I love to help people to create the lives that they love. As I was reflecting on this I recognized that many times in my past I’ve failed in asking for help for myself. I don’t know how this pattern got started, but if I could do something myself, I would just do it rather than “impose” on someone else. On many occasions, after I completed a task alone, others would ask me “why didn’t you call me for help – I would have been happy to help you?”
In my mind, I had created a “story” that included the benefits of doing things myself; “I wouldn’t impose on others, I wouldn’t be disappointed if someone said NO, I didn’t have to look weak or incapable.” How in the world did I learn to create those ideas?
As I analyzed this pattern more, I realized that I wasn’t the only person who felt this way. In looking deeper, I uncovered a fear about possible rejection and separation that many of us share. Author Amanda Palmer, explains it this way; “From what I've seen, it isn't so much the act of asking that paralyzes us--it's what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.”
Have you experienced this fear pattern too?
There is more than one attitude in expressing this fear according to author Skip Prichard, “Pride can stop us from asking others (for help). But, so can humility. Pride says, ‘I have no need of anyone because I can do anything.’ Humility says, ‘My needs are not worthy enough to bother anyone.’ So, you can’t judge the ‘why’ behind someone not asking.”
Regardless of the attitude or motivation for fearful patterns, please know that we’re all meant to be in relationships that involve giving and receiving. There is a balance in nature and a balance in supportive relationships as well. If we want to experience more balance and success in our lives while eliminate fears, we have to make a change. We need to choose to be courageous and not be disappointed if someone won’t help us. We have nothing to lose in asking for help and we might just get a “yes” and receive the help that we need to succeed. We also allow the other person to balance their life in being able to give assistance.
Here are just a few of the benefits in having relationships with others who care about you in your community and asking for support:
- Shared wisdom. No one person ever has all of the answers, and consulting with experts is always going to give you better information. My neighbor is a master gardener and my asking for help resulted in his knowledge and action saving one of my beautiful trees in the front yard.
- Belief and support. A supportive community is something to lean on. They believe in you—probably more than you believe in yourself. When things are hard and you feel “stuck” this is the time to call on them for a fresh perspective. Often, just talking through a difficult situation helps us to come up with powerful solutions and ideas.
- Borrowed faith and motivation. When you feel overwhelmed, discussing your situation with another person can help. Often, my supportive community reminds me about the previous difficult situations that I’ve worked through and how the situation that I’m in “shall pass and be resolved.” We can borrow faith and it will motivate us to move forward.
- Accountability. Creating deadlines in business and life are important to achieving goals. There’s nothing like sharing these with your community that support you so that you can be motivated through to completion and accomplish your desired outcomes. When we have to report on some sort of progress to others, we tend to actually make the progress to report.
- Stretching our limits. When working alone, it’s lonely and easy to give up when things get hard. While working with a community of mentors and peers, we receive support and friendly competition to motivate us to push just a bit further than we would have done on our own.
Asking for others to help can be a hard thing to do, but it ultimately raises everyone’s game, and suddenly success isn’t nearly so far off. All successful people have gotten over the fear to ask for help. You can do this too! May you be blessed, prospered, happy, and healthy now and always. For more information about me and my work, please visit www.maymccarthy.com.