“Why is it so hard for most of us to ask for help?”
In working with clients for all sorts of services, they immediately responded with all kinds of excuses … and they all are Uncomfortably familiar.
Not only do I hear these excuses from clients all the time, but I often hear the same things in my own head!
THE REASONS WE DON’T ASK FOR HELP
I would be extremely shocked if you can honestly say you’ve never thought or even verbalized at least one of these excuses.
“I could really use Jane’s help with this, but I know how busy she is right now. I shouldn’t bother her. I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“I’ve got way too much on my plate right now, but I don’t want to burden other members of my team by delegating any of it.”
“I need to work harder to prove I’m capable of handling this. What’s wrong with me that I can’t do this on my own?
“I’m afraid I’ll look weak, unqualified, or even dumb if I ask for help. I should figure this out on my own so no one will know how much I’m struggling with this.”
The crazy thing about excuses is we convince ourselves that asking for help makes us inconsiderate, and shows that we’re not hard working or capable
There is only one thing all these reasons come down to, and that is just plain old FEAR! It’s scary to ask for help, to put yourself out there to be judged, ignored, laughed at, or rejected.
THE GREAT PARADOX
Having helped a multitude of others, I see how much people want to help others. We crave it as humans. To know that we’ve had an impact on someone’s life is the best feeling in the world!
In reality, my clients come to me because they are frustrated, feeling like they are inadequate, aren’t doing enough, and can’t make the difference they need/seek. They want to have positive outcomes and make an impact on others (especially those they love), but feel they just don’t know how?
So when you don’t ask for help, you’re actively blocking the people in your life from a potential sense of joy and fulfillment.
You can’t say, “I want to make a difference for others,” and never let others make a difference for you.
Imagine how sad your life would be if no one ever needed your help, guidance, advice, talent, love, or friendship. It would be a lonely, unfulfilling experience.
The greatest gift in life you can give someone is allowing them to help … allowing them to have a positive impact on your life.
And if you’re worried about looking “less than” or weak if you ask for help, realize this … most people will respect you when you ask for help, support, or feedback. Believe me, they will feel honored, flattered, validated, respected, loved and all kinds of things you would be robbing them of if you don’t ask.
Trying to do everything alone is a stressful, lonely place.
Two people are better than one, because they can reap more benefit from their labor.
WE’RE NOT MEANT TO GO IT ALONE
As humans, we’re social creatures, and we crave connection, collaboration, and support. It’s just how we’re wired. And yet, we keep ourselves stuck, isolated, and overwhelmed when we cut ourselves off from the help of others.
More than ever, in our history, we try to do everything on our own and it’s flat-out unnatural. It’s driving us crazy, making us unhealthy, and leading to a greater mass feeling of isolation than ever before.
I’m here to tell you: You’re not meant to do it all alone! In fact, it’s high time that we all embraced the fact that we simply can’t do it all alone. And what a relief that is!
Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help.
HOW TO MAKE ASKING FOR HELP FEEL BETTER
So, how can we ask for help in a way that feels better for us and for the other person?
If you’re wondering the same thing, here are a few ways to make the whole experience feel more like a win-win:
• Acknowledge their awesomeness. If you’re asking someone for help, advice, support, etc., it’s probably because you know they have something valuable to contribute. So let them know how amazing they are… Be honest about why you’ve chosen them as the best person to help. This is not about buttering them up. Don’t be fake, with forced compliments, but genuine, and give your heartfelt praise.
• Be specific about what you need. Even people who really want to help you will have a hard time saying yes if they’re not fully sure what you’re asking for. Do you want them to do a quick read-through of your cover letter before you hit “send” on a job application, or are you asking for a full-out intensive edit? Be clear and specific, and you’ll avoid lots of misinterpretations and resentment down the road.
• Give them an out. If you know someone is extremely busy or going through a tough time, it can feel even more uncomfortable to ask for their help. Sometimes, it can ease the pressure all around if you give them an out. Something as simple as, “I know you have a lot going on right now, so I completely understand if you can’t make time for this. No hard feelings!” They’ll be grateful for your acknowledgment … and that you gave them a choice.
• Appreciate their effort. This one is pretty obvious, but still worth saying. Once they’ve offered their help, be grateful and show it! As I said earlier, people love to know that they’re making a difference and a positive impact on someone, so share with them how much they’ve helped ease your burden.