Why asking for help is so hard.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that  person to realize his dream   Paulo Coelho

I remember reading that many years ago and thinking how wonderful it would be if it were true.  I mean as if you could really just want something and then it happens by some mystical force.  You may also be familiar with the book The Secret, where the same philosophy is taught.

“You become what you think about most.. But you also attract what you think about most. (John Assaraf) ”   Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

For many years I have been told how lucky, successful or driven I am.  I’d always say thank you, but the truth was I could never accept that as I knew I wasn’t lucky, and successful? No I had so many things I wanted to achieve before I would call myself successful, and driven? Yes but not always in the right direction.  However, I am now feeling a real connection with the quotes.  I finally get it and believe it, and I am not the only one.  Let me explain.

find the strength

find the strength

The Helper.

I am a helper.  If someone needs help, I will do what I can to help, whether its picking up something from the grocery store, helping with the school run, or organising an event. If you ask me I generally find a way to help.  It makes me feel good.  Most people feel the same, people like helping people.

Ironically, helpers, rescuers and givers often don’t like to ask for help ourselves.  Even though we know how good it makes us feel to help, we don’t like to be a burden on others.  We then only ask when it’s absolutely necessary, and we have explored every other option for weeks and weeks.

Helping is one of our core values, so often on the reverse of that, we don’t like the habitual takers.  We all know one, and have probably been taken advantage of by one.   The Taker is someone who goes out there in life and takes what he needs.  If you want it, go get it.  Now that’s a great value to hold, don’t get me wrong…… as long as your actions don’t have a negative affect on others.  The helpers in us don’t want to ask for help for fear that we are “putting on” people.

Too Strong

The other fear of asking for help, as described in the NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/07/business/07shortcuts.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&

is that we may appear weak, needy or incompetent.  I am sure we have all struggled with a project or task at work, and rather than admitting we don’t know the answer, or how to approach it, we stress and fret and worry.  We may even miss the deadline, causing our co-workers to believe we are incompetent.  However, if we had just asked for help, or even simple clarification early on, we would have delivered.

So asking for help actually proves to be a strength rather than a weakness.  Its about authenticity. To return to the quotes,

If I want something, can I really have it?  YES, YES, YES!!!

I discovered I wanted to become a Professional Coach 6 years ago.  It took me many years to actually believe I could do it as my primary career.  I had all of the excuses, those that many people have when thinking about being their own boss.  Security of income, mouths to feed, pension etc.  Although I desired one thing, my thoughts and actions were putting out a different energy, and guess what I got.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that  person to realize his dream

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream

Then when I finally decided to go for it, I believed.  I struck off the old beliefs, and behaviours.  I was clear on what I wanted and started asking for it to become real.  Now you may call that determination.  Sure, of course a lot of it was, but then something else happened.  I realised I needed help, and so I began to ask.

OMG I did not expect what happened next.  It was like the universe was conspiring to bring people and opportunities to me.  I mentioned to a colleague that I needed  help with a logo, then before I knew it, 2 logo designers sent me some designs.  Now they didn’t want a huge sum of money, just a token gesture.  They did it to help.  And now I recommend them to anyone needing a logo.

I then went to a networking event, I explained that I needed help getting established in my local community.  Before I knew it, I had been offered multiple networking events, new contacts, leads to follow-up and loads of free advice.  And now I have shared and passed that on.

The list of offers of help could go on, I just wanted to demonstrate that generally people love to help, and if you just ask for it, and are willing to give in return, the effects spiral.

So your homework for this week is simple.

1. Offer to help someone in some way, without expecting anything in return.  Notice the effect it has on you internally, and notice the impact it has on them.

2. Ask for help.  This maybe from a colleague, peer, neighbour, friend or a stranger.  Notice the impact that has on you and your helper.  What is the energy level like?  Don’t forget to say thank you, and maybe even explain the impact their help has had on you.

Make asking and receiving help easy!