I recently read a book called The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. In her memoir, Amanda, a successful musician, writes about her experiences in asking for help – ranging from her work as a performing street artist, to couch surfing on tours, to leading the world’s most successful music Kickstarter campaign. She is known for her fearlessness in asking for help and yet, there were certain areas in her life where she found herself struggling in asking for what she needed.
It got me thinking about my own struggles in asking for what I need. Maybe you can relate?
For most of my life I often found myself ‘reinventing the wheel’. I would spend countless hours trying to figure things out on my own as opposed to just reaching out and asking for help from others who had “been there done that”.
I used to think that I would “be a bother” to other people who had much better things to do than help me with my silly struggles.
I learned that my whole “be a bother” excuse actually had nothing to do with other people and everything to do with me feeling all vulnerable and admitting that I needed help.
Old me thought people would judge me if I asked for help or that somehow I was less of a person because I couldn’t figure it out on my own – distill that down to feeling unworthy for help. I’ve heard lots of versions of this as I’ve worked with others as well.
The guilt and shame around asking for help can be paralyzing.
The thing is, we are not meant to go it alone; whatever ‘it’ may be for you – building a successful career, starting a business, raising a child, buying a home, following a dream, any and all day-to-day life stuff – we need help.
We humans are wired for connection and always trying to figure things out on our own can feel totally isolating.
As I worked through my own struggles with asking for help I learned to see the opposite of feeling ‘unworthy’ as true. Asking for help doesn’t mean I’m unworthy, it means I’m human. It means that I don’t have all the answers and that I am confident enough to admit that. And in that asking of help I often accomplish what I need a lot faster than had I tried to figure it out on my own.
One of the biggest ways I’ve done this for myself recently is to start working with a mentor/coach to help me expand my business. It was difficult to admit, but as a new entrepreneur I needed help. I realized that it would probably take me twice as long (if not longer) and likely a lot of frustration if I tried to figure it out on my own. Why not work with someone who has been where I’ve been and has a thriving business of her own?
Asking for this help doesn’t mean I’m weak or unworthy. It means I’m smart.
Where are you holding back? Is there a place in your life that asking for help could assist you in getting what you need a little bit faster?
I promise you wherever you are, whatever you are doing, there are others who have been in your shoes before. In fact, there are likely others designed to help with exactly what you are struggling with right now – whether they be designed as friends, coaches, therapists, parents, mentors, co-workers, etc.
I’ve found the more I’ve asked for help, the more connected I actually feel – to myself, to others helping me, and to others I am helping. Asking for help can be a huge confidence builder.
We cannot do it alone. We aren’t meant to do it alone.
Show your strength by asking for what you need and watch how quickly things shift in your life.