What's So Difficult About Asking For Help?
We struggle to get things done, we have unanswered questions and yet asking for help seems to be a difficult step to take. Why? Is it really a sign of weakness (as some think) or a sign of maturity?
Here are some common barriers to asking for help but no doubt you have more to add to the list:
Getting Past Pride - Thinking or believing you can or 'should' be able to do everything is likely to leave you drained and unhappy. Being a superwoman (or man) is not about doing everything on your own. The wise superheroes have sidekicks for a reason!
Getting Out Of Your Own Way (by acknowledging your worth) - Feeling guilty about asking for help is yet another barrier. What will people think? Does it expose my underbelly? Will people think I am incapable? I have traversed down this road enough times to know that once you realise your worth you are only too happy to ask for help when you need it!
The Asking Itself - Sometimes finding the right words to ask for the help you need is a challenge so it is essential to be clear on what the issue is, what you need to resolve it, who the right person or people are to ask and what they need to know to better understand your challenge in order to see how they can help.
Tips When Asking For Help
- Write out what it is you want or need to do, where you can see the need for help, the type of help and who is best placed to help you in that situation. Ensure it includes what you really need (not what you 'think' you need), and if it is around finance/borrowing, be prepared to provide an outline of when and how you will pay it back if that is the case.
- Ask for help! Do not expect people to read your mind. You've heard the expression 'Don't ask, don't get'... it's a truth! If you've taken the time to prepare as noted above then asking is the natural next step.
- Make time to ask. Avoid just picking up the phone and rambling on. Request a convenient time to discuss the topic with the right people and provide them with sufficient information for them to know what the meeting or booked call is about.
- Don't go around the houses. No one likes to feel their time is being wasted. Get to the point whilst providing sufficient information to those being asked so that they can come to a decision.
- Record the responses on paper . Note who can do what and when. This ensures you go away knowing exactly who can help and how, who you need to follow up with and who you need to leave alone!
Do not be disheartened if someone refuses to help. They may have very valid reasons that they do not wish to share... Thank them for their time and then think of others in your network who may be in a better position to assist you.
It's okay to ask for help. Those who can and want to will and those who can't will tell you. The important thing is that you do not hold a grudge for those who say 'no'; it's an 'obligation free' request.
And remember you may be the recipient of a call for help too!
"The difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist."