asking for help

Asking for help doesn’t have to be hard: Here’s how you can get better at it

Asking for help is an important step in finding what we are seeking in life. Simply because we can’t do everything on our own.
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Just as the sun rises from the East, no person can go by without asking for help at some point in their lives. We have in fact asked for help many times, maybe to achieve a target, get directions or solve a tough problem. Asking for help is an important step in finding success in life simply because we can’t do everything on our own.

We all need a little support from time to time. It gives us the desired motivation to continue our work, stay on the path we’re on and fulfil our goals in life. However, despite holding such significance, this act is often perceived as a sign of weakness or ignorance according to a study in the Harvard Business Review.

It is no wonder then that we think twice before reaching out to someone for help. We often assume the worst. What will they think, that we’re incapable of working on our own? That we’ll be in their debt? To sum up, we don’t want to show our vulnerable side to anyone because we don’t want anyone to know our flaws. And therein lies the problem. We think being vulnerable and weak is the same thing. But that’s not true.

Showing our vulnerability by asking for help requires self-awareness and courage. It’s important to know where our strengths lie. Thus there is no harm in seeking support when needed. It is a sensible and smart thing to do.

So how can one get better at asking for help? Mentioned below are some ways to practise this important life skill.

Be specific while asking questions

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to ask someone for help, be specific. Make sure you ask the right questions and have an idea of the answers you may receive. Doing so will allow you to communicate your concerns accurately. The clearer your communication, the sooner you can get help to deal with the problem. It will also make things easier for the person you are approaching for help. They will know exactly what they need to do and how much time and energy can be devoted to your task. It gets even better if you let them decide how much support they can offer you.

Know why you need the support

It is important to be very clear about why you need the support before you ask someone for help. This will help you zero in on the problem you are facing, which in turn, can allow the person to come up with a quick solution. For example, if you want someone to introduce you to a CEO—do you want to connect with them to get some information for an article you are writing or do you want to meet them because you are looking for a job? The clearer you are about what you want from them, the better you can communicate your needs.

Don’t make assumptions

Quite often, people hesitate to ask for help because they doubt the willingness of others. According to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, ‘people underestimate the likelihood that others will comply with their direct requests for help.’ So they simply assume others won’t help them.

The fact is, you don’t know what people know or how they can help until you ask, states a Harvard Business Review article. Thus, instead of making assumptions, go ahead and ask for help. Chances are you’ll be surprised by their response.

Give others the chance to contribute

We are all looking for a chance to make a difference. We get a feeling of fulfilment when we do something that makes others happy. But many times we are robbed of such opportunities to contribute when those who need our help don’t ask because they don’t want to bother us.

What people don’t realise is that helping is an act of doing something good and most of us would like to lend a hand. So the next time you need some help, just ask. Those who can will help.

Make your request personal

It is essential to note that if you need something from someone, do not ask for it over email or text. It may be easier to communicate this way but chances are that your request will be denied. Wondering why? Because you haven’t made any effort while asking them. Your request lacks empathy.

If you want others to take your request seriously, ask face to face or on a call. Some studies show that requests made ‘face-to-face were 34 times more likely to comply than those asked over email.’

Stay focused

When you are fully focused on the result, you won’t shy away from asking for help or from following up on your request. For instance, if you need your colleague’s help to finish a certain assignment, don’t hesitate to reach out to them as their inputs are highly important for your result. Moreover, seeking help from co-workers will open doors for them to approach you when they need help. This will help build new bridges and even healthy relationships.

Offer help

Offer help if you plan to receive some in the course of your life. An effective way of improving your chances of getting help is by being the one who offers help to others. Even if you cant help till the end, show you tried and become a trustworthy source for someone. As you become known as someone who is generous and helpful, others will show up when you need them by your side.

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