25 Nov 2013
On Wednesday last week, I had a bit of a turning point in...
It's a question that provokes either a long list of names being rattled off, or a response like: 'no-one', 'I wouldn't ask' or, 'I'm not that kind of person!'
The latter is more often than not uttered by someone verging on wits' end. As they dangle over the cliff-face, clinging on by a fingernail, with their work and kids clutching their feet by a shoelace, they'll explain further: 'I'm completely responsible for my own life and never rely on anyone.’
If this is you - dangling proudly off that cliff, with important things dropping out of your pockets into the ravine below - read on.
Here are 7 beliefs that might be holding you back:
I don't need help
Believing this can be the excuse you use to mask something else entirely. Commonly it's a fear of failure, or fear of letting others see your vulnerability, fear that you’re not good enough, fear of ‘letting others in’ or lack of trust.
Asking for help is a sign of weakness
If this was the case, acceptance speeches at the Oscars and Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies would be much shorter.
Strong, successful people get where they do with the help of other people. It's the smartest way to operate. If they can’t do something, they ask. When they're trying to do too much, they delegate. If they have a goal in mind, they enlist support.
I’d feel guilty if I asked for help
This belief often stems from childhood. Something very normal happened. Someone responded a certain way and you took this to mean: ‘It’s bad to ask for help.’
Maybe a busy parent was frustrated about your inability to tie shoelaces. Perhaps the teacher had a bad day and sighed when you asked for help with fractions.
Whatever it was, that was the moment when - as a child who didn’t know better - you formed a belief that it’s a bad thing not to be able to do everything yourself, and this was reinforced by positive reactions when you did things independently. It's been complicating your life ever since.
I don't want to be a pest
One of the best gifts you can give another person is a sense of significance. People love being asked to help - they feel valued, worthwhile, useful, productive, wanted, needed and satisfied.
Perhaps you know someone who is very needy - someone who relies completely on others all the time, and who can't get through anything on their own.
Observe the gaping difference between engaging with a support network (in mutually beneficial ways), and being a nuisance with a one-way help habit, and do the former.
If I ask now, I'll have 'used up a favour' - what if I really need help later?
This is right up there with never using the good dinner set.
Ask for help, be thankful, offer to help... it’s a mutually beneficial system.
If I ask for help, they won't do it properly
Nobody else can do it as well as you can. You might as well do it all yourself. After all, what if someone does something differently from you and it works! How would that look?
You biggest fear is of someone else taking the reins, chipping away at the significance you’ve built in your campaign to become indispensible...
I don't have anyone I could ask
No matter how few people you either know or trust - the fact is, there are a lot of people around you who would help.
They’re at the end of the phone, down your street, at your child's school, in charitable organisations, at work, at the shops and on the internet.
This is not really about having no-one to ask, but about your choosing not to. Perhaps you have difficulty letting go of control, trusting others or building relationships. Maybe you've been hurt in the past, and you push people away for self-protection (getting in first!) It could be that you're shy - maybe you find the idea of meeting people daunting.
Perhaps one of the other beliefs in this list of seven is stopping you, and you're using this as an excuse as you dangle over that precipice...
Whatever it is that is stopping you from letting others in, try this challenge:
Ask three different people for help this week with three separate things (the size of the task doesn't matter). Send us an email, let us know how it felt and what the results were, we'll send you a free eBook!