Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's Okay to Ask for Help

For many of us asking for help is a difficult thing to do. We would rather stay stuck in our challenges or settle for outcomes that we are not happy with than go to someone who could offer us some assistance.

So why is asking for help difficult for people? The following are some reasons that I believe contribute to people’s inability to ask for help:

* Perception that asking for help is a sign of weakness;
* Fear of looking foolish or being embarrassed in front of others;
* Pride;
* Reflects an inability to manage areas of our life; and
* Having to pay someone for their assistance.

Our thoughts and beliefs around asking for help have been influenced by the messages that we have been exposed to from our environments (e.g. home, social, work, school etc.). For example, you may have been exposed to environments that suggested that you should solve your own problems or that you cannot trust others to help you. If you had been exposed to these types of messages you most likely will be reluctant to ask for help.

There are many others, including myself however that hold the view that asking for help from the right sources is a smart thing to do when we are experiencing difficulties or when we would like to enhance or improve outcomes in different areas of our life. If you do research on successful people you will discover that one key ingredient for their success was their ability to seek guidance from others to assist them in achieving their desired outcomes. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, understood the benefits of leveraging off others. He was quoted as saying, after a barrage of questions by a lawyer, “If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid people who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have people around me who can supply any knowledge I require?” It is difficult to achieve great successes in life by being a ‘lone ranger’.

Asking for help provides us with many benefits. Below are some of the benefits that can be achieved by doing so:

* Provides us with different perspectives on how to approach and think about things;
* Provides us with knowledge, skills and resources that we may not have ourselves;
* Provides us with new strategies to assist us to move forward in a positive direction;
* Provides us with objectivity;
* Provides us with awareness and learning that we may not be able to discover on our own; and
* Provides us with support and encouragement;

Give yourself permission to ask for help. It is okay. You don’t have to have all of the answers. Affirm to yourself daily that asking for help when necessary, from the right sources, is a smart thing to do.

Author: Steve Decker – Life Management & Success Coach

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