Most people think it’s weak to ask for help. They prefer to do things on their own, even if they don’t have the expertise or necessary information to do it right.
This behavior might start in childhood, and you might be showing the same signs as an adult. Refusing to ask for help at school, work, home, or with other things you’re trying to do with your life, doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Turns out it’s exactly the opposite.
Asking for help is what successful people, leaders and those living a good life learned how to do early on. It’s actually a sign of strength.
Why Asking for Help is Important
For a start, when you don’t ask for help, you don’t provide others with the opportunity to contribute in any way they can.
You’re also living in that illusion of independence, and are actually missing out on getting the job done right. Be it to ask for a pen when you can’t find yours and need to fill a document. Or to ask for directions in a new city.
It could also be to let your mother give you advice on how to take care of your newborn, let a financial expert manage your money well, or trust a specialist on what new piece of technology to buy.
When you don’t ask for help, you’re trying to be in control of everything. But life itself finds a way to teach you that there are many things out of your control. It’s important to accept that in order to move on.
Asking for help is a great ability. Once you start doing it, you understand the importance of working in a team. Even when that’s the hairdresser whose opinion you’re trusting, or the self-help guru telling you what first step to take to change your habits.
It’s natural to need help, and to allow others to give it to you.
That’s how you work on dropping your ego. Also, you let go of control and great expectations the moment you accept the fact that you need help and ask for it.
Last but not least, what asking for help might lead to may astound you. If you’re thinking of moving to a better place or want to find a new job, for instance, asking here and there can turn into something great.
You never know where the next opportunity is hiding. And you’ll be the one to grab it and make the most of it, but it won’t show up unless you ask others and see if they can be of any help.
One of the reasons people consider asking for help difficult, is that they fear the consequences, such as what they might need to give in return in the future. However, that’s because you don’t know how to do it right.
Truth is, we don’t know how to ask for help the right way. Here are a few tips to get better at this:
How to Learn to Ask for Help
1. Start small.
Probably your ego won’t allow you to start big even if you’re in need. So begin with easy things, like:
- Ask a friend for advice;
- Ask an employee in the store when something isn’t clear about a product or you can’t find what you need;
- When shopping, ask the sales person what they think;
- When you’re about to book a holiday, want to sign up for a gym membership or are looking for a new movie to watch, ask colleagues for recommendations and actually listen to them.
2. Remember it’s good for the other person too.
Ask for help, let somebody do what they can, and be sure you’ll make their day. Helping others is even referred to as the secret to happiness.
3. Be direct.
The easiest way is to simply ask for what you need.
4. Be okay with rejection.
Yes, not everyone can or is ready to help you. And that’s okay. Learning how to accept rejection is another great skill to learn in life.
5. Seek new perspectives.
Look at this as an opportunity to expand your horizons. What others will share with you or do for you will be completely different from what you had in mind. It might lead to new ideas or ways to do things that will solve a problem you’ve been struggling with. Just ask for help.
6. Find a mentor.
If you like the result with the first small steps, and see it helps you move forward, you might even think about finding a mentor or giving life coaching a try.
7. Overcome the initial fear.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Others don’t need to know about it. You might feel guilty to ask for help, or you might be afraid others will call you weak. But none of that matters. You’re looking to get out of a situation or achieve a result, and that won’t happen if you don’t let someone else get involved.
8. Get help for the serious stuff too.
Last but not least, admit it when you have a problem and let a consultant or a specialist do their job.
If you’re about to end a relationship or are even thinking about a divorce, give couple therapy a try.
If you start relying on alcohol, overeating, or else too much after a traumatic event, go to a specialist and dig deeper into the problem to find a way out before it’s too late.
In such cases, asking for help can save a life. In less serious situations, it will make your life easier.
Now you know why you should ask for help and how to do it right.