When and How to Ask for Help

Asking for help is an essential skill that can make a significant difference in your personal and professional life. Before we go any further I want to emphasize one word in that first sentence. Skill! Yes, asking for help is a skill. The most successful people are simply better at it than less successful people. 

One way they achieved success is by not flailing around trying to figure out problems on their own when help was readily available. They spoke up. The were not embarrassed or ashamed by gaps in their knowledge or ability. They know their ultimate success depended upon closing those gaps and they did whatever was required to close them. Even if it meant asking for help.

If you’re struggling to reach your full potential it may well be that you have a gap or two yourself. It may also be that you’re not sure how to ask for help or even if you actually need help. So let’s talk about that now. Here are some ideas on when and how to ask for help that you can use when you’re feeling a bit “stuck” and you’re not sure how to get “unstuck.”

  1. Recognize when you need help and know that without a doubt it’s okay to ask for it. Everyone, and I mean everyone, feels stuck or overwhelmed sometimes. That’s perfectly normal. Rest assured that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  1. The next step is to figure out who can help you with your problem. Think about people in your network, such as friends, family, colleagues, or mentors, who may have the expertise or knowledge to assist you. Don’t be embarrassed about asking, if you’ve asked the right person they are likely to be honored that you asked. 
  1. When asking for help, it’s essential to be specific about what you need help with. Provide details about the problem and explain what you’ve tried so far. This will help the person you’re asking for help to understand the issue better and provide more targeted assistance.
  1. Understand that asking for help doesn’t mean demanding or expecting the person to drop everything to help you. Be respectful of their time and schedule, and ask if they have a few minutes to talk or if you can schedule a time to discuss further.
  1. When asking for help, be open to feedback and suggestions. Listen actively to the advice you receive and ask questions to clarify any confusion. Remember that you’re seeking help to learn and improve, so embrace the opportunity to grow. If you’re going to ignore the advice entirely then don’t waste the other person’s time or your own. Continue to flail away on your own while other people pass you by.
  1. After receiving help, take the time to express your gratitude and thank the person for their help. Showing appreciation can strengthen your relationship and build goodwill for future requests. And don’t forget to pay it forward. Be on the lookout for others you can help too.

Asking for help is a part of success. It is a skill that can be developed. It requires recognition that you need help. It requires that you know, with specificity, what kind of help you need. But if you’re open to feedback and sometimes challenging suggestions, that help can make a positive impact on your success. 

Want more of LeadToday? Speaking of help and helping…I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $5 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month. 

If you’re interested in taking a look head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success. 🙂

Here’s the link to my Twitter… https://twitter.com/leadtoday 

Somebody Ought to do Something

I’ve read with interest about a quandary facing the candidates who are running for President of the United States. They just don’t know how aggressive to be when talking about using ground troops to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 

They face that quandary because polls indicate that the American people have two competing interests. The want ISIS defeated but they don’t want much in the way of American assets involved in defeating them.

In others words, U.S. voters want it done but they don’t want it done enough to do it themselves.  That’s not a proven path to success, in fact, throughout history that mindset has almost always resulted in failure. 

Successful people have developed the habits of doing the things that less successful people are simply unwilling to do. It’s not that successful people always enjoy doing those things, they just know that if it’s going to get done it is going to be up to them to do it. 

So they do it. 

This post isn’t about a war, it isn’t about radicals or terrorism. It is about you and what you know needs to be done. It’s what you know needs to be done that you’re waiting for someone else to do. It’s about waiting for someone else to do something to help you succeed. 

Don’t wait.

When you accept responsibility, 100% responsibility, for your own success then and only then will you stop waiting. When you stop waiting then and only then does progress start to be made. When you stop waiting for others to do something that needs to be done then you’re only choice becomes to do it yourself. 

Everyone is better off with a little help and the most successful people certainly got some on their journey to success. But they didn’t wait for it, they kept moving forward and found it along the way. They didn’t wait for the help to find them, they went out and found the help. 

Waiting for someone else to do something to help you succeed is a surefire way to ensure that you DON’T succeed. Even making mistakes along the way is better than doing nothing because doing nothing to help yourself succeed is the biggest mistake of all. 

Don’t be a “somebody ought to do something” kind of person. Be a “if it needs to be done then I’m going to do it” kind of person. 

That’s the kind of person who succeeds!