The Truth About Asking for Help

Aug 23, 2019

I’ve never been one to shy away from asking for help.  After putting in what I feel is a reasonable amount of time and energy trying to figure something out, my go-to step is to ask for help.

For many people, asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness.  This is a natural result of being steeped in a culture that values self-reliance to a fault.

Yet, too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  Not asking for help when you need it creates unnecessary pressure and bottlenecks productivity.

The real reason people resist asking for help is the fear of being judged.  The ego is clearly at work when this happens.  That pesky little voice inside that tells you being right and having all the answers is the only way to matter.

Your worth is not dependent upon your intellect.  You matter because you matter.

Cy Wakeman states in her book, No Ego, “The main thing leaders need to do to defuse the ego is to start by asking good questions.”

When we ask question or ask for help we are admitting we don’t have all the answers.  The ego may not like this, but it’s a good exercise in humility and keeping it real.  When you’re real you give others permission to be real, too.  Not to mention, you will also be more respected.

Case in point, I was at yoga class recently and we were doing some crazy balance pose.  I have weak ankles so I got a little help from the wall.  After class the person behind me told me she appreciated seeing me use the wall and she could benefit from doing the same.

Had I shied away from getting help where I needed it, I would have stayed hidden behind my ego and missed out on a meaningful conversation and an opportunity to inspire someone else.

As I mentioned earlier, I have never shied away from asking for help after employing my own due diligence.  I attribute this to the early messaging of humility that my parents modeled.

Growing up on the farm I saw my parents help and be helped by friends and neighbors to get the work done.  The amount of work to be done always exceeded the amount of time available to do it.  If you wanted to make progress, there was no time to waste trying to be too self-reliant.

The corporate environment is no different.  There are always opportunities to flex your vulnerability by asking for help and reaping the benefit of human connection.

If this is uncomfortable for you, start with awareness.  Reflect on the discomfort that you feel.  Next challenge yourself to ask for help with at least one or two things over the course of the week.  The more you do it, the easier it will become.

You don’t have to have all the answers.  If you did, what would be left to learn?