Fear & Other Tough Stuff: asking for help

Today is National Ask for Help Day.

No, it’s not on your calendar and there’s no greeting card for it since I just made it up.

But I think it’s going to catch on. Because I’ve decided we all need to get better at asking for help. Myself included.

Every week I encounter someone who balks at asking for help.

Here’s how it usually goes. Someone shares a problem or issue they’re struggling with. We talk it through. Brainstorm a bit. Then comes the point I say, Who could help you with that?

And then silence. Followed by…

  • I could ask Mary, but I don’t want to bother her.
  • If I ask for help, they’ll think I’m out of my depth.
  • Jan would know, but she’s probably way too busy to help.
  • I feel like I should just figure it out on my own.

I rarely (aka: never) hear someone say, What a great idea to ask for help! I would love to do that. I’ll reach out to Stephanie and see if she can help me.

I get it. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable.

We worry about appearing incompetent. Or needy. The person we ask might say no. We could feel indebted. Asking for help reveals we don’t know.

All those possibilities make asking for help feel risky.

But the greater risk is trying to go it alone.

To pretend you have it all figured out. To act like a lone wolf, going it alone at all costs. To deprive those around you from helping. To equate asking for help with weakness. To think you have to have all the answers.

So help me out, ok? (See, I’m asking for help). Let’s make National Ask for Help Day catch on. What do you need help with—and who will you ask?

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