How to Ask for Help
When you’re working toward your goals, you’re going to have some problems that come up. And we can usually overcome these problems SO MUCH more easily with a little help! And sometimes, we can have a lot of people in our lives who are willing to help us and support us, and we may not realize just how many people we have who are willing to help. We can have a lot of untapped resources. ANd by using these resources, and by learning how to utlilize all this support in our lives, we can reach our goals FASTER than if we try to do it alone.
For example, when I was in my 20’s I had an amazing business idea - I wanted to sell a T-shirt that was designed to be worn without a bra. I had no idea how to get started, since I’d never done anything to do with making clothing. So I started asking around and taking random actions toward my goal - basically, just pursuing all the ideas I had and seeing what panned out.
At one point, I thought maybe I should go to fashion design classes, to learn how to make the shirt myself. I was calling around to different schools and asking what classes they had. I met this one woman over the phone who absolutely LOVED my idea, and basically made it her mission to make it happen. I didn’t end up going to her school, but she told me to call her if I ever had any questions about fashion design - and I did! I called her quite a few times over the months I was researching my business idea.
Asking for help may seem scary, but it’s actually super common, and you’ll find that a lot of people really want to help you.
Remember networking events? The whole goal is to help other people, and see who could use YOUR help!
Remember the TV show How I met your mother? Barney basically makes it his life’s mission to find Ted a wife - and he loves doing it!
People who ask for help tend to reach their goals a lot faster. It’s one of the secrets I’ve found to reaching my goals fast. Instead of bumbling around trying to solve a problem myself, I’ll ask for help as soon as a problem appears, saving myself a frustration - not to mention my precious time!
Let me address a couple common problems to asking for help…
First off, do you feel like you are bothering people by asking for help? Let me share a secret with you: a lot of people you know would be HAPPY to help. Helping other people feels damn good. By giving other people the chance to help you, you’re helping THEM, too! You’re helping them feel good about themselves, like they matter and like they can make a difference in the world.
Plus, you’re increasing the other person’s karma, and it will come back around to help them soon enough.
Personally, I love when people ask for my help. If I’m able to help someone each day, then that gives that day meaning. A day I helped someone is a damn good day!
Here’s another common problem: If you ask someone for help, sometimes you can feel pressure to return the favor. You feel bad asking for their help, so you feel like you need to equally match their favor they did for you, and you’re not sure what to do for them in return. But you don’t have to equally return the exact same amount of help to the exact same person. That’s not how it works. If you want to give something in return, you can help a different person in the future, at a different time.
Friend buys you dinner? You can buy another friend dinner another time - it doesn't have to be the same friend!
Friends can be happy to help
Ready to learn how to ask for help?!
Let’s do an exercise to get your asking muscles all pumped up. This can be especially helpful for women, since we can often have a hard time asking for things.
Here’s the exercise: Write a list of 10 favors you could ask from people. Don’t overthink it - just let your creative juices start flowing. What do you want to ask for?
Here are some examples…
I could ask Adam for a massage.
I could ask David for a raise.
I could ask my roommate to do my laundry if they’re already doing theirs.
I could ask my partner to give me a lower back massage every time I had my period.
Now here’s another exercise:
Write down 5 problems you're having in your life and/or business.
Now, look at your problems and think: is there any way I can get support with this? Is there anyone in my life who can help me with this? Maybe a friend, or a family member, an acquaintance, an old teacher, or an old boss or coworker?
Now see if you can pick one thing to follow through with asking for help on. Once you do it the first time, you’ll see that it gets easier and easier. Eventually, it will become a habit - and it will help you reach your goals so much faster!
By the way, don’t forget to pay it forward and look for opportunities to help other people, too. You can look at the people around you periodically and think, “Who around here could use a little help?”