Many people have a hard time asking for help, but Millennials as a group find it even tougher. The culture of being able to do everything on their own and not wanting to look weak has disconnected many Millennials from so many of the benefits of asking for help.
Yet, asking for help can positively impact one's career, relationships and self-esteem, as well as create a greater sense of community and harmony in the world.
A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone. His father came along just then. Noting the boy’s failure, he asked, 'Are you using all your strength?' 'Yes, I am,' the little boy said impatiently. 'No, you are not,' the father answered. 'I am right here just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.' - Anonymous
Many people believe that asking for help makes you weak or needy, that only someone lacking abilities or confidence would ask for help. If you’re one of these people, you are not alone.
Recent research shows that nearly 70 percent of people in any given week needed help, but didn’t ask for it.
So, what has happened to us that we think being human is not okay? Perhaps it is how we define need; people associate need with being "needy."
Needy makes you think of the homeless guy on the street or the family who lost their home. Needy is not in keeping with the mindset of Millennials who are changing the world and making their mark.
This brings up the concept of help itself. Maybe the problem is how we define help. The dictionary definitions may be kinder than our own preconceptions:
Help: to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; to contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; to cooperate effectively with; aid; assist; to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate; to be useful or profitable to; to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress.
There is nothing in said definition that implies weakness or incompetence, so where did this fear of help come from? Do people think if you need help, you aren’t trying?
Clearly, the boy in the quote above was doing his best, but sometimes, the “best” of one person is not enough -- we would accomplish more with help.
So, how can asking for help be good for you?
1. Asking for help makes us accessible to others
When we are so busy being too strong or too proud to ask for help, we unintentionally separate ourselves from our friends and peers. We put an invisible field around us that cannot be breached.
When we show our human side, we let others into our lives, and only then can we truly connect.
2. The answer to any question you don’t ask is "no"
We all assume no one wants to help us, so we eliminate the middleman by not asking. But, there are many people who would love to help someone, but just don’t know how.
Your mentor or family friend might be delighted to introduce you to someone who could benefit your career, but if you don’t ask, the answer will be no.
It is interesting that networking events and organizations have become so popular, but asking for help isn’t any easier. What is a networking event? A place where people go to ask others to help grow their businesses or introduce them to influential people.
3. Helping others feels good
There is research that shows when we help others, areas of our brains are stimulated that are associated with pleasure and reward. So, letting someone help you will make him or her feel good.
If that is the case, people who help will likely do it again, and that can only benefit all of us.
4. Asking increases our chances of getting what we want
Stoicism has no place in relationships. If we don’t ask our partners, spouses or friends for help and just sit and wait for them to guess what we need, the odds of being disappointed are very high. If you ask for help and get what you want, everyone wins.
5. You will want to pay it forward
As we saw in number three, helping others feels good. So, when we see others feel good about helping, we will want that feeling, as well. When we help others, our relationships are stronger; we feel good, and we create community.
Ask for help this week and observe how the process makes you and your helper feel. I promise it won’t hurt!