Asking for Help:
7 Steps

Asking for Help: 7 Steps

T here’s so much to accomplish throughout the day. Our to-do-lists are never ending. That can become pretty overwhelming. Getting help might be the solution…

That may sound simple, but asking for help can be extremely challenging for all of us at one time or another. Some feel like it will bruise their ego. Afraid of embarrassment if told ‘no’. Others are just too shy or feel awkward.

And it seems like asking for help is especially hard for women. Us strong, independent women, believing that seeking help undermines our independence and our ability to cope. Priding ourselves on being able to handle anything that comes our way. Help, the four-letter word no woman likes to utter.

The truth is that by refusing to accept help we ignore the fact that we are social beings. Born to co-operate with one another in order to ensure that we thrive. And most people are willing to give help when asked for it directly. So edit your mental self-talk about independence and start telling yourself it is nothing but a self-imposed, self-limiting mantra.

But the belief that accepting help from others is a sign of weakness is often a very ingrained pattern of thinking. Hard to overcome. There are ways of changing how you think, however. We give you seven steps to overcome your reluctance to ask for help, so you can ask and get the help you need!

 
#1
Get some clarity

Why are you reluctant to seek help from others? Without insight and understanding it will be impossible to make any changes. So narrow down exactly what reasons apply for you. You may feel that you’re totally independent and don’t need any help. You may be afraid of rejection or you may have a tendency to perfectionism. You might feel vulnerable or insecure. You don’t want to be a burden to friends and family. Have an open mind and get clarity in order to make change happen.

 
#2
Ask yourself what the benefit is

Consider whether your ‘not asking for help’ has any benefit to yourself and others. By keeping yourself distant from others, you are building an invisible barrier around yourself. You might feel a sense of strength and safety but it blocks the potential for new relationships and friendships. You are missing out on learning about mutual giving and receiving. About accepting help and providing help in return. About the compassionate cycle of love, care, and generosity for all.

 
#3
Start by accepting offered help

If you can overcome the underlying reasons as to why you won’t seek help, it is possible to start finding pathways to letting others help you. Recognize that people are acting in good faith in general. If another person is being kind in offering help spontaneously, just accepting that help is the first step. Accepting a helping hand requires that leap of faith that everything will turn out OK.

 
#4
Expect some paradoxes

In opening yourself up to others by asking for help, a couple of paradoxes will confront you:

  • In your fear of rejection, you allow others to be the judge of your worth. This is by far needier than asking for the required help!
  • In order to seek help, you need to be strong enough to accept that you have weaknesses [and no-one is perfect!]. And you need to be even stronger to accept help.
  • In order to get, you need to give. In helping another person, you no longer focus on yourself. And when you stop focussing on yourself, it is far easier to accept support back from the other.
  • In order to receive help, you need to trust the other person and to trust that you’re worthy of help [self-respect]. This might be the hardest part but it is absolutely vital.

 
#5
Prioritize your problems

When asking for help, it is important to know where you need help. Prioritize your problems. If it is a problem you feel you can fix effectively on your own, then do it. And celebrate it when fixed! If it’s a problem you think cannot deal with alone, then talk to someone. Ask advice about how to fix the problem on your own, or about who to ask for assistance. And this is a pretty neutral talk, not asking for any help directly, just asking advice. Figure out exactly what you need help with. This eventually makes it easier to ask and easier to explain someone else what the problem is.

 
#6
Don’t ask for help from just anybody

Choose wisely and carefully. Determine the best person to help you with the problem. Avoid people who make you feel a lesser person in any way. Find people you really trust to try out asking for help first. This will allow you to open up bit by bit. If you know someone you can really trust, give them a call or pay them a visit. And if your want to ask a friend but you’re still not quite sure, then before you reach out, ask yourself if the friendship could withstand a ‘no’.

 
#7
Ask for help

Swallow that last bit of pride and ask. Figure out a way to word your request. Realize that it’s no big deal and that everyone needs help at some point or another.

 
Reconsider your attitude about asking for help if you want things to run smoothly. Turning to others in times of need should not be a source of shame or discomfort. Rather, it’s a sign of strength and smarts because it means you know what you can and can’t handle. That you’re planning ahead to get everything done. And most people like to be helpful, especially if you’ve given them a hand in the past.

Practice asking for help [and giving it] every day so that it starts to feel natural. And if you learn to ask for help you probably can’t imagine living your life any other way.

 

 
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How about you?
Is it difficult or easy for you to ask others for help?
Maybe you have any tips to add to the seven above?
Please share with us and leave a comment below!
Thank you.

Mirjam Stoffels

Founder of seven2success, guest blogger at TEDx, Project Eve and 365 dagen succesvol. In my mission to make seven2success the biggest platform of knowledge and inspiration for women, by women, I want to inspire you with our content! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter! I’d love to connect! 
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2 comments

  1. BoukjeBarbara

    Hi Mirjam,

    My experience with asking is that as soon as I ask, it doens’t come. It’s too pushy or something like that. When I open up to the possibility of it being there it will be given when I am not expecting it. And are nice surprises for me.

    • Mirjam Stoffels

      Thank you for stopping by, BoukjeBarbara!
      It might just be that in the asking is too much ‘wanting’.
      By letting go and opening up, like you describe it, you let events take their natural course.

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