Most people have heard some version of the quote, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” This quote is used in personal development courses and self-help books to encourage people to ask for help. “Ask for help”, can be a daunting phrase for anyone with self-worth or self-esteem issues. The thought of requesting support is the thing some people will avoid at all costs. But why? It comes easily for most and yet there are people who would rather die than ask for help. What is the fear behind asking for help and how can you move forward from this paralyzing state?
We all experience times in our lives when we need the assistance of others. No matter how successful you are, it is impossible to know all there is to know or do everything proficiently.
The main reason for staying stuck rather than reaching out is fear. Fear of being rejected or told “no,” fear being seen as weak, or fear being seen as not knowing enough. These are all very real fears in the mind of the person who suffers from them. Let’s explore some real conversations about fear of asking and what you can do to move past that fear.
1) NO doesn’t necessarily mean rejection – You may ask someone for help and they may of course say, “no”. The important thing to do is refrain from creating a story around why they declined. Separate the response from your life and circumstances, in other words, don’t make it personal. Maybe the person you asked didn’t have the resources to help you. The no is a response to your request and not an indication of how they feel about you. Look at the “no” as a simple response and move on to asking someone else.
2) Asking for help can feel vulnerable. If you equate vulnerability with weakness it is understandable why you may be afraid to ask for support. It’s key to realize that you have your own skill set and strengths. What may be needed is something that is outside your particular skill set. By enrolling someone with the particular strengths you lack, you are creating a collaborative environment and win/win situation. Changing your mindset can be supportive.
3) Imposter syndrome. There is a real fear for some of being “found out”. It coincides with perfectionism; believing if you don’t know it all, you nothing. There are always opportunities to learn and grow. Pretending to have every answer doesn’t work. It is better to know where you can go to for assistance.
There may certainly be fear and hesitation when you make a choice to ask for help. Like anything new, the more you practice, the easier it gets. What you will gain is the ability to collaborate, learn new skills and experience personal growth. Next time you are stuck, explore the possibilities of asking for help and see what you can create in your life.
Jillian is an author, speaker, registered nurse and personal boundaries coach. She spent over two decades of her nursing career helping to heal through surgical nursing. Recently she launched the Empower Program which is the first of its kind with focus on the “yes” person who is exhausted, frustrated and resentful towards people in their life. The program supports you to say “NO” and begin saying “YES” to your dreams, goals and a life you love waking up to!