How do you feel about asking people for help?
Many people, myself included, find it challenging, especially at certain times and in specific situations.
When I’m feeling stressed or pressured, I try to do everything myself – either because I feel insecure about asking for support or because I self-righteously think that I’m the only one who can do it the “right” way.
Paradoxically, I can sometimes be quite pushy, forceful, and presumptuous with my requests for support. Ah, to be human.
But I’ve learned that there’s a beautiful place of balance between going it all alone and demanding help from others in an obnoxious way. This all stems from our ability to genuinely ask for and graciously receive the support of other people. The irony of this whole phenomenon is that most of us love to help others, while many of us have a hard time asking others for help ourselves.
Asking for help can often make us feel vulnerable.
Asking for help can bring out a sense of vulnerability in a lot of us. We usually think (somewhat erroneously) that we should be able to do everything ourselves, or that by admitting we need help, we’re somehow being weak. Many of us also get nervous to hear “no,” and by asking others for support, we put ourselves out there and risk being rejected.
But asking for help is essential for personal and professional growth. It fosters collaboration, strengthens relationships, and allows for the exchange of knowledge and support. It also demonstrates humility and a willingness to learn while also helping you better overcome challenges you otherwise may have struggled with.
What if we had more freedom to ask for what we wanted and for the specific support we need? What if we could ask for help in a confident, humble, and empowering way? What if we remembered that we’re worthy of other people’s support and that our ability to both ask for and receive help not only benefits us but also gives them an opportunity to contribute (which most people really want to do)?
It still might be a little scary, we may get disappointed, and on occasion, people may have some opinions or reactions to what we ask for or how we ask for it. But let’s not let our fear hold us back.
When we give ourselves permission and remind ourselves that it’s not only okay, but essential for us to ask for help – we can create a true sense of freedom, support, and empowerment in our lives, work, and relationships.
Things we can do to have more freedom and confidence when asking for help.
1) Make Genuine Requests, Without Attachment.
A “genuine” request can be accepted or declined, without any consequence. In other words, if we get really upset when someone says “no” to us, not only were we attached to the outcome, it probably wasn’t a real request to begin with (it was a demand).
When we ask for what we want, without being attached to the response, we have more freedom, and ultimately our chances of getting what we want are greatly increased.
2) Be Easy To Support.
There are some specific things we can do to make it easier to support us. Such as:
Being open to the coaching and feedback of others
Thanking people for their support
Letting people do things to support us in their own unique way instead of micro-managing them (this one is often tough for me)
Allowing people’s support when it is offered
Be respectful, appreciative, and open-minded when receiving support. Clearly articulate your needs, listen to feedback, and be receptive to advice. All of this will go a long way in making it easier to support you.
3) Give Your Support to Others Generously.
When we put our attention on supporting other people, the universe has a way of returning the favor. It may or may not always come back to us from the people we help specifically, and that’s okay.
We want to do our best not to “keep score,” as many of us often do, but instead to look for opportunities to genuinely help those around us. When we do this, we remind ourselves of the power of support, and we experience it as the true “win-win” it is.
Authentically requesting support isn’t always easy. But by giving ourselves permission to ask for help we enhance our capacity for growth, connection, and collaboration with those around us.
What can you do to create more freedom and confidence in asking for and receiving the support you need? Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions, and comments about this below.