Asking for help is usually associated with somehow being weak or inadequate. However, asking for help is actually a good idea…for several reasons! It is a sign of strength and not weakness. How, you ask? Well, here’s how asking for help can be strengthening and empowering.
There are many reasons we hesitate to ask for help. Firstly we regard this as a sign of weakness; that we want help only because we cannot manage on our own. We fear that others will think less of us, because we asked them for help. The second reason we hesitate is because we don’t want to burden someone else; they may already be busy with their own stuff and may either feel set upon or may rebuff us.
Thirdly we feel that asking for help means that we are no longer in control of the situation. We also feel that if we ask for help, this means we are beholden to the other person: in their debt, so to speak. Perhaps we also fear that the other person may feel the need to recall the favor at a later date? If you overlook these obstacles for a moment, consider some of these reasons why it’s a great idea to ask for help:
1. It keeps us humble: Over time and a bit of success as well as the recognition of our abilities, a wee bit of arrogance can creep into our demeanors. We may develop a rather undeservedly good opinion of our abilities. At such times, it is important to recognize that none of us are perfect and that each of us has several shortcomings. Our shortcomings may be where the strengths of others lie. It does us no harm to admit that we do need help from time to time – that there are things that others may be able to do better than us. This keeps the ego in check and keeps us real and grounded…good things to be!
2. Helps you stop procrastinating: We tend to put off doing things that are difficult or things that we don’t like doing, don’t we? By asking for help, you can will yourself to stop procrastinating and get on with the job at hand – actually get started on a project you were reluctant about.
3. Get more things done, better: Remember that old proverb, it takes a village to raise a child? Quite simply, what it means is that teamwork is great for any project. There is also that other proverb – more heads are better than – one which, in this context, means about the same thing. Accumulated wisdom is shared and everyone has the benefit of it. Different people bring different talents and abilities to the table so there is a diverse skillset available for the project at hand. Why not ask for help so that you ensure the best possible outcome for any job?
4. It can be fun: Working together can be very enjoyable. Working together, learning more about each other, taking the occasional break together and bonding over a meal can actually be good fun. The shared energy in groups working together can be very empowering as well.
5. Asking for help means you can focus on your core capabilities: Why waste your time with chores that you’re not best suited to? Wouldn’t you be better occupied doing things that have to do with your core competencies? Ask for help with things that you’re admittedly not great at; leave yourself free to do the things that you really can do very well (and possibly enjoy doing as well).
6. Empowering others: Asking someone else for help can sometimes be a great leap of faith; it could be like paying that person a huge compliment. For instance, if you ask your office subordinate for help, you imply that you repose significant trust in them and their abilities. By such an action you’re actually helping to build their confidence and may encourage them to take on more responsibility and show greater initiative in times to come.
7. You make it easier for others to ask for help: And yes, that is a good thing! Colleagues may hesitate to ask for help for the same reasons that you hesitate! However, if you’ve taken the initiative to ask for help, they will be more comfortable doing the same. Don’t feel importuned that someone asks you for help; treat it as a compliment and an opportunity to contribute.
8. Find out who your real friends are; make new friends: Asking for help has another benefit: it reveals who your real friends are; who the people are that you can really count on. If a person takes the time out and makes the effort to help you, you know that you can count on them even in a pinch. Plus, group efforts tend to foster new friendships…so not only do you find out who your friends are, you may make new ones! You don’t know who you can get along with until you spend some time with them!
9. Reduce stress: Why try to be superman or superwoman? Why try to manage everything yourself when you don’t have to? It can be stressful and burdensome and lonely to try and manage everything on your own. It is OK to ask for help; it may even be good for your health because stress levels are closely connected to physical and mental health. It can be a great relief to know that at least some part of a task is taken care of, that you don’t have to oversee every little detail!
10. More time for yourself: Time is a gift and asking for help gives you this gift. If you get someone to help you out with things, at least occasionally, you get more time to do other things – things that you enjoy. Getting help leaves you with a bit more leisure time and more time to spend at home with family.
So actually, asking for help is good for you. Enough reasons to ditch that ego and ask for help wouldn’t you say?