Several months ago I wrote the post you see below titled, 5 Reasons People Don’t Ask For Help When They Need It. And I’ve been thinking about it off and on since then.
On the one hand, I kept my list of reasons to 5 because these are the reasons I hear most often. People don’t speak up out of fear of rejection, failure, embarrassment, fear of being an imposition or of being labeled “one of those people”.
But on the other hand, I realize that most of us have our own personal (and possibly unique) reasons for toughing it out … alone. Maybe for YOU, none of the 5 reasons on this list represents what holds you back from asking for help.
I’m convinced though, that no matter what your reason may be, fear can only be conquered when you recognize and face it.
What is it that holds you back from asking for help when you need it? Do you know?
The truth in this post is powerful: I would never have made it through med school as a single mother if I’d not faced my personal fear and asked for help!
I encourage you to find a friend to talk to about it. Name the fear and talk it out! Someone in your circle of family or friends WANTS to help you! Give them a chance to do it!
~ Original Article ~
5 Reasons People Don’t Ask For Help When They Need It
You want it. You need it. You can’t reach your goals without it. So why don’t you ask for help when you need it most?
There are several reasons people may hesitate to ask for help. Fear can keep you stuck and silent. Maybe you can relate to these common fears that keep people from reaching out to ask for help:
1. You fear rejection.
What if they’re too busy or just don’t want to help?
2. You fear being one of ‘those’ people.
You don’t want to seem needy or like a freeloader. (If this worries you, you’re not one!)
3. You fear being an imposition.
You feel guilty taking someone away from “something more important” or from other people they are assisting.
4. You fear embarrassment.
You don’t want to risk rejection or feel the awkwardness of hearing the word “No”.
5. You fear failure.
Feelings of sheer overwhelm can invade your thoughts with negatives like, “There’s no point in asking. What’s the use? I’m not going to reach my dream anyway.”
Throughout my journey from a pregnant teenager all the way through med school, I entertained every one of those fears … and many more. And through it all, I know this:
There is NO WAY I’d be where I am at today if I didn’t ask for help from a lot of people!
Think about it, how does a teenage mother become a doctor? It requires tremendous help and support. Sure, some people saw me and offered help without my asking. But 80% of the time, I was in situations where I knew I wouldn’t get the help if I didn’t reach out.
I needed advice, I needed support, I needed encouragement, I needed direction. Guidance in how to apply to college wasn’t going to just appear right in front of me. Free childcare so that I could study wasn’t going to just magically materialize. I had to ask neighbors and friends for help.
Yes, sometimes I heard, “No, sorry, can’t do it” and yes, I’d have those negative thoughts running through my mind. “Am I really supposed to do this? I can’t find the help I need. It is not meant to be. It isn’t going to work. I’m never going to become a doctor!” But I learned quickly that I couldn’t dwell on those thoughts. I’d have to brush myself off and call a few more people until I got a “Yes, I can help you out.” And I did!
Reciprocation is KEY to asking for help
What can you offer in return for the help you’re given? Maybe you can run an errand, offer childcare or help with a project. You can send a nice, handwritten thank you card and describe how much their input helped you. If you can afford it, slip in a gift card for a latte or a restaurant they might like.
The ‘Pay it forward’ concept is a powerful one when reciprocating the help you’ve been given. Tell them what their help meant to you and that you’ll be following their example:
“You have been such a great example to me of the kind of person I want to be. When you offered to help me with my English paper, you showed such caring and concern for my development as a student. I want you to know that I will definitely help another student out and strive to be as generous as you are.”
Never underestimate the power of “Thank You”
If any of the fears listed above resonate with you, then you’re the type of person who is mindful of the fact that the person who is helping you could be spending that same time with family, with friends or enjoying a good book. But instead, they are taking time out of their busy schedule to make your life easier. While it might not seem like much just to say the words, “Thank you”, it means the world.
Let them know the ways their help made a difference. It makes people feel good to know their help was really useful and made your life better. Who knows? They may be so inspired by your determination and commitment to your goals that they want to help you again and again as you progress along your journey (as several my mentors have). Your genuine appreciativeness will bring out the ‘helper’ in people and you’ll both benefit.
In asking for help, we must be willing to risk embarrassment and rejection. But remember, asking for help is a sign of strength (not weakness) and a reminder to ourselves of our own determination and what we are willing to do in order to accomplish our goals.