Struggles and obstacles are a part of life that everyone deals with sooner or later, and they are especially common when we are pursuing something meaningful to our individual growth. No matter what struggles you face, chances are very high that someone in your circle has experienced something very similar. Not only that, they can share what they learned through the process! Even those who haven’t struggled with the same issues can provide resources, insights and encouragement, and most people get tremendous gratification from helping someone else out of a tough spot.
So, why do otherwise intelligent and motivated people, who truly know the benefits of asking for help, hold back and suffer silently? Whether you are struggling in your professional or personal life, not asking for the help you need can be detrimental to your success. Here are three reasons why you may be afraid to ask for help when it can do the most good.
High achieving individuals who find themselves in a demanding new role, without many peers around them, can feel like a fraud. They perceive that they are where they are through sheer luck, someone else advocating for them, or purely by accident. The sense that they will be discovered as undeserving of their success, and it will all be taken away the minute the mistake is discovered, keeps imposter syndrome sufferers from ever asking for help. To do so, they feel incorrectly, would point out their unworthiness.
Misplaced Need for Control
One of the most powerful ways to ask for help is to delegate tasks you no longer need to do to someone else. Doing so allows time for you to focus your efforts where you can create the biggest impact.
Delegation itself is an art and a science. When we delegate something we have been doing a particular way for a long time it can be difficult to allow someone to bring their own unique approach into the task. 99% of tasks don’t require a rigid, singular methodology, and expecting it to be exactly the way you would do it is an excuse to reject the help you need.
Additionally, delegation takes more time up front to hand off documents, information, and other tools for doing the tasks. Slowing down to hand off these things is necessary in order to speed up in the long run. Our need to control creates frustration during this transition period and, again, can cause us to retract our request for the exact assistance we so desperately need.
We Aren’t Willing to Pay the Price
In our society, we tend to view every interaction transactionally. It is true that help comes with a price, but that isn’t always financial in nature. Sometimes the price of asking for help is vulnerability. We expose ourselves to the possibility of rejection. When we have been told no enough times, it feels easier to simply not ask for help in the first place.
The next price we avoid is feeling indebted, or worse, like a burden. If we are struggling, and we look around, we can see others who are dealing with the same issues, or worse. We tend to not want to add to their overwhelm, stress, or load by asking them to help us. What we do then is isolate ourselves and the other people, who may be helped themselves by collaborating on a solution. We also deny the other people an opportunity to gain valuable insight and perspective through aiding us.
The last price is a financial one. We only see the cost of the help provided by a degree, consultant, coach, therapist, fractional CFO, maid, etc. We overlook the cost of continuing to struggle where we are, or the return an investment in the right help would given us. We choose to under-earn, underperform, waste our time and amplify our stress, rather than spend the money on the exact help we need.
Overall, when you get into a situation where you need help but hesitate, you may be experiencing one of the above reasons. Overcoming these fears and insecurities can be the only thing standing between you and the success you are ready to create for yourself.