Asking for help,
I need help.
Let me start with a simple admission; I need help. That was not as hard as I thought it might be. You now know that I need help. You can ignore my plea, you can ask me for more information, you can make your own request for help. I need help often and I need different kinds of help. Can you help me?
I might be able to help you. I might know someone that can help you. I’d love to help you.
If I never ask you for help; you might not know I need it. If I ask you for help too often you might think I’m a burden. What if I ask you for help and you refuse? What if I ask you for help and you cannot help me? What if I ask you for help and you are too busy helping someone else?
When I think of asking for help all these questions and thoughts form inside my head. Sometimes I even imagine the person I ask telling me no; or worse begrudgingly saying yes. Sometimes I wonder what the help will cost me in return. Do you find it easy to ask for help?
How to ask for help.
Admit you need help.
I hate to do this to you but I have to. You need help; the first step to learning to ask for help is admitting you need it. Don’t tell anyone yet, let it be our little secret for now. Find a quiet spot and ask yourself: “What do I need help with?” Get some pen and paper, write down something you need help with. Don’t worry this is your paper, you can burn it when you are done if you want to. Here is a page with a few things I need help with; there are many more …
Ask yourself for help.
Before you rush off with your list and start asking everyone for help; ask yourself for help. It is a simple thing to do. Sit a while longer with pen and paper and ask yourself how you could help yourself. How could you make your burden lighter? What could you learn that would make your problem easier? What could you do today to help yourself? Write down your answers, here are a few of mine.
Ask who could help you.
Asking for help is great, yet asking the right people for it is what makes all the difference. I like adding notes to my notes, once I’m done with asking myself for help I move on to writing little names next to the things I need help with. This is important, your time is limited and so is the time of others around you. Generally people are willing to help but asking the wrong person for help can make them feel uncomfortable. People normally love answering questions they know the answer to; keep that in mind. 🙂
Actually asking for help.
I find that the following phrasing is normally a great way to start asking for help. “Hey Lee; I need some help with something. (pause) I was wondering if you might know someone that could help me.” There is a chance that Lee might be able to help me himself but I find it easier to let him decide that. Now that I have Lee’s attention I can tell him what my problem is. I have not obliged him to help me himself but I have made it easy for him to offer his help and he might know someone that can help me. If he recommends me to someone I like being able to tell them that Lee told me that they could help me; *grin*.
How can I help you?
I also find that asking myself how I can help others makes it easier for me to ask for help. If we know deep down, that if the person we are asking for help; asked us for help in return we would gladly help, it is easier to ask for help. It is even easier to ask for help if we have already helped that person. This is why I think that the question: How can I help you? is so important. Even when asking for help, at the very least ask: how can I help you, help me?.
Pay it forward
Make it a point to help others as often as you can. The more you help the easier you will find it to ask for help. Most importantly when you help others there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with it. Whatever you do, don’t help others just because they might help you themselves some day. Help is not a one way street but it is a universal circle. You might help me and I might help someone else but I might never repay you; I hope you can accept that as a possibility and help me anyway. Someone else might help you and you may never be able to repay them, I hope you can also accept that.
The one thing that you can always give in return is gratitude and often it is all that the person helping you really wants in return. Be grateful to the creator, be grateful for everything. Be grateful for the help you receive and for the air you breathe. Be grateful and you will be content.
Special thanks to one of my mentors.
Thank you Lee. Thank you for inspiring me to write this and for the support you provide in ways I’m not sure you realize at times (or maybe you do). Thank you for your words of encouragement and thank you for giving me an opportunity to be humble.