As much as we love to lend our support and help others, many of us find asking for help awkward or uncomfortable.
How can we shift our mindset on what it means about us when we’re willing to reach out to others?
When we ask people for their time, feedback, or support in a gracious way, it creates a win-win for everyone. Asking for help is a way to practice vulnerability, which is a necessary aspect of bringing our whole selves to work and life.
Why Do We Struggle Asking for Help?
Most of us have a hard time asking for help. Here are a few different reasons we have trouble doing it.
1. We’re scared of being judged.
We fear that people will judge us or think we’re weak when we ask for help. It’s hard enough to summon up the courage to ask for help – but the fear of judgment behind it can be just as hard to deal with.
2. We don’t want to burden people.
Asking for help brings about the fear that we are annoying people – that we are being a burden on them, especially these days with all that is going on. We also worry about seeming selfish.
3. We’re afraid of rejection.
Many of us also worry that the person we ask for help will say no. We’ll get the courage to push through the fear of being judged and then have to face someone saying no after being so vulnerable.
It’s hard enough to make ourselves vulnerable, and most of us hate feeling rejected and disappointed. The fear of being disappointed and disappointing others can be an overwhelming one.
4. We’re scared they’ll do it wrong.
Another reason some of us struggle asking for help is because we’re scared they’ll do it wrong. Often we think – or even know – that we can do better.
But when we keep our world small and enclosed in only our perspective, it limits how vast our experience can grow and expand to.
If we’re struggling with things, asking for help can help us get through it.
Why Asking for Help is Important
– It helps us be more vulnerable and authentic.
Asking for help is a great way to practice being authentic and vulnerable, which allows us to have empathy for and with other human beings.
I define authenticity as honesty without self-righteousness and with vulnerability. When we ask for help, we put ourselves out there.
Being vulnerable allows us to connect with others, and it is important for us to embrace it. But many of us are afraid to do this because vulnerability carries a sense of risk and uncertainty.
– Practicing vulnerability helps us open up.
Vulnerability means opening up and making ourselves emotionally exposed. We must put our emotions on the line and be willing to fall on our faces. The more we practice being vulnerable, the more we build that muscle, and the more risk we can take while dealing with uncertainty. It helps us build trust with ourselves and with others.
– We will always stay at “no” if we don’t ask.
We don’t get help if we don’t ask. When we ask for support, we worry about rejection or feeling embarrassed – but most of the time, none of those things happen.
Our strongest fears about what will happen when we ask for help rarely occur. The worst-case scenario is getting a “no” or an inauthentic yes. But when we ask, we may get the help and support we need that is super valuable.
When we ask for help, we give others the opportunity for the joy and satisfaction that comes from helping.
Asking for help might scare us, but remember – they might say yes.
When we get support, we are allowing others to help another human being. Asking people for help graciously creates a virtuous cycle. We are more likely to want to help that person in return if they ever ask for help, and vice versa.
We have to be willing to ask for help and also be willing to receive it.
Some of us take pride in being a martyr or think it’s admirable to be burdened with doing it all on our own. However, there is real courage in asking for help.
If we become better at asking for help, we will get more help. We will empower the people around us in a way that nourishes them and us. We can also create an environment where we receive and give support in a generous and abundant way.
When that happens, everyone thrives. Remember: we’re all in this together.
Your challenge for the week is to start asking for help, even when you feel uncomfortable. Remember that asking for help is a courageous and vulnerable task. It’s also an opportunity to both get and give support in a meaningful way.
In what ways can you start asking for help? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more below.
Mike Robbins is the author of five books, including his latest, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging. He’s a thought leader and sought-after speaker whose clients include Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, eBay, Genentech, the Oakland A’s, and many others.