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Asking for Help

Asking for help is not something that comes easily to most of us. Some of us don’t even know how to ask for help. Unless it’s with a family member or very close friend, many people would rather struggle with whatever they are dealing with than ask for a helping hand.

Of course, at the workplace, there are those who never miss an opportunity to ask for assistance, especially if they are in a position of power and have juniors at

their beck and call.

While overloading those beneath you with tasks they never asked for allows you to free up your time and calendar, taking advantage of others just because you can isn’t in the true spirit of asking for help.

Sure, a genuine request for help can unyoke you of an overload you may be struggling with, freeing you time and energy you could dedicate elsewhere. But it also recognises the ability in others and acknowledging they are just as skillful as you (if not better) in handling certain tasks.

A genuine request for help seeks to strengthen your connections by allowing others to showcase their worth. What this also does is reveal to those whose help you need that you trust their ideas and appreciate their input. In so doing, they could interpret the gesture in a positive light rather than the other way round.

Asking for Help Could Unlock Unexpected Doors

While we may be reluctant to ask for help of whatever kind from people within our network – family, friends, work associates or even strangers – sometimes asking for assistance could open us to opportunities we never imagined.

Of course, depending on who it is, you need to know that you can trust them with whatever issue you are approaching them with.

One of the reasons most people avoid asking for help is because they shy away from the vulnerability that comes with it. No one wants to bear themselves open if it means ridicule thereafter, especially if it’s a sensitive subject. There’s that, and a certain level of trust may be needed in this case.

In other instances, most of us are afraid to ask for help because we assume our overtures will be met with a resounding “No, sorry”.

But that’s just an assumption stemming from our fears.

If you find yourself on the ropes, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. It may be the lifeline you needed.

In The Irrepressible Mind: Nine Steps to Overcome Adversity career handbook, I share a personal experience I had with the CEO when I worked at the Bank of America. I burned the midnight oil to hit my objectives, efforts that did not go unnoticed.

To get to the next level of my career, however, I needed a mentor who could help me improve on my weaknesses. The CEO is the last person most of us would think of approaching for help, as much as it may be of a professional kind. Admittedly, it did take even him by surprise!

But guess what?

The response came in the affirmative, with an unexpected turn. He too needed help with his children in order to free himself some time while contributing to their academic improvement.

It involved a small trade-off, as I have explained in the book. But that simple move that began with me asking for help turned out to be life-changing for me. In every sense of the phrase.

How to Ask for Help: In Closing

There are many lessons we can glean from this.

Most importantly, what’s lost on many of us is that sometimes, we don’t need to do the hard yards alone. In the pursuit of success and attainment of our goals, at times we may need the help, the input of others or a little nudge to get us closer to the finish line.

Having the discipline and dedication to get things done on your own is a flex; a good flex. But it also takes courage to admit we may need help on occasion.

While we shouldn’t go in with our own unrealistic expectations, sometimes the simple act of asking for help with good intentions could open us to a world of opportunities we did not imagine.

"Could you be passing up opportunities in your career or life by not asking for help?"


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