ASK FOR HELP, YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN OR SUPERWOMAN!!!
We all know of that go-to person who is willing to offer help to others when asked but has the challenge of asking for help from others when the individual needs it. Asking for help often makes some people feel uneasy because it requires surrendering control of themselves to someone else. Others would not ask at all for the fear of being perceived as needy. Some people are afraid that they would be shunned or rejected if they ask for help. As humans, we depend on one another to learn and grow. Studies indicate that supporting others makes us feel good. If we are hardwired for altruism, why then is it so uncomfortable for us to ask for help?
In a society that glorifies self-help, self-reliance, and individualistic cultural systems, it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to ask our colleagues, friends, and even our family for the assistance we need. The mere thought of asking for help can make us question our abilities, and cause us to be anxious. Learning how to ask for (and accept) help is one of the greatest skills you can develop. New research shows that asking for and getting help is a lot easier and less stressful than it seems. Instead of getting frustrated over expecting people to notice your need for help, why don’t you just ask which goes a long way to ease the stress of frustration.
Why Is Asking for Help So Hard?
The primary reason is fear. We fear that we would be turned down, laughed at, or looked down on. In the face of these threats, fear overrides reason and, as studies in neuroscience show, this risk of emotional pain activates the same regions of the brain that experiences physical pain. Too often, we wait for someone to notice our plea for help and inevitably get frustrated and angry when no one does.
To receive help, you often have to ask for it. The best way to get more comfortable asking for help is to start from a point. Here are some of the simple tips to empower you to effectively ask for the help you need, and assure you of a positive response to your thoughtful request.
Be concise and specific.
Asking for and offering help can only be positive under one crucial condition: clear communication. Try to communicate your request as plainly and briefly as possible. There is no need to over-explain: simply clarify what the task is, why it matters, and how the person you’re asking can contribute. Try to be as specific as possible so they can understand exactly what it is they will need to do and can accurately evaluate how much time and energy the task will take.
Similarly, be willing to negotiate. Let them decide how much support they can offer and try to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Do not apologize
Don’t apologize for wanting help. No one gets excited about a task that the asker feels the need to apologize for. We all need help sometimes and it’s nothing to be ashamed of—but apologizing makes it seem like you’re doing something wrong by asking and casts the task at hand in a negative light.
On that note, don’t minimize your need with phrases like “I hate to ask…” or “It’s just a small thing.” This suggests that their assistance is trivial and takes the joyous sense of accomplishment out of helping. After all, how am I supposed to feel if you “hate to ask” for my assistance? Similarly, don’t ask them to do you a favor. This can make people feel compelled to say yes.
Make it personal, not transactional
Don’t ask for help over email or text. Though it’s easier to send a written request, it’s also a lot easier to say no to one. Try to speak face to face or call. Studies show that face-to-face requests are 34 times more successful!
Make your request more personal by explaining why the person’s skills or expertise make them uniquely suited to this task. This casts them as helping people and not just another person you can resort to for help. Studies show that when people are asked to “be a generous donor”—rather than simply asked to donate—they are more likely to say yes and donate larger sums.
Don’t emphasize reciprocity.
While we tend to think that sweetening the deal with the promise of a returned favor is a good strategy, this kind of language makes your request feel transactional. People don’t like feeling indebted to others, and others are more likely to help you if you show genuine appreciation for their aid rather than assign their efforts a monetary value.
Beyond expressing your gratitude, you should follow up with the helper to share the tangible results of their aid. As much as we’d like to think that acts of generosity are their reward, the reality is that people long to feel effective. We want to feel that the work we do and the help we give matters. Take the time to show the people who help you why their assistance not only matters to you, but how it makes a larger positive impact on your life, work, or community.
People are ready to help
Next time you know you need some help, remember that there are more people than you think who are eager to lend a hand. More importantly, use these suggestions to ask in a way that empowers you and the person you’re asking to reap the rewards of benevolence and collaboration.
In a nutshell, seeking help when you notice any changes in your behavior or the behavior of someone close to you, contributes to the possible rate of getting treatment if the results of the diagnosis shows ill mental health.
Therefore ask for help, you are not Superman or Superwoman!
Written by: Roxanne Quaye.