Recently, I commented on a post and shared my thoughts regarding lessons learned and how to help one another. The main thing that spoke to me was the fact that many of us do not ask for the help that we need. I must admit, I am one of the many. I am not prideful or anything like that. I just prefer to do as much as I can on my own. If I ask for help, it usually feels like the end of my option list.
We, as human beings, all need help more than we ask for it or even realize. Although we don’t ask for help as often as need it, we offer it constantly. We actually help each other on a daily basis. We utilize services from one another, we conduct business with one another, and most of us have jobs that even require us to help others. Helping is a way that humans operate in the world.
Since helping is a natural part of life the way that it is, I cannot help but arrive at the question, Why is it so hard to ask for help?
I called my sister and asked her the question. We talked about it for quite some time. She described an incident that caused her to ask the same question. When she told me about the experience that she had, I asked her if she felt that our background had anything to do with it. Needless to say, we both do. As the conversation progressed, we reviewed our individual experiences in life as well as childhood memories. We talked about the lessons that life taught us and what those lessons mean.
One of the things that came up was the fact that we are often conditioned to feel like asking for help is a sign of weakness. We are often shunned or told to figure it out when we turn to other for help. Some people feel that if you cannot accomplish something on your own that asking for assistance is an easy way out. People may even refer to you as lazy because you asked for help but criticize you if you make a mistake because you didn’t ask for help.
We also talked about how those reactions make asking for help extremely difficult. It makes accomplishing tasks and goals that much harder as well. When someone makes you feel bad for doing something so natural, it will cause you to question your actions in the future. I can remember asking questions and being ignored or told to be quiet. My sister shared a few of her experiences with me. Her experiences did not differ greatly from mine, there were just different people involved. By the end of the conversation, we discovered a few things that keep us from asking for help.
1. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid of the response.
It can be extremely difficult to ask for help if you have been shut down or chastised for it in the past. It is easy to understand why you would be reluctant to ask for help. However, everyone is not the same. Situations may repeat themselves but the people will be different and so will the response. The way to overcome this is to know who to ask. There is no reason to set yourself up for rejection by asking for help from someone who you know will speak more than they act. You will never be able to predict what someone will say, but you have the choice to choose a person that you feel will act accordingly. Usually, it is someone who has been there for you in the past and proven themselves to be reliable. You will never know what will happen if you do not ask for help.
2. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid of how they will appear to others.
Perception is everything when it comes to growth and development. Although we cannot control how others will respond to or receive us, we give them so much weight on our life scale. There are some people who are concerned with how others will look at them if they ask for help. I am sure that “others” are not considered when things are going well so they should not be as important when assistance is needed. Focusing so heavily on what others will say or do if we ask for help removes focus from actually accomplishing the goals that we set out to accomplish. Asking for help does not make you look bad, it makes you look smart. If you never speak up and ask questions or get help, you will remain where you are.You should build a support team of people who will guide you when you need guidance so that you can focus less on how others will view you and more on how you can move forward.
3. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid it admits failure.
Admitting that you are wrong is a hard thing to do. It is one of the things that most of us avoid at all cost. More times than not, when we admit our wrongs it causes us to face the facts of a situation and accept that we made a mistake. In addition to that, when it comes to asking for help, we tend to see failure as a stop sign rather than a u-turn sign. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake. Mistakes are actually how we learn. Asking for help can prevent us from making the mistakes that we try so hard to hide. When we get to a point of uncertainty, it is wise to seek guidance and assistance before we move forward. It is better to make an informed decision rather than an uninformed one.
We are hindering our growth when we don’t ask for help, regardless of the reason that keeps us from asking. It would behoove us to learn how to move past these stumbling blocks in order to be more successful in our daily activities.
So, what stops you from asking for help in your personal life, business, or both?