When you have a big problem and you are feeling stuck, I have a tool for getting unstuck — ask for help!
Over the last few weeks I have learned a lot about taking risks and creating something new.
My biggest learning has been that I cannot do it alone.
I am someone who loves to give help. It feels good to be of use and to support someone else. Just look at my work: it’s built on giving advice!
What I don’t like is asking for help.
When I ask for help, I feel vulnerable. I’m giving up control. I can’t dictate exactly what sort of help I’m going to get. I don’t get to choose how that help is going to be delivered.
If asking for help makes you feel uncomfortable, too, here’s where that feeling comes from:
When you ask for help, you are actually saying, “I cannot do this on my own. I need support.” The dominant U.S. culture teaches us that asking for help is weak. We’re taught that we should be able to do everything on our own — that being a successful human is an individual thing.
That teaching is a lie. We are all interconnected.
Any major change in our lives is done in community. Whether we’re raising a baby, launching a project or moving into a new home, we’re changing alongside of other human beings.
We need each other.
If you have a grand plan you want to implement, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by too much work or too much life — you need help. And that’s a good thing!
Asking for help opens up a new way of seeing a problem.
It allows the weight of the work to be shared.
It increases the energy going toward a solution.
When you ask for help, you are no longer alone. And when you are supported you will begin to see new ways forward.
You can reduce stress and increase your creative potential by asking for support.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when asking for help:
Pick the right folks for the job.
Who has the experience? Likes this kind of project? Can handle it? Who is someone you would like to have around, who would probably like to help you?
Decide what kind of help you need.
Figure out exactly what you need help with. What are you looking for (and not looking for)? What are your time frames?
Make an explicit request – don’t beat around the bush. Make your request very specific and clear.
Be prepared for “No.”
Give folks a chance to get off the hook when you ask. If someone says they cannot help, don’t hold that against them. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated if you could not help.
Be clear and set boundaries.
Make sure your community knows what kind of support you need and what you do not need. Keep the ownership and responsibility for the task as yours.
Hire a professional.
If your own community cannot help OR it is going to put too much burden on them, hire a professional. This could be a therapist for processing an experience, a mover to help you transition to a new home, or a marketing specialist for promotions.
Say thank you.
Thank you goes a long way. Please say it! In person, via email, or by snail mail, let your helpers know you appreciate them.
Questions for reflection:
What are you needing a little support for and who can you ask?
How can you say thank you to for support in the past?
Write an answer in the comments below or jump on over to my Facebook page and comment.