Asking for help is not an easy thing to do. We resist it because it makes us feel vulnerable.
We each have our own relationship with asking for help. For a long time, I struggled to notice that asking for help was a behavior I avoided because it called unwanted attention to me. As a child of strong-willed, opinionated extroverts, I dealt with conflict and stress indirectly, which is to say, not at all. To ask for help would call attention to my fragile emotional ecosystem that I didn't understand.
When I didn't understand something about myself or my world as a child, I felt scared and insecure. I hid my fears well, even to myself, choosing to distract myself with activities instead of asking for help processing feelings I didn't understand. Somehow it felt easier to suffer silently and alone than face the fear of coming out with the issue to another and asking for help.
The same feelings of fear resurface as an adult when we consider asking for help. We feel it as we recoil in a kind of whole-body contraction to the idea of stepping out to raise a hand to ask for help.
Notice How Fear Keeps You Silent, Playing Small
That voice feeds a false narrative that if I need help, there must be something I can’t figure out on my own, which makes me believe on some level that I have failed in some way. Failed me, failed my colleagues, my vision, my family, etc.
Not true. That’s fear talking. Fear is the self-critical voice that surfaces when we're on the verge of bold action. Fear doesn't want us to expand into a bigger, bolder version of ourselves (way too scary), only to be still, quiet, and safe. Essentially, my operational plan as a child. That playbook does not serve you when you aspire to embrace the wholeness of your being, leveraging your brilliance, your passion, and potential to create something as magnificent as you.
You Got This
What you need to tune into instead is your inner wisdom, to what you know to be true deep down. Remove the obstacles to your success by trusting yourself to be the committed, capable, savvy professional that you are.
Dare to ask for help. Aspire to team up with others who you admire to expand your impact together.
Your best tool is your self-awareness. By noticing how you feel, what's not working, and who is in a better position to help equip you to move forward more productively, you have what you need to navigate beyond the default loops of thinking and behavior that keep you stuck repeating the same unhelpful patterns.
By asking for help, you are taking action to create inroads to your ultimate sense of freedom by moving you forward on your purpose path.
Practice shifting your perspective to see asking for help as a gift that you are offering to others. Let those you lean on understand what's at stake for you in this request. Share your values that this initiative supports, and the vision you hold for all stakeholders that you aspire to achieve with a little help from your colleagues and partners along the way. You are offering an invitation to others in to join you manifesting your vision. Be better together!
How You Know it's Time to Seek Help
Ask yourself these questions to determine if some support would help you now.
Is your energy expenditure inefficient, equating a high flow of energy out yielding low results?
Are you feeling stuck trying to decide how to prioritize your time because everything is urgent and important?
Are you procrastinating on your work but can’t stop thinking about it?
If you are a yes to any of the above, you are not alone. I’ve been there. I ask for help as a practice. You can too.
Get Started by Following this Framework
➡️ Locate the problem | Be honest with yourself and identify what is not working and what you would like to be different.
Get Granular On What You Need
Try this: Make THREE lists and be as specific as you can
A) What is currently on your plate that you wish wasn't, because it's not what you love or is good at (this is what eats your time and doesn't fulfill you)
B) What you want more of (this is where the help comes in)
C) of what you LOVE/ARE BEST AT that you aspire to experience much more of in the future.
➡️ Identify & Personalize Who's Help you Seek | Who is the next closest to you with the knowledge to lend a hand for each of the above specific areas you listed from the prompts above? Share with them why you came to them, making it clear you are thoughtful in your request and genuinely seek their specific expertise and insight.
Recognize Who's Already on Your Team
Try this: Grab a sheet of blank paper. Draw one big circle taking up most of the page. Inside draw two more circles, one inside the other equally spaced apart. Inside the smallest circle write the names of those who support your life--including everyone you pay and those you don't who help make your world go round, both professionally and personally.
Click here to download this worksheet for any easy approach.
➡️ Clarify the Outcome you Want | Know the destination before you head out on your road trip. The same is true here, be clear on what your goal is before asking for help. Do the legwork and bring your data to support your request for help, depending on what is the scale of the request.
Know When You've Arrived
Write out a statement that captures the concrete outcomes you'd like to achieve. Keep your outcomes to what YOU can control, not what you hope will come from help. Include, the values you hold that you are honoring by making this brave choice to ask for help.
Ex. By the end of my meeting to request help, I want to have shared my truthful personal experience because sharing what is truly happening with me honors my work in being true to myself. Also, I want to do all that I have the power to do to enhance my current situation, because if I don't stand up for myself, who else will? Now you try it.
➡️ Expand your Impact with Others | Consider your request for help to be what it is, an open door that invites others in to join you where you are. Be open and collaborative. See how inviting others in enhances your overall experience and expands your overall impact for good.
Follow these steps to increase your self-awareness and zoom in on what you want in order to cultivate the very best experience you can in the work you are doing today.
Release the false notion that asking for help forfeits your control or authorship of your experience. Use your voice to speak to the change you want to see in the world. Test the boundaries of your power to create an impact for yourself and your world at large.
Lead the way to your most vibrant and fulfilling life.
You got this. I got you,
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