We all need help from time to time. Whether it’s a crisis, a minor problem or something we’re having difficulty doing, reaching out and asking for assistance makes our life much easier, smoother and less stressful. Yet so many of us are hesitant to ask and feel uncomfortable when asking for help.
We don’t want to admit we’re not able to cope with our situation. We’re afraid of being seen as a burden, or we’re fiercely independent (or proud) and see asking for help as a sign of weakness. After all, “don’t worry; I’ll figure it out” is a phrase many of us have said countless times.
There is nothing wrong with being self-reliant and standing on your own two feet. However, the reality is, we all need a little help from time to time and there’s no shame in seeking help.
You don’t need to have it together all the time, and it’s perfectly fine to lean on those around you when you’re having difficulty with something or are overwhelmed. Sometimes, all it takes is reaching out to a friend, colleague, or professional to get the assistance or support you need.
Remember asking for assistance and seeking advice never implies ‘weakness’ – in fact, it takes real strength to be able to acknowledge that you don’t know everything and cannot do everything (and neither does/can anyone else). Instead, you have the wisdom to recognize and accept your limitations and realize that having an extra pair of eyes or ears can open up new solutions and possibilities!
If you need help, asking for it is the most direct and reasonable way to get it. Whether you are overwhelmed at work, not feeling quite yourself, or trying to learn something new, asking for help could change your life.
If you are ready to get comfortable asking for help, then check out these ten tips:
1) Be Specific About What You Need
You will find it significantly easier to ask for help when you know what you need. If you can’t convey what you need, it’s naturally harder to ask for help. Think about what you need in the most specific terms possible. If you need someone to proofread your article, don’t just ask for “help with my article” – ask for “feedback on my grammar and sentence structure.” This will help the other person figure out how to best help you and if they are up to your request.
Plus, it saves everyone time and keeps misunderstandings at bay.
2) Identify What Kind of Help You Need
When we’re facing struggles, it can be hard to figure out what we need in order to feel better or manage the situation we’re in. Do we just need someone to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on? Or do we need someone to dish out some no-nonsense advice that’ll help us get back on track? Maybe what we’re really after is a practical solution to a pesky problem that just won’t budge.
Whatever kind of help you need, it’s important to identify it so that you can move forward confidently in the right direction. So, take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, and start figuring out what kind of support would help you feel the most empowered and at peace.
3) Know Who To Ask
We all have things we’re good at and others we struggle with. Luckily, we live in a world where resources are aplenty.
Think about who might be able to help, and who would be best suited for the task. Don’t just ask anyone—make sure you find someone who is knowledgeable and has experience in the area where you need help and reach out to them for advice.
Whether it’s career advice, help with a work project, or a personal challenge there’s bound to be someone out there who is able to help you. And…you might just be surprised at how willing people are to share their knowledge with those who ask because helping someone isn’t a burden but rather rewarding in its own right. So go ahead, reach out to someone who can assist you or help you learn and grow.
4) Explain Why You’re Asking For Help
Give your potential helper some context about why you are reaching out. Explain the situation in detail, and let them know why their help would be beneficial.
5) How Do Your Peers Ask for Help
Have you ever been asked for help? How did those people ask you? Did you find yourself more willing to accept a certain approach? Reflecting on how people have successfully asked you for help will make it easier for you to create your approach. This helps you to be more confident and comfortable when asking for help.
6) You Need to Ask for Help to Make Progress and Grow
If you want to grow personally, have fulfilling relationships, enjoy a wildly successful career and have aspirations for your business’ development, you need to be able to ask for help in order to achieve these goals.
Whether it is asking someone for their sage advice, asking someone to coach you, asking someone to make an introduction for you, asking for help will aid your personal development and business’ growth significantly.
7) Don’t Project Your Feelings
When you assume someone might not want to help you or you might be a burden on someone, you are projecting your feelings. Don’t let your inner critic make you give up before you even ask for help. You won’t know how others feel about helping you until you ask.
8) Asking for Help Looks Good
Some people are worried that if they ask for help, they might look weak or come across as not sufficiently capable. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, some research done by Scientific American shows that asking for help makes a good impression and boosts the positive perception the advisor has of you. It indicates you are a team player who wants to do things efficiently and effectively.
9) How Important is The End Result
If you are struggling in some area of life, think about your ideal result. Think about it in as great of detail as possible. Hold that image of ultimate success in your head. Now ask yourself, is this result worth the discomfort of asking for help?
10) If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get
Some people feel anxious about asking someone for help because they’re afraid of being told ‘No’ which they perceive as rejection. There could be many reasons someone refuses to give advice or assist and it does not necessarily mean that it has anything to do with you.
Yes you may feel upset and hurt but realize that they (just like you) are allowed to make choices that others may not like. So, accept their choice and move on.
The truth is asking for help will either get you a ‘Yes’, a ‘No’ or a ‘Not right now’ but unless you ask, you will never know.
Besides research by Frank Flynn and Vanessa Bohns suggests that we tend to grossly underestimate how likely others are to agree to requests for assistance. So, if the chances of you asking and receiving are far greater than you not receiving you might as well ask, right?
We all have moments in life when we need a little support. Whether it’s a big challenge we’re facing or just a bad day, having someone there for us can mean the world. That’s why it’s so important to appreciate the people who offer us their support, no matter how small it might seem. A kind word of encouragement can lift our spirits and give us the confidence to keep going. A listening ear can help us process our thoughts and feelings.
It’s easy to take these gestures for granted, that’s why it is important to appreciate the support, advice or help given to you. A simple ‘Thank you so much (person’s name)’ goes a long way to show your gratitude towards those who have helped you when needed; even if they were simply offering words of encouragement or moral support.
There’s no need to feel embarrassed or awkward if you need a little help every now and then. We’ve all been there, trust me. The more comfortable you get with the idea of requesting assistance from others, the better off you will be in all aspects of life.
Whether it’s asking a colleague for assistance on a project or calling up a friend to vent about your latest dating disaster, or reaching out to a professional to help you work through some inner blocks we all need a helping hand sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or incapable. It just means you’re human – like the rest of us.
What are you having difficulty with at the moment? Who can help you with it? Now go ahead and ask for help. Remember we’re all here to help each other out in this crazy thing called life.
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