How to ask for help

If you don’t ask for help, the answer is always no.


For some, asking a favour feels like begging. Others are afraid to look vulnerable or needy. Many just don’t want to inconvenience another person with their request. But for the most of us, it’s the simple fear of rejection – hearing that dreaded “No”.


I consider myself a very independent person. I like to think I’m capable of doing most things, therefor I don’t like to ask for peoples help. Though at some stage we must all realise that other people in our circle know more than we do. So the first necessary step to take before you ask for help, is accepting that you need it.


It is perfectly okay not to know everything.

There is nothing shameful or humiliating in asking for someone’s help or advice. Besides, you can always pay back the favour. If someone asks you for help or advice, give them your time of day. Or better still, reach out to people in your network and connect them with someone you know that might be able to help. The more you share your network, the more people will share with you in return: The law of accelerating returns.


Remember that reciprocity is a two-way street. Giving and taking are essential for individual success and positive cultures. If you’re a giver but don’t ask for help, remember that people want to reciprocate. And as a leader, make asking for and giving help a regular practise.

Many of us don’t like to ask for help. We may have been taught that it’s a sign of weakness, so we cling to the notion of “I can do everything by myself”; even if it’s no longer the case. I suggest you practise asking for help.

Think of this as an experiment.

 Write down a list of things that you are not good at, or need some help completing. This is for people of all ages. It could be a primary school student that wants to learn to cook, a high school student that wants to learn to drive, but their parents are too time poor to get enough hours into their logbook, a Uni student that wants to car-pool, a family that needs their dog walked more frequently, an elderly person that needs a lift to the shops or dry cleaners, everyone has “things” that they want to get help with, they just don’t have the courage to ask.


We were all brought up in a society where your parents are the ones that say no to your requests. As we develop, we start to pre-empt the answer. Some things mum will always say no to, so we ask dad, and vice versa. Eventually we come to the conclusion our self, if our parents won’t allow it, it’s not even worth asking, and we just give up hope. We then carry those learnt behaviours on into the real world, and “guess” that people “don’t have time” to help us and our petty problems.


Don’t assume you know WHO and WHAT people know. Underestimating the willingness of others to help is a common mistake.


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