Being a psychologist, I know how many people waited to come to therapy as they did not want to ask for help.
They convinced themselves that they should have been able to work out all of their issues without the aid of anyone.
However, the fact of the matter is that we all need help, myself included, and the strongest thing we can do is ask for the help we need.
Learning to ask for this help can be difficult to master, but it gets easier with practice.
There are many reasons that people struggle with asking for help, including:
- lack of skill set
If you remove the shame associated with asking for help, it becomes much easier and more productive than we ever dreamed it would be.
It may even surprise us how happy and willing people are to aid us.
So, just how do you ask for help?
1. Admitting that we need help is the hardest step many times.
However, we must admit that we need help from ourselves and others.
We have to ask ourselves the tough questions:
- Can I do this by myself?
- What parts do I need help with?
- What is outside of my area of expertise?
- How much control can I give up?
- Can I prevent myself from micromanaging the help I am asking for?
- Can I be grateful and gracious for the help I receive, even if it was not exactly as I would have done it?
These questions will enable you to be more self-aware about what is behind the root of your reluctance to ask for help.
2. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished
Break things down into small, manageable steps that you can easily spread between you and others.
They do not seem as overwhelming when you break things down this way.
They also don’t feel like as much of a burden to ask someone to help you out with.
It will impress the person you have asked for help that you are so well organized.
They will be grateful that you only ask them to complete one piece of the puzzle.
3. Make sure the request for help fits this individual’s strength
You want to be sure that you are not giving them a task they have no experience with.
The point of asking for help is not to make them feel inept.
It is to make them feel honored you see this strength and skill in them and that you are asking for their help because you appreciate their talents.
This not only helps you finish the task at hand, but it also makes the other person feel honored and appreciated.
4. Carefully consider the environment
You often want to go somewhere else to talk.
Take a brief walk, for example, to ask the person if they are ready and willing to assist you.
Asking in the office or in front of others might make them feel like they can not say no.
You want to give them the respect to have a choice in the answer.
While they are almost assuredly going to say “yes,” you want to show them from the start that you have enough respect to allow them the opportunity to make whatever decision they need to.
So, ask for help away from others, and support whatever decision they make.
Occasionally, people will need to tell you “no.”
You need to learn that this is not a rejection of you but a matter of what they have on their plate right now.
5. Thank the person helping you every step of the way
Learn to be gracious and appreciative.
They are doing something they do not have to be doing and taking extra time out of their schedule and lives to help you finish your project and be successful.
It is very important to provide gratitude and positive reinforcement along the way to keep the person motivated and to let them know that everything they are doing for you is noticed and appreciated.
This lets the person know they are respected and appreciated.
At the end of the project, make sure that you have thought of some small token to thank them and to truly show how much you have appreciated the extra time and effort they have put in to help you.
Now ask for help when you need it
These tips are simple, but they are difficult to do.
We must contend with our insecurities and feelings about asking for help.
However, mastering this challenge and being more self-aware will make you happier and more productive.
It is worth the bit of uncomfortableness you will feel in the beginning.
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If you have any other tips for asking for help, please leave them in the comment section below.