires energy. In forgiveness, mercy, joy, and humor.

When we demonstrate grace in our leadership, it spills into other areas of our life as well because it is an approach to life. Our example encourages others to begin to think that way as well. Grace—in all of the dimensions Baldoni explores in this book—is a value that has fallen on hard times. It is time to revive it in our personal lives, in the workplace, social media, and in public discourse. Grace celebrates grace as well as advocates for it. Baldoni shares many examples of people from all walks of life who demonstrate grace in their lives.

They are an inspiration to us all. Grace reduces the space between us. Our environment often pushes us into negativity; into the differences between us. Grace intentionally overlooks the negative and leverages the positive. It finds the connection and promotes it. Baldoni breaks the often intangible idea of grace into down-to-earth actionable behaviors that we can all intentionally implement into our lives.

You will find a self-assessment tool of 20 questions to help you take an honest look at how much you have allowed grace to fill your thoughts and behaviors. Charles Fred initiated a study of over post-startup business to find out why, after they had experienced early growth, had stagnated. What the researchers found is a problem in the way employees approached their roles, solved problems, and interacted with each other; poor-performing firms showed working environments of intense stress. Our culture baits us into a non-stop frantic pace with the inevitable unintentional behaviors. Many leaders believe that they are just setting the bar for high performance.

So, when we require mental acuity, we experience diminished recall. When we need sharp thinking and problem-solving, our minds are full. Into this environment, Charles Fred introduces a leadership discipline that inserts pause and calls it The 24 Hour Rule. Pause is not a delay but a discipline. It allows us to control how we respond and react to others, whether it takes five seconds or 24 hours.

How to clean your post run gear. Idea from the book "Obstacle Race Training" by Margaret Schlachter

Most importantly, it does not delay our ambitions or dampen the need to hustle. Instead, we begin each day with unknown situations, variables well beyond our ability to plan and prepare. For these reasons, a leader must use self-discipline—the ability to mentally call a time-out, to get rest, to run through a checklist—despite overwhelming temptations to quickly react or respond without doing so.

It is the one thing we have complete control over. When we look at the highlight reel of successful people, it gives us the impression that they are always on—always producing. As we watch from the sidelines, we create for ourselves a false set of expectations.

We introduce unnecessary stress into our lives and work as we try to keep up. Top producers insert pause into their work. We need the self-discipline to do the same by letting go of a false ideal. The 24 Hour Rule is a well thought out and well-executed booklet. Fred provides three steps for building self-discipline around pause.

It is a quick read but one that is worth spending some time thinking about. Productivity is not about doing more faster. We undermine our potential when we try to do everything. Freedom to focus, Freedom to be present. Freedom to be spontaneous. Freedom to do nothing. To that end, Michael Hyatt presents in Free to Focus , 9 actions grouped into 3 steps. To start, you must stop. Formulate : What do you want your life to look like? What matters to you most. What does that look like for you?

Evaluate : Where are you now? What should you be doing? Evaluate what you do and could do based on two key criteria: passion and proficiency. The desire zone is where your passion and proficiency intersect and where you can make the greatest contribution. Obviously, this is where you want to be functioning most of the time. Hyatt adds a fifth zone called the Development Zone. This is an area where you are passionate about and developing a proficiency, or passionate about but not yet proficient.

We need to evaluate all of our tasks and place them in the appropriate zone. Rejuvenate : Make time to rejuvenate. We can increase the energy we direct at our why when we sleep, eat right, move, connect, play, reflect, and unplug. Eliminate : Every yes contains a no. Time is a zero-sum game. Then go find it. Delegate : Should I be doing this job at all? Tasks in your Drudgery and Disinterest Zones should be delegated. The items in your Distraction Zone may be harder to let loose of since you enjoy them even though you are not the most proficient at them.

Better to give them over to someone who can do them much better. If you have more than you can handle in your Desire Zone, you should look at delegating some of those too. So, while delegation does, in fact, take more time on the front end, it will save you an enormous amount of time every instance after that. Consolidate : Harness the power of MegaBatching. In those dedicated blocks of time, I truly am free to focus on the thing that matters most at that moment. Designate : Decide what needs to be done now and what can be done later. Plan your ideal week. Designate the what and when of your week and day.

Limit instant communications by turning off your notifications. Set boundaries by letting people know in advance that you are going offline for a period of time to focus. Use technology to block technology. Listen to the right background music. Take charge of your day. Free to Focus is one of the best books you will read in order to take control of your life.

You will find downloadable tools for each step of the process. H OW DO YOU stand out in your chosen occupation to get the respect, recognition, and opportunities you want and deserve, to achieve the success you want? Leadership and life are built on relationships.

Despite any talent or education you may have, your ability to work with and influence others is what will set you apart. You need a plan. Why am I here? You are not a victim. A specific purpose helps you also to align your actions to the purpose of others and your organization. It is nearly impossible to make good life choices with no self-awareness. A good place to get self-awareness is to watch the behavior of others. Often the behaviors that irritate you are mirrors of your own life. How do you impact others? Before you interact with others, begin by asking what is the desired result based on who I am, my purpose, and who I want to be?

We have an impact on everyone we meet. How do others perceive us? Is that our intent? Does it align with our purpose? The other part of the Conscious Success Model is how we differentiate ourselves. We have to be more proactive, more deliberate and consciously aware. This is conscious success. How am I presenting myself to others? Am I having the impact I really want to make? This, of course, speaks to having a healthy self-awareness.

Each of these differentiators as negative and a positive side. Either side will get you noticed. Avoid the side that will get you noticed for the wrong reasons. Differentiator 1: Authenticity. We mostly lack authenticity because we are trying to be what people want us to be in order to be accepted or popular. We are inauthentic to cover up for our insecurities.

Authenticity leads to trust. Consistency matters. Differentiator 2: Work Ethic and Personal Responsibility. Decide that you are percent responsible for what happens in your life and everyone else is 0 percent responsible. It might seem unrealistic to do this but deciding to be percent responsible forces you to move forward. Blaming and justifying limits options and percent to zero percent responsibility expands options.

Differentiator 3: Listening for Results and Connections. Ask questions with the intent of clarifying your understanding. Differentiator 4: Articulate for Impact. Closely related to differentiator 3 on listening is articulation. Have a good vocabulary. Before you speak, consider your emotional state.

Also, think about what your purpose is and what you are trying to convey. Differentiator 5: Humor. You can have a sense of humor, but it must be consistent with your image and what it is you want to accomplish. Differentiator 6: Gratitude. Gratitude is a choice we make each and every day. Having an attitude of gratitude gives you a positive outlook which makes you more attractive to others.

It takes commitment, focus, and a force of will.

The History of Road to the Horse

The Conscious Success Model provides a useful framework for not only differentiating yourself but creating a life that matters. The 9 Dimensions of Conscious Success is a great tool to put into the hands of anyone starting out in life. I N , Sir Isaac Newton presented three laws of motion. The first law is often referred to as the Law of Inertia. The law states that every object will remain at rest or continue in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.

In other words, things stay the way they are unless something comes along to disrupt them. This law has the power to make us or break us. And it is at work in our lives all day, every day whether we are conscious of it or not. When we kick a soccer ball, it heads in a specific direction until it is acted upon by a force greater than the force that is currently propelling it downfield. Like that soccer ball, our life is moving along a path that is taking us to a particular future intentionally or not. And we will continue along that path to its destination until we do something different.

Our intentions mean nothing. In other words, our will be just like our unless we exert a force to change our direction that is greater than comfort we enjoy by continuing to do what we have always done producing the same results again and again. No force, no change. Get on a new path. New actions will produce different results. For every cause, there is an effect. Today is connected to tomorrow.

Every action we take and everything we say is taking us somewhere. We just need to be sure we are on the path that is taking us where we want to go; a path that is taking us to the person we want to become. If we work harder than we did last year, then we will do better. If we sacrifice now, then we are investing in our future. If we reflect, then we will grow. If we improve our leadership, then people will follow us. If we are courageous, then we will inspire.

If we are curious, then we will learn. If we avoid the trappings of power, then we will stay connected with those we serve. If we surround ourselves with the right people, then we will be enriched and will lift others up. If we are authentic and humble, then we will build trust.

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If we work this law to our advantage, then we will eradicate regret. If we don't improve, then our circumstances won't improve either. Life naturally pushes us off-course and takes us on tangents. Anything meaningful in life is produced by moving upstream — against the current. We need to make some course corrections. We all do from time to time. Of course, this implies getting uncomfortable. As we look at our life, we all have directions that need to be changed. It helps to begin this process by asking ourselves questions and giving serious and honest thought to the answers.

What habits are holding me back? What three things do I want to accomplish by ? What does a good day look like? What routines keep me on track? Why do I do what I do? And most importantly, what am I grateful for? Then drill down into specific areas of your life:. Do I make time to study and grow spiritually? What habits are draining my time and attention? What activities replenish me? Am I taking time to relax and grow in other areas of interest?

Am I sleep deprived? Am I eating healthy and avoiding processed foods? What do I need to change in my diet in ? Am I exercising regularly? Am I drinking enough water? Is my morning and evening routine setting me up for my best day? Am I living within my means?

What is Mental Toughness?

How much do I want to make in ? What do I have to do to reach that amount? What weaknesses do I need to minimize?

Am I where I would like to be in my work or career? How can I increase the value I bring to work? What relationships are building me up? Are any relationships taking me off-track? Who do I take for granted? Do I support those around me? Do I support and encourage others? Do I focus on building others up? Do I make time for others? Where do I need to grow? What strengths do I need to improve on? What do I need to learn? What books do I need to read? What seminars do I need to attend?

What can I learn from the mistakes I made in ? The key to moving forward is the first step. Every destination needs to be broken down into incremental markers or indicators on the way to the destination. What is the first thing you need to do to get you moving in the right direction? As you begin, focus on the actions required and not the end result. A small step is easier than a leap. Once the first step is made, it is easier to continue down the right path to your desired destination. Leading Matters is about the journey.

The stories he tells here are revolve around the ten elements that shaped his journey and how he relied on these traits in pivotal moments. The elements are relevant to any leader at any level. As he observes, the higher up you go the crises just get bigger and come faster. He begins by discussing the foundational elements: humility, authenticity, service, and empathy. He then links them together with courage. Finally, he shows how collaboration, innovation, intellectual curiosity, storytelling, and creating change that lasts, helped him reach his goals.

Arrogance sees only strengths, ignores our weaknesses, and overlooks the strengths of others, therefore leaving us vulnerable to catastrophic mistakes. Authenticity and Trust. Authenticity is essential to building trust. Leadership as Service. If you take a leadership role as a step toward a personal goal of gathering ever-greater titles, awards, and salaries, you will never see true success in that role.

Recognize the service of others. As a leader it is easy to get wrapped up in big projects and ambitious initiatives, and, in the process, to forget the smaller, but no less important, individual acts of service taking place all around you. Much of that service supports and enables the widely celebrated success of others. Empathy should always be a factor in making decisions and setting goals. Empathy represents a crucial check on action—placing a deep understanding of and concern for the human condition next to data can lead to decisions that support the wellbeing of all.

Courage, on the other hand, compels a leader to take that right action. While many people can discern what is right and true, acting on that discernment is more difficult. Even if risk-taking is against your nature, for the good of your organization, you must find the courage to practice it. Collaboration and Teamwork. Certain ground rules circumvented interteam rivalries. First of all, I reminded everyone of our shared goal: we wanted to achieve something great. This led to my final ground rule: team members must be treated with the utmost respect.

Innovation presents great opportunities for smart entrepreneurs, not the other way around. Intellectual Curiosity. Beyond personal enjoyment, though, this lifelong curiosity has served me well in my career. It has enabled me to engage in meaningful dialog about the world and its future. In challenging moments, great leaders show their true character. If you really want to inspire a team to action, best to engage them with a story. Once they become receptive—once they can imagine themselves as part of your vision—you can back your story up with facts and figures.

When you turn that dream into a vivid story, you make it so attractive and so real that people will want to share it with you by joining your team. When it came time to respond to change, these companies moved quickly and efficiently, because every employee already understood the company identity and therefore knew how to respond without direct coaching. In every profession and career, as we climb to higher leadership positions, the role of facts and data decreases. Any one of them has the potential to derail even the best of leaders. While they may creep up on us, we can see them coming and apply the proper antidote.

And even though these seven challenges never really go away, we can create some life habits that keep them at bay. Nieuwhof writes from a been-there-done-that Christian perspective about the issues as they manifest themselves in our lives and follows up each one with a chapter on how to combat it. These issues affect everyone and some you'll find hit close to home. Cynicism Disappointment and frustration often end in cynicism.

Ask them and they know all about it. It may get us in the door, but character is what determines how far we go. Technology just makes it worse.

Learning to Lead with Ron Williams

Eliminate hurry from your life. And this comment could pull any of us up short:. For me, the sense that a conversation is going nowhere always carries with it an underpinning of judgment and even arrogance on my part. Which, of course, should drive me right back to my knees in confession. Irrelevance Irrelevance happens when what you do no longer connects to the culture and the people around you.

That gap is a factor of how fast things change relative to you. Change staves off irrelevance. Get radical about change. Surround yourself with younger people. Seek change to transform you. Burnout Burnout saps the meaning and wonder out of life. Signs of burnout include among other things: your passion fades, you no longer feel your highs and lows, little things make you disproportionately emotional, everybody drains you, nothing satisfies you, and your productivity drops.

Getting out of this state begins by admitting it and then figuring out how to live today so you will thrive tomorrow. What does that look like? Nieuwhof recommends some concrete steps you can take to bring you back from burnout. Go deep enough and take enough time to recover so that you begin to feel gratitude for the process. Emptiness Ironically, success often makes you feel empty. Humility will win you what pride never will: the affection of others. Other people naturally gravitate toward people who live for a cause beyond themselves.

The practical advice found here will benefit anyone on their leadership journey. Without it we tend to be reactive, disengaged, an unimaginative. The more conscious we are, the faster we adapt, and the higher performing we become. Bob Rosen and Emma-Kate Swann wrote Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life , because they believe that becoming more conscious is critical in our increasingly disruptive and accelerating world.

Driven by the need to be right, those obsessed with being smart tend to hoard knowledge, externalize blame, and mismanage relationships and risks. This sabotages our ability to thrive in a constantly changing world. As a result, we stay stuck, biased, and reactive. Staying small and never stepping up is sure to lead to regrets and will undermine your highest potential.

Harness the power of introspection by getting to know who you are, where you come from, and why you act the way you do. Get curious and adaptive: deal with complexity and paradox by learning how to expand your mind, leverage your relationships and networks, and overcome unconscious biases. Become more honest and intentional in leadership and life, overcoming the pitfalls of being too safe and cautious while embracing reality. Act boldly and responsibly to reach your highest potential: how to champion your higher purpose, stretch people in constructive ways, and be generous in your relationships.

To lead change you need a conscious mindset. If we are going to create change, we have to begin with ourselves. That requires that we become more conscious of what pushes us forward—our Accelerators —and what holds us back—our Hijackers. Accelerators like courage, drive or determination, deliberate practice, resilience, and vulnerability, drive us forward. Hijackers like self-criticism, cynicism, controlling behavior, aloofness or disengagement, and hyper-competitiveness, hold us back.

It is important to know how these things impact your performance and constructively use them or deal with them. There are many things that conspire to throw us off-course. Knowing who you want to be in the world and remembering your purpose, will help you to manage these issues and keep you on course.

The more conscious we are the less drama we will experience in our lives. Another consequence of being conscious is to be civil. Acts of civility are the small sacrifices we make for the good of all and the sake of harmoniously living and working together. Barack Obama because "he's an Arab. He's a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. Conscious unleashes our full potential as human beings.

By expanding our minds, enriching our experiences, and shaping our destinies, we discover our purpose in life. Being conscious enables us to approach life as a journey. Equipped with everything we need—an open mind and heart, confidence and resilience, and our capacity for greater consciousness—we embrace the uncertainty of life.

Conscious is the accelerator for effective change. Asking for help makes most of us uncomfortable and we often go to great lengths to avoid doing it. We fear rejection. We fear that people we think less of us. But the truth is we need the help and support of others to succeed. To be sure, leadership is fundamentally about asking people for help.