All of us, at some point or another, have struggled with handling something all by ourselves: when you’re handling something particularly challenging alone, you’re probably going to feel other avenues of your life being neglected, the burnout and stress creeping in, maybe even depression, anxiety, and more.
In times like this, we all need help. So why do we find it so hard to ask for it?
Why it’s So Hard to Ask for Help
When you give it more thought, how often have we been told that we should help others? Constantly, right? From young, we’re taught to lend a helping hand to whoever needs it, to be kind to others, and to do whatever we can to ease someone else’s burdens.
And yet, how often are we taught to ask for help ourselves? At school, you were expected to complete your own homework all by yourself. You often needed to solve equations that you didn’t understand or write essays on topics that you had no knowledge of.
As you grew up, you were likely inundated with all sorts of stories about self-starting entrepreneurs and the idea that your worth was linked to your productivity. You might have felt that learning and growing wasn’t a worthwhile task, only being productive and powering on would make you the employee or colleague that everyone needed, the model employee.
In my years of coaching, I’ve realized that people so often think of asking for help as showing weakness. They believe that being strong meant being tough, courageous, capable of doing absolutely everything that needed to be done.
Sure, you can theoretically do everything – but you’d pay the price for it. The hours that are spent tirelessly chipping away at a task or tasks, the imbalance in your life, the physical and mental exhaustion. Possibly even a total breakdown.
Why it’s Important to Realize that You Don’t Have to Do Everything on Your Own
Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak. One of the best ways that I can show you rather than tell you that is by asking you to think about all of the times that you’ve been asked for help.
Maybe your dad asked you to mow the lawn, or your mom needed some help with the dishes, or your sibling needed help with their homework, or maybe your friend asked you to listen to their relationship woes. Did you ever feel that they were weak for asking for help? Did you hesitate to help them? You probably didn’t even think twice about it, because you love them and wanted to do something to help them.
Now think about the people in your life. Think about your team. Beyond simply caring about how well you do, your wellbeing affects them and your collective output. That’s how teams work. If you’re not doing well, no one is doing well.
Asking them for help isn’t just something that’s alright to do, it’s something that you should do. Your team is there to provide you with the support to accomplish your tasks, and it’s not showing weakness to ask them for help.
How difficult it is to ask for help actually shows you that it’s a sign of strength. You’re brave enough to be vulnerable and ask for help, and that strength is something that people can take years and years to develop.
The Benefits of Receiving Help
There are many, many benefits of asking for and receiving help. Here are just some of them.
- Saving time and energy
Rather than struggling to chip away at a task all by yourself, you can save a lot of time and energy by getting help from your team. This means that not only do you reap these benefits but that your whole team does as well.
- Connecting with others on a deeper level
We’ve already touched on vulnerability, but I’d like to revisit it. When you are vulnerable enough to say that something is too much for you, or that you’re unable to accomplish it alone, you invite others into your inner circle. You’re showing them a vulnerable part of you and asking them to respond with kindness and respect.
This is a unique kind of connection, and in turn, you will find that your relationship with them takes on new paradigms and you can both enjoy a new kind of kinship. The relationship will get deeper!
- Learn something new
Of course, when you ask for help, you will often find that you’re learning something new in the process. When you ask your team for some assistance, you’ll likely be aided by someone that has more experience or knowledge about the task at hand than you do.
You can learn a lot by watching what they do and how they handle the situation. You can gain new perspectives and even brainstorm with others.
- Deeper self-love
If you can learn that there is nothing wrong with being vulnerable and even begin to be comfortable with asking for help, then you can also find deeper self-love in the process of reaching out to others and connecting with them by asking for help.
You can find self-love that is truly deeper because you’ve not only accepted your situation but done something to improve it for the good of everyone involved.
A better outcome for everyone involved
When you learn to ask for help, you will accomplish many things. You will no longer feel afraid when you’re facing a challenging situation, you won’t miss the big picture (and sometimes the best solution) because of stress, and you will feel more connected to your team.
Remember: your team isn’t just there for you when it comes to work-related matters, but for when life gets tough too. And if you find that you still need more help, you can always talk to me. Be kind to yourself and never let yourself believe that you have to do it all by yourself. Asking for help isn’t admitting defeat, but admitting that you’re strong enough, wise enough, and brave enough to know when you need a hand.